When I was in first grade, I had a friend named William. William and I really liked eachother and we were the best of friends. Everyday on the playground, we'd run to eachother, hold hands, and play tag. In the mornings when we'd get off the school bus, we'd have to sit in the hallway while waiting for our teachers. One day, William's older cousin came up to us in the hallway. She began preaching about how "Blacks and whites ain't supposed to be together. It's against God!!" I said, "Uh Uh! That's not true! William isn't black! He's brown!" lol. (shrugging shoulders) That's the way I saw things. Well, anyway, eventually William and I ended up in different recesses than before so we didn't get to see eachother as much, but one day his class was lining up as my class was going outside to play. He motioned for me to come over to him. When I was in reach, he planted a huge kiss on my cheek. I remember being on Cloud 9....I was so happy my friend thought enough of me to give me a huge smooch. Well, my teacher saw the whole thing. I'll always remember that teacher's name and her pretty smile. Her name was Ms. Judy. Ms. Judy and I talked about William and I explained to her how good a friend he was. Well, she began to give me a treat every morning to take down to William's classroom....every morning without fail. I'd knock on William's class door and his class would watch every morning as William and I carried out our everyday ritual of mutual respect and gratitude for one another. My family moved very often when I was young. We moved about once a year until we moved to Charlotte the summer before I turned 12. Anyway, we had to move again...and it was in the middle of the year. On my last day, William's whole class came down to my classroom w/ a going away gift and card. William and I hugged, and said our goodbyes. I look back at it now and those two teachers must have been profoundly affected by William and I. Even back in 85 there were still strong feelings on the matter of interracial relationships...of any sort, well at least here in the south. Those ladies saw the innocence behind mine and William's friendship...they understood we saw the color, but just that....color like you'd find in a crayola box....no preconceived notions of racism.
Hate is taught....plain and simple. I grew up around racist grandparents. I was taught to just overlook the nasty things they'd say. I was taught to overlook the nasty things other people would say. I was taught to be numb...b/c there was nothing I could do about it...so I thought. There were hints of it in the man I married, but I was taught to be numb...and so I was. I know now what's really there....and I'm not sure that it's only hate. I think it's fear...fear his father planted inside him. My husband told me he'd never change his thinking...even if it is a flaw. He told me he wouldn't go to my brother's wedding if he and Niki survive this long distance period in their relationship. Remember Niki is Korean? I asked him if he'd disown our kids if they ever dated outside of their ethnicity....he said yes. I truly hope he's lieing.
My mother told me to marry a Christian man....above all other traits...he had to be a Christian man. I was never taught to look for anything else. Magically somehow, if the man was a Christian man, everything else would be good...is what I perceived. Over the years, here where I live....an hour away from Charlotte in a small town, I've come to the realization hate still lives very alive and well in this little corner of the earth. There are people here who actually threaten their children's lives if they consider an interracial relationship. There are whites who believe since they are the majority, there should never be a black president. I was talking with a friend of mine from middle school a while back. He asked me where I live now and I told him. He asked me if I live in the city where the KKK started. I had no clue. Well, I recently researched it and found out Thomas Dixon Jr. originated here---just read the link. So, I understand things a little better now, learning lots of things in the past little while, and the more I find out the more it makes me understand I have some choices to make. And to think, a couple of months ago, all I was concerned about was my husband dieing before I could live enough life with him. (sigh) Amazing how so much has changed and amazing how my eyes have been opened. I will never be the same.
Skin color is only skin color...melanin...which all people have in different amounts. People act according to how they've been treated. If you give a baby milk, then it will thrive. If you ignore a person, make them feel less than, tell them they aren't good enough.......then you'll reap what you sow. Plain. and. simple. There are bad people all over the world...many different colors. There are also good people all over the world...many different colors. There are intelligent people...many different colors. There are ignorant people...many different colors. ;)