One day as I was going to my unit, the manager and I ran across each other. I waved at her. She waved back. Then she said, “Make sure you’re not in there getting high.” I looked puzzled. I’m thinking to myself she must like to smoke. I responded, “Naw, that’s not my style.” She laughingly replies, “Suuurrrreee.” I brushed it off…
One night, my good friend, Joseph Prieloziny and I were tightening up some Minorville stuff. Apparently, we were too loud for the manager. I heard her come in the unit and slam the door. I went to see what was wrong and that’s when it all went bad. She cussed me up and down. I have never been spoken to like that in my life. She told me, if I tried to retaliate that she had guns and would blow me away. I was perplexed because I never raised my voice and she threatened my life. As I went back in to my unit, Joseph said, “Bro, I got it all recorded on my phone. I can’t believe she talked to you like that.” We prayed for her. I knew exactly what was wrong. She was scared.
I could unearth so many more stories like this but for the sake of time, I’ll move on. Am I telling you this to make you angry? Am I race baiting you? Do I want your sympathy? Am I trying to stir up trouble?
The reason I’m telling you all of these stories is because I have been broken. Every word, every stereotype, and every act of discrimination has eaten away at pieces of my heart. The unrest in the African American community is not simply because Officer Wilson killed Mike Brown. This is a life of story after story of discrimination and angst coming to a boiling point and exploding. People are hurting in Ferguson and all across the country.
ALL races experience racism. African Americans aren’t up in arms because they’ve been called names. The issue is the systematic oppression of an entire race. Think about it. Slavery of Africans was introduced to America in 1619 (before the United States was formed). The Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863. That’s 244 years of the systematic oppression of a people group. It was so sinister, that its slaves were looked at as sub human property, not allowed to learn, and provided a seriously warped family structure. That is not how you treat people made in the image of God. Imagine how your marriage would be affected if a person could at will, summon your wife and rape her. How would you view manhood, if you were told you were an animal (eventually considered 3/5ths of a man)? Now imagine that for a whole people group for almost 3 centuries. Then imagine that same group is set free but is systematically oppressed by the government that is meant to protect them via the Jim Crow laws for another century. It wasn’t until the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that on paper African Americans were given the same rights by the government as everyone else. That’s only 50 years ago… My mother remembers desegregation. Let that sink in.
Now, some of you will say, “What does that have to do with me. I didn’t do any of those things to anyone.” You are correct. For my Caucasian brothers and sisters, YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE SINS OF YOUR FATHERS. Those sins are embarrassing as a nation. You didn’t do any of those things and it seems as though every time an issue between a black person and white person happens, you are instantly on trial. You’ve been discriminated against and it’s not fair. It makes you angry but you move on. You ignore the ignorance.
Therein lies the problem.
As the majority culture, you have the ability to do so. Think about it. Caucasians have been the dominate culture in America since it began. America was built with the majority in mind (Democracy). For African Americans (and others) that’s not so. We constantly have to adjust or assimilate to fit in.
What makes that a problem?
If the majority culture has a negative view of the minority culture, then it will protect itself at the expense of the minority culture. Similar to the story of the manager of the storage space. Her perspective of me put her in survival mode. She thought she needed to escalate to protect herself not knowing that I would never harm her. The mainstream portrayal of African Americans is not a representation of the majority of our culture. That’s why Eric Garner was strangled to death by the cops. They feared him. Did you know 4 unarmed black men have been killed by the police in the last month? Why? Out of fear.
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