Saturday, August 5, 2017

Please Take Those Rose Colored Glasses & Shove Them Where The Sun Don't Shine!

This is the fifth time I've started this blog post. I feel like I have so much to say and yet find myself wanting to defend the very thing I hate because it involves some of the people I love, I find myself wanting to be politically correct because it's the "right thing" to do but I am not going to be politically correct today and I am going to pour my soul into this post. You can love me, you can hate me and you can judge all you want but this post has been a long time coming and it's time for my soul to be a peace because I said what I wanted to say.

Do you remember the one significant event that shaped your mind about your views on race? Seems like a tough question possibly but for me it is a simple one. I was born a blue eyed, blonde headed white girl into a family that proudly call themselves redneck, who originated in a small town, that to this very day, has zero black residents  and the granddaughter of a former KKK member. From a very young age I was taught the same lies that my parents were taught because my grandparents taught them to my parents and my great grandparents taught them to my grandparents and so on and so on. In fact, it wasn't until my generation of cousins,in my immediate family, that we ventured outside of our own race.

Growing up my grandmother, whom I love and miss so much, would take my cousins and I to the store when we would stay with her and she would buy us each a baby doll but not just any baby doll. No, every little white girl in our family had to have a "nigger baby." I'm not sure where her logic came from as I never got the chance to ask her while she was still with us like I had the chance to ask her other things. It will always remain a great mystery but I credit her for why our family doesn't look like a sea of white anymore. I'm sure it was not intentional on her part. 

My parents tell a story of how I was small, old enough to walk and talk and, based on the story, comprehend at least some things. We ventured into a town that was bigger than the ones we frequented to buy some groceries. As we made our way to the check-out counter we got behind an older black woman who was also buying groceries. According to the story, I looked at my dad and very plainly said "Daddy is that one of those "jigga boos?" The story goes that my dad was so embarrassed that we left right then. I can recall going to my great grandparents house and calling one of my uncles "jigga boo" and everyone thought it was so funny. Thinking back on these two stories now, I wish I had a time machine so I could go apologize to the lady at the grocery store and even take back all the times I called my uncle anything other than uncle but when you are born into these generational lies you don't know any better than to have on your rose colored glasses. Proves racism is a taught behavior.

But God!!!!! Oh but God has an amazing sense of humor and He does things His way! By the time I was in the 2nd grade my parents were divorced, we lived in a suburb of Dallas, Texas and my mother managed a giant set of government subsidized apartments also known as "the hood." When you're a kid you don't care what race someone is. Instead, you want friends, people to play with, to ride your bike with (yes, I am dating myself but that's alright). In order to have friends I had to play with black kids. My mom never really told us we couldn't have black friends but it was understood I wouldn't be spending the night at their house and they sure weren't spending the night at mine. Anytime I would ask to inside one of my friend's houses the answer was no but I asked again the next day and the day after that. 

Remember I asked you if you remember the event that shaped your views on racism? For me it was two significant events. The first came when I was in Ms. Agee's 3rd grade class. She has always been one of my favorite teachers so her name is easy for me to remember. In my 3rd grade class were two boys: Tyrone (who I cannot for the life of me remember his last name) and Kevin G. During P.E. I would always be on whatever team they were on and we always won. Being the competitive person that I am, I liked winning but there was something about that Kevin G. I liked him and I wanted him to be my boyfriend even though I had no idea what that really meant back then. That was my very first interracial relationship, if you count 3rd grade relationships. He is currently married to a beautiful white woman and has a beautiful little girl. My parents never really knew about Kevin G.because I was in the 3rd grade.

In the 4th grade I was in Mrs. Neilson's class. It was this grade that I was given an education about why you don't mix races from my parents. See, I liked a boy named Lamon H. Lamon, Pete P. and I would get on three-way (again totally dating myself) and talk. One day my mom picked up the receiver and asked me who I was talking to so I told her. She asked me to get off the phone and come see her. I honestly thought I was in trouble for being on the phone with boys but it was then that I got the talk about black boys. Mexican boys weren't really her comfort zone either but the Bible said that white and black races do not mix. To this day I am still trying to find that in the Bible; sarcasm intended. 

By the time I got the 5th grade I didn't care what my mom said about black boys. I was attracted to them, we liked the same kind of music, we lived in the same neighborhood, we were about equal on the socioeconomic scale, we had similar views on things and I just felt a different connection with them than I did the white boys in my class. That was the first year I met one of my life-long friends who hated me in the 5th grade. 

So for three years it was about boys but then the other lies were shattered when I met Shana Y. from Detroit, Michigan. Their family had moved into our apartments and while I am not exactly sure how she and I started hanging out, we did. I stopped asking if I could go inside her house and hang out and instead I started to rebel and I just did. Every lie I had ever been told was shattered in an instant the moment I walked in the front door of their house. There house was much more clean than ours was, her parents were still married to one another and both had jobs unlike the stories I had been told about how lazy black people were and only used the system to get ahead. It was in that house that I received an education all of its own and it started by taking what was left of those rose colored glasses and stomping them into a million pieces. 

It was an environment where I could ask questions about things I didn't know, had been told or was curious about, free of any judgment on their part because they understood what I was asking and why. I learned about different types of music, how to ballroom dance, how to be honest and not two-faced, how to do things with integrity, how to stand up for myself. I have referred to Shana's house as my saving grace and my molding process but her house also confused me. Why would my family, the people who love me, who are to protect me, help shape me and mold me into a productive member of society, how, how had they looked me in the face and lied to me all these years? It also made me hate being white!

Middle school is a strange time for most people and for me even more so. There were very few white girls that I was able to hang out with other than the ones who liked black guys because I just couldn't relate to the other ones. I was always in trouble because now I felt like I needed to defy every rule my parents had. I mean after all, they had lied to me for years and now they wanted me to still buy into the lies though I was seeing with my own eyes the real truth, I was experiencing my own experiences and they were nothing like I had been told.

It was during this time that the things I had experienced at Shana's house, I would experience with another family, Meka's. Meka was that girl I mentioned from the 5th grade. By this time were were good friends and by high school she would be my very best friend, sometimes my only friend. Her mama is like my mama to this very day. Net always took me in, gave me a place to eat, to be myself, to love on me when I seemed unlovable to the world. To say Net was there for me during some of the darkest times in my life is an understatement and until now, I'm not even sure she even knew what  a light she was in my dark tunnel. I was a bad kid but she never judged me, she let her own daughter hang out with me despite the numerous times I drug her into my mess. Shawn reminded me that it was alright to have fun and live life and Big Mama, well, you couldn't tell me I wasn't one of the hundreds of other kids she loved like her own. Meka always had my back. It didn't matter if it was a girl or a guy, she had my back. She is my sister and I love her. Their family is full of love and they showered it on me always.  They made me feel like I belonged somewhere when I felt like I didn't belong anywhere.

Ninth grade was the year that really messed with my head. Not only was I not allowed to date black guys, I was certainly not allowed to date thugs. By day I had a boyfriend my parent's loved and by night, I was spending hours on the phone and sneaking to my boyfriend's house, the thug, in the neighboring city. My mom wasn't the idiot I took her for. While I had her fooled for awhile, it was just awhile and before long she knew that I had never gotten rid of Carl O. like I told her I had. In fact, I was spending more time at his house than I was at my own house. He too made me feel like I belonged when I felt like I didn't belong anywhere. He loved me for me and he really loved me not just because he wanted something from me. In a sense he opened my eyes to a different world but protected me from the one I was living in. Sounds strange and it's hard to explain.

 At school I didn't fit in with the rich white girls. I was a white girl from the hood and my friends were the black girls from the hood. It made life complicated because on the outside it looked like I should be hanging out with the rich white girls but they didn't accept me because I was "too black" and unless you grew up in my hood, I was "too white" for some of the black girls. 

My mother and I argued constantly. To this day I can remember sitting on the kitchen counter in a pair of booty shorts and a white t-shirt arguing with my mom. I can't remember what we were arguing about, possibly my relationship with Carl O. but I finally blurted out "I hate being white!" My mother was so shocked by my statement but it was true. I confessed to her that I wished God had made me any color except white and I was sure that if reincarnation were an actual thing that I was black in a former life.

I was ashamed of the history of white people, I was ashamed that by looking at myself in the mirror I could not escape the reality that I would be associated with that in some form or fashion. I hated slavery, I hated the Civil War ever needed to happen, I hated the fact that we had a reason to celebrate Juneteenth, I hated the fact that the Civil Rights Movement had to happen and that racism was alive and well and all at the hands of white people, people who looked like me. She would try to make it better by saying our family didn't own slaves but we didn't fight to end slavery either so we were just as bad.

In the 9th grade I wanted so badly not to be associated with anything or anyone white that I changed everything about myself. I changed the way I talked so that I incorporated more Ebonics or Urban vernacular, I wrapped my hair, had braids, had a finger wave (again totally dating myself), I listened to nothing but rap, hip-hop and R&B, I had zero white friends and I sure wasn't dating one of those white guys. I can't still remember Louis A. telling me that I needed to "act like a white girl with your country self."

Sure, I sprinkled a few white guys in here and there throughout my life, mostly as a last stitch effort to feel more connected to my family or to somehow make them happy but it just doesn't work for me. It wasn't until a few years ago that I became comfortable with being white. It took something from someone I don't even like as a person to make me see things through a different set of eyes regarding my whiteness.

He told me, as a white woman I have the ability to walk through doors someone with a different color skin couldn't get through even if they had a million dollars to offer. Sounds really messed up but it's the ugly truth. It's in getting through those doors that I am able to offer the people in their rose colored glasses a perspective that they have never examined before. God made me white to get to white people who needed their rose colored glasses ripped off their faces and shoved where the sun don't shine. God was using me. God allowed me to go through all the things I had gone through for His glory and His purpose! Man, that was life changing for me. 

It's taken me a little bit to get some finesse to it and I still struggle at times because racism and inequality are hot buttons for me. I can't stand social injustice. In my mind I would like to think that I would have been a Freedom Rider back in the Civil Rights Movement, I would have proudly marched along side Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, listened to speeches by Malcolm X or even joined the Black Panthers if I would have been able to.

Three years ago, I started learning on my own all the things that all my history books "forgot" to tell me. This is part of the problem. My history books, even the ones I paid for earning my first degree, "forgot" to tell me about things like Black Wall Street, about how Miami was not shaped by Latin culture only but how black people played a significant role, my books "forgot" to tell me about about Henrietta Lacks, Dr. Charles R. Drew or Dr. Daniel Hale Williams. Those books didn't tell me about the real brutality of slavery, show me actual photographs of people cheering, laughing, taunting, smiling and praising the horrible murder of Jesse Washington in Waco, Texas, they didn't tell me about the Algiers Motel incident or how free black men and women were taken back to the south and put into slavery as free men and women. I've made it a point to teach myself because it's vital those stories be told. I have to credit movies and the Internet for aiding in furthering my education and at the same time I hate it because it makes me think of all the horrific things no one is still telling me about or that I have yet to gain knowledge or. 

I thank God everyday for making me who He made me to be. Going into the healthcare profession carries a great responsibility for me but I am thankful for every experience, for every moment He opened my eyes to something else, for the ability to get on the level of every person I may come in contact with thanks to God allowing me to be me. I said all of that to say that I am sad, disappointed, hurt and yet, not so surprised at the reactions to this commercial.

It saddens me that this commercial even has to be made but it is the truth of what goes on every single day in households across America and it shouldn't have to. No, I don't feel this is race baiting or causing a further divide between races but exposing the ugly truth for what it is. I have seen the comments on this video on several different posts and it makes me want to cry, it makes me want to throw up, it makes me angry and it makes me want to go get a shirt that says "Black Girls Rock" so badly! If this commercial makes you think it's anti-police or it's race baiting you need to seriously need to go stand in the mirror for a long time an evaluate yourself. If it bothers you that these conversations have to take place then you need to also go get in the mirror an examine yourself and make some immediate changes.

To Proctor & Gamble, I will gladly spend a little more to buy your products for standing up, for standing out and knowing that you would receive backlash for doing the right thing. I will do my best to make up for the people who swear they will never buy your products again. I am one person and my impact is small but I stand with you, I stand with and support My Black is Beautiful. I would love to get more involved in various movements though I'm not sure how to go about it. I have looked into joining the NAACP, have my application to the Black Nurse's Association, proudly love on, support and share the posts from Black Nurse's Rock and all my social media friends who are part of this organization.

Standing by and keeping your mouth shut is just as bad as wearing that white clown costume. Standing back and doing nothing is just like watching slavery and doing nothing. I can't just sit back and be quiet. God won't allow me to.

1 John 4:21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

Mark 12:30-31 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

No where do you see God tell you only the ones that look like you! If my family can change, so can you!