So this lovely little tidbit happens on my phone this morning, and wakes me up stronger than a pot of coffee. This article makes me sick, no other way to put it. The people who voted for this atrocity make me sick. I encountered many of them in small-town Michigan (the only place I’ve ever been referred to as ‘colored’) and replied with many a thing I probably shouldn’t have said. Outward racism is one thing; I can at least deal with it if not tolerate it. The flagrant bigots, the one who despise any human being for no other reason than the color of their skin, sure, they make about as child-molesting preacher, but at least they’re honest. These people, the ones who genuinely believe they’re not racist simply because they’ve never said the word nigger but stand against interracial dating, the self-deluding bigots who have the audacity to say that such a couple cannot become members of their church…this induces as much nausea as the analogy I used earlier.
When I was eleven, I was friends with a white girl in the neighborhood I grew up in; just friends, never anything more. We just enjoyed each other’s company. Her father had once been an accomplished martial artist, so naturally, I gravitated towards him as she told me stories about him. I wanted to meet him and hopefully, learn from him. This idea was shattered the first time she ever took me to her house to meet him.
Now, to be fair, he was completely polite, almost warm. He even showed me around his house and allowed me to hold the sword he was awarded when he achieved his ranking (or so he said). It was only at the end when he told me that he’d rather I not see his daughter ever again.
I didn’t understand the meaning at first; I blew it off, telling him that there wasn’t anything there between the two of us, just a mutual love of video games and competing. Still, he said, he’d rather I never hung out with her ever again. He didn’t want anyone else to get the wrong idea.
What wrong idea?! I contemplated that the entire walk home. I didn’t say anything to either of my parents; mom was always willing to lend an ear, but I never knew what kind of mood dad would be in. I was learning to lay low.
She called me a couple of nights later to apologize for what her father had done; apparently, she and her mother had no idea that her father felt that way. In the background, I heard him scream (not angrily); “I’m half-white, and half-Cherokee, so what am I? I don’t want my little girl to go through that!”
I had no idea how to answer that question then; it made no sense to me. What a silly thought. You’re you, of course.
I know how to answer the question now.
And I have news for people like that.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve never uttered a racial slur, out of hatred or otherwise. It doesn’t matter how many people of another color you have welcomed into your home. It doesn’t matter how many people of another color you call your ‘friends’. If you are against interracial relationships, the idea of two people of different ethnic backgrounds being together on the sole basis that they are of two different ethnic backgrounds, then that is a form of racism. And not only does that make you racist, it also makes you a hypocrite.
If I met the man today, and he posed the question “I’m half-white, and I’m half-Cherokee, what am I?” I would look him in the eye and reply; “You’re human. You’re also a fool, and you have failed your parents. That is who you are.”
Thanks for reading.
(c) Avery K. Tingle for Akting Out LLC
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