Friday, April 24, 2015

Racism isn't dead

After recently watching episodes of, "Wire" I am finding it difficult to not be surprised about the recent death of Freddie Gray.  I am horrified, nonetheless, but not surprised. 

It boggles the mind how stark our world is becoming against the backdrop of old hatreds, like racism of whites against blacks, the rich versus the poor, the police versus criminals, and women versus men.  I am sad that the gray areas that we have often found in these wars of absolutes are dissipating and it makes me so angry.

Education feels like a precious bottle of aged wine, spilling out of a bottle and to the floor, where it slinks down a drain to never be tasted. I believe it takes an education for the mind to handle grays and not jump to the absolutes that are so easy to sling on like a belt or shoe. It's like when your child tattles on her sibling and says, "He always does or says that."  You know there's no way in hell that your child could always be leaving his underwear on the floor because you've seen evidence of his underwear hitting the basket occasionally.

In the same way, there's no way that all white police officers attack black suspects inappropriately. On the other hand, the times that you do find that underwear on the floor is no less disgusting with its little racing stripes and soaking wet from a kid drying off from his bath over it.

I can't imagine what it's like to live in that level of fear, however, when those types of immoral things happen because I'm a ginger.  I've been given dirty looks because I'm a white girl in a diverse neighborhood, but I'm good at softening the hardest heart with a smile, a cookie or a learned phrase in the appropriate language like, "Thank you."  

Incidents like the Baltimore police department's recent behavior make it more apparent to me than ever that there needs to be a "Consumer Reports" overview group for things like Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Michael Brown in Ferguson and the Eric Garnder shooting in New York, so that we make sure that our law enforcement is behaving above reproach.  The ubiquitous nature of these shootings and the reactions people are having to them reveal that more than ever, we need to be sure that these types of things are not getting by without review by someone,  who has no vested interest in the outcome of that review.

My experience of living in the south is that racism isn't dead, but hidden.  You can color me stunned for the numbers of times that people assumed because I was a blue eyed white gal that I was amenable to racism, when in fact my silence was, simply being appalled and left wordless by the exposure.  We need to root out all of the hiding places it lingers in and root it out willingly and talk about it, so we have a chance of eliminating it from future generations.

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