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Amilliondreams posted 6/5/2020 01:16 AM

in the current climate of the world I've thought alot of racism and what it means to me.
I am a dark skinned Puerto Rican. I say Puerto rican as my identifier because to look at me you'd probably sneer in your head if I said I was German or Italian. Although I'm equal parts. I am one of 6 siblings, only 2 of us came out dark skinned. The other 4 were very fair. I always felt less than as a kid. I dont think this was put on me by my parents, my mother is dark too, but nevertheless it mustve come from somewhere in my family or maybe in grade school. So even though I was through and through one of them, someone put it upon me that I wasn't as good. In grade school, I was the only dark skinned child. I was definitely treated poorly. I did everything in my power to work so hard to be a people pleaser to somehow make up for it. Most of the time it was to no avail but I kept trying, some people flat out avoided me. It wasnt until high school that our district saw any other diversity and at that time I too was almost afraid of the new black kid. Its so strange to think that despite being treated differently from family, peers and teachers in my youth that I could have harbored some racist tendency. You don't have to be attacking another race to bear racism, you just have to treat them different/worse. This is what I think is wrong with most peoples views. We are taught in school a definition of racism thats tied with lynching black people, using the n word and them being treated as slaves/servants. Therefore if you don't do those 3 things you can't be racist. Its never been that simple.
As a mother now, I was inwardly thankful that my children all came out white with blue eyes. I know this means life will be easier for them. I pray now my unborn child too will come out like her siblings and father. I dont want them to ever experience some of the uglier moments in life I have. To this day I won't mention some of them because for the longest time I didn't know that I was experiencing racism- because I wasn't black.
I think of the mothers who don't have that relief and fear for their children everyday and im heartbroken. And im even sadder that this bias has to exist.
With these protests, I am torn. I want nothing more than to see equality. To see police accountability. To see political measure change- for myself. For all I've endured. And yet I think of my children and I know without a doubt that if one of them were to be inclined to date a black person i would discourage it. I'd be too afraid that the progress I've made in my life would crash back down on a future grandchild. I cant experience it again for myself let alone one of babies. And I feel fraudulent? Broken? Split? How can I pray for change if I can't accept it for myself?
I'm not sure what I wanted to accomplish with this post, just felt a need to say something.

Adlham posted 6/5/2020 01:48 AM

My mom is much like you, only she's half Japanese.

She was born in Japan and abandoned by family for being impure.

And then she gets adopted and brought to the US and it wasn't a whole lot better because she is dark, especially in the summer.

While I was growing up, she discouraged me from dating POC (I look very white) because she didn't want her grands to feel how she was made to feel.

Your feelings are valid. I am extremely aware of my white privilege. I could get cash back from depositing her paychecks without having to show ID, yet she had to every single time. When I was old enough to drive, she made me go to the bank for her.

BUT...I do want you to know that despite how much ugly there still is, things have improved. She stopped worrying by the time I was old enough to have kids because the world had changed enough, in her opinion/experience.

I hope that you find some encouragement in that.

Much love

EvenKeel posted 6/5/2020 07:35 AM

I have no words to help ease all this awful pain and damage of our world.

So I will just send love!

BraveSirRobin posted 6/5/2020 09:42 AM

These are some very powerful posts. Thank you for sharing them.

J707 posted 6/5/2020 10:35 AM

As a father of Biracial black kids, I'm self educating them on racism. Open dialog, their family history of being slaves and things they won't teach them in schools. If you saw them, you wouldn't know they were partial African American, son is very white and daughter has an olive complexion. But that doesn't mean they won't come across racism in their lifetime. I want them to be able to stand up and have a voice against racism because they will experience it even if not directly towards theirselves.

I experienced it with my exww. When we were married, we would get looks, me as a white male and her as a black female. Those vibes, even when words were not expressed. Her getting pulled over, me never. My former FIL, boy does he have some stories. I've been picking his brain on his side that was born into slavery and passing down the stories to them.

Racism isn't something your born with. It's taught. If I can educate my kids as I hope other parents are doing as well, maybe, just maybe, we can have a better future for us all. Racism for any race is unacceptable. Have conversations. Talk about past history. Read books. Self educate yourself. Talk about what's going on in the world today. I know when I plant these seeds into their minds, they sprout and grow.

LadyG posted 6/5/2020 18:34 PM

Your post took me way back to when I started school.

I saw the racism and prejudice against the kids who were different.

Among my own siblings we all look different.

I think back and I often felt that I was fortunate that I flew under the radar. I am fair skinned, fair hair and eyes so the racist kids naturally thought I must be one of them.

I found myself having to protect my darker skinned family especially my younger sister from a very young age.

We were 7 & 4 the first time I remember being racially abused as we walked home from preschool together.

The multicultural, biracial and others have since become the majority but the minority of racist voices still ring out loud and clear.

Lionne posted 6/5/2020 19:57 PM

This thread is making me so sad and so mad about the whole topic. I feel helpless. But not hopeless any more.
Thank you for sharing these painful and disturbing experiences.
We need to hear this.

BearlyBreathing posted 6/5/2020 20:23 PM

Agreed. Thank you for sharing. For those of you who a have unfortunately been on the receiving end of racist behavior, how can we help? What actions can we take? I’m doing research but would love to hear from you all as well. I want all this turmoil to result in actual change.

Other than voting my conscience and walking my talk every day (and looking for my subconscious biases) , what would you like to see me do?

Pippin posted 6/5/2020 21:47 PM

Of the many effects of racism that are suffered by black people as a group (criminal justice, education, generational wealth, etc) and as individuals (and I have seen or heard multiple stories of humiliation and degradation from every one of my black friends), the piece of information that bothers me the most is the suspension and expulsion of black boys in preschool. Black children are 18 percent of preschool enrollment but almost half (48 percent) of children suspended more than once, and the rate was highest for black boys. (Reference, 2014 Civil Rights Data Collection on school discipline). Preschool children are suspended or expelled at much higher rates than elementary children so this is a LOT of little kids getting kicked out of school.

It is mind boggling to me that any preschooler would be suspended or expelled. They are literally there to learn how to be in school and that school is a good place. But to start black boys off on that foot, when they are already set up to have such a terrible time in their country of birth, their country of citizenship, is just . .. I don’t know how people don’t wake up every morning thinking this is awful, we cannot allow this to go on.

It’s easy to point at police officers who commit these terrible injustices, large and small, as being “bad apples”, power hungry, etc. What about preschool teachers? Why are they doing this too little kids? I’ve never heard of a teacher going to their school director and saying wow, I’m really not good with some of these kids, maybe I need some help figuring out how to do better. Or school leaders saying maybe our program needs to change in a big way to fit the needs of kids so they have a positive first experience at school. The only answer that makes sense to me is that we all (white people) grew up in a racist society, we are all racist underneath, we all need to get to work immediately on owning it and working actively and tirelessly to root it out.

Adlham posted 6/6/2020 01:41 AM

It has been my experience that it's fear.

We live in a very rural, very white community.

There were no African American kids in at least 4 schools in the county (out of 6 towns).

There were 2 African American families in the biggest town.

People here dont have enough personal experience with POC so what they see is whatever is on the news.

The most painful thing anyone has ever said to me is a boyfriend whose parents were afraid of my mom solely based on the color of her skin. I knew then I could never marry him.

He explained that its because they just haven't been around POC. 30 years later, I still haven't quite forgiven him or them.

My husband is also biracial, though he's more olive than African American. Our son is about as white as it gets and our daughter is more olive.

We talk to our kids about being proud of where we come from, to honor our ancestors, & to not be ashamed.

I talk a lot about how painful it was growing up and watching how bad some people treated my mom.

I mean, that's my momma! How dare anyone be mean to my momma?

And to be so helpless. And you all know how we put others first. You can say whatever you want to me. I don't care. But don't you dare speak against someone I love!

Anyways... I am heartened, despite everything, because I have seen a whole lot more good people in places I never expected.

Loukas posted 6/6/2020 02:51 AM

Well there sure is no shortage of racism on this thread. It’s shocking you folks can’t see it.

The1stWife posted 6/6/2020 03:37 AM

Loukas. What are you specifically referring to? I must be missing something here to be honest.

cactusflower posted 6/6/2020 04:33 AM

Change comes from within - what are we willing to accept? My parents were racist and sexist, a product of their generation. Sadly, they never grew out of it.

I am a white woman so I don't have to deal with the bigotry that people of color are exposed to. However, as a woman, I've had to deal with plenty of sexism so, in a different way I know about oppression (and that's from both women and men who seem to feel that women are lesser than).

I do recognize (and empathize with) the fears that people of color experience and find the treatment of any of our fellow humans based on their skin color to be abhorrent.

Watching video of the marches on TV, I was encouraged (and thrilled) to see so many white people protesting side by side with people of color, and in a time when lockdowns due to COVID-19 are prevalent.

Constant education and policy changes will effect change, as it has for so many situations in the past. We must keep fighting the fight - vote for individuals who will effect change and confront/educate those who think or act in a way that is hurtful/harmful to others. Leadership comes from the top down but we are the individuals who put them in power. As we advise all BS' on SI - look what your WS does, not what they say. The same should be applied to people in power.

Our younger generations see this. We all need to help and guide them to push for the changes we need to see. Being afraid or accepting the status quo will not move us forward.

Pippin posted 6/6/2020 07:59 AM

What are you specifically referring to?

I'm going to make a guess and say that for some people, using race as a way to identify people is racism, and that we should all see people as people and not as a color. Which, if you think about it, is quite remarkable progress from thinking - you are not even a human so I get to own you, to you are an inferior person so I can make laws against you, to you are an inferior person so I can treat you differently, to you may be equal to me but you keep to your kind and I'll keep to my kind. If we could truly be colorblind that would be wonderful.

What I say to people who say that, with complete sincerity, is to find a couple of black people you know and trust (church, work, local bar), ask permission to ask them some questions about race, signal that you are very open to hearing whatever answer they have, and ask what they think about that approach.

I'm open to hearing that I'm wrong about what Loukas was referring to. I love these discussions, most especially when they include points of view different from my own. It's a blessing. It's easy to find people who I agree with, I'm surrounded by them.

[This message edited by Pippin at 8:26 AM, June 6th (Saturday)]

Adlham posted 6/6/2020 08:14 AM

Loukas, perhaps you are right. However, throwing a statement out and not explaining really doesn't add to the conversation.

I see a bunch of people here genuinely wanting to see other viewpoints & wanting to know how we can all do better.

Pippin posted 6/6/2020 08:24 AM

BearlyBreathing, I hope that people respond individually. Here's another place for that kind of info - there is a free webinar at 8pm on June 9 called Showing Up for Racial Justice: White People's Work to End Racism organized by the group Showing Up for Racial Justice where you will hear some answers. Here's the description: This is a webinar for folks who are newer to racial justice work and folks doing the work of bringing new white folks in. White people have an important role and responsibility for being part of a multi-racial movement to end racism and win collective liberation. Now is as good of a time as ever to join in this work or deepen your involvement in making the changes we so drastically need.

[This message edited by Pippin at 8:25 AM, June 6th (Saturday)]

BraveSirRobin posted 6/6/2020 10:32 AM

I'm going to make a guess and say that for some people, using race as a way to identify people is racism, and that we should all see people as people and not as a color.
My BH's family is multiracial. He and his oldest sister are his parents' biological children, both white. He has one adopted sister who is three years younger than him, and then a ten year gap, followed by two more adopted children. All three of my adopted SILs are a mixture of African-American and other ethnicities.

My MIL says that when they adopted for the first time, they were idealists. This was the early 1970s, and they believed they could raise all three children in a race-blind way. As a result, their adopted daughter struggled in shame and isolation, too embarrassed to tell them about the racism she faced every single day. She had no one in her life to prepare her for that reality or to share their own lived experience. It's one of my MIL's big life regrets, that she allowed her own naivete to leave her daughter so exposed. When they adopted for the second time, they were sadder and wiser, and they prioritized finding more diverse communities and role models to provide what they couldn't themselves.

I was raised in a family that dismissed claims of racism as the laziness of people who wouldn't pull up their own bootstraps. My mother's parents were Baltic immigrants, and my dad grew up relatively poor in the Deep South. Both families had to work hard and do without, and both ended up economically stable, though certainly not wealthy. They see the term "white privilege" as telling them that what they have was handed to them, and it deeply offends them. I could have seen it the same way, if I hadn't met my BH and seen firsthand through my adopted family that it's much more subtle than that. White privilege is the advantages that white people don't see because they assume that everyone has them, regardless of color. Even as dirt poor white people (my mother and her sister each had one outfit, and they traded back and forth so they wouldn't be wearing the same clothes to school every day), they had some protections that the wealthiest black people in town did not, and do not.

I'm encouraged that recently, some of my family members are finally seeing this disparity, and more and more of them want to stand up and say "no more."

[This message edited by BraveSirRobin at 11:56 AM, June 6th (Saturday)]

Carissima posted 6/6/2020 12:36 PM

So what would you expect in an area where there was no ethnic diversity? No visible racism because there were no black people, no POC. That's the town I grew up in until my 20s when some Indian and Pakistani families opened up some restaurants and shops, similar to the Italian migration years before.
That didn't mean no prejudice, it just took on a different form, sectarianism, bigatory against another religion. It was a transplanted, form of the Northern Ireland troubles, thankfully we have been fortunate enough not to have bombings and that level of violence but there were still issues affecting life and employment.
What I'm trying to say is that there is a part of humankind seems to have a need to 'be better than'. Race is an obvious one, it's visible but if you take that out of the equation then we'll look for something else, sexuality, religion, whatever it may be that makes that small minority feel powerful.
BTW the town is definitely more diverse now and the better for it

Lionne posted 6/6/2020 15:14 PM

One of the few things my parents got right was their acceptance of others. I don't really think they were colorblind but they didn't think POC were less than. I remember my mother quoting some religious text about "yellow people will rule the world." I don't even know if that's a real quote but her interpretation was that skin colors would eventually be uniform as people intermarried. It's a strange way to get to acceptance but that was her stand.
I remember an incident when i was 10 or 11 in our all white school. Apparently, some kid had called another kid, a dark skinned Italian, the n word. I had never heard that word and had no clue what it meant or what it meant that someone was called that. But sadly, the message I got, as school wide teachers and principal addressed the issue wasn't that it was a vile word used to insult an entire race of people, but that this boy WAS NOT African American. The concern wasn't the insult but the mislabeling of one child.
I've tried to raise my kids to have respect for everyone.
As to the issue of kids being disciplined at higher rates in preschools. I don't doubt that it's true. Private daycares can and do expell kids. Public schools take all kids and detention and expulsion are uncommon in primary schools. But, African American boys were overwhelmingly referred for special education testing more than any other group and subsequently classified as needing extra services. I know I and my peers did a lot of introspection to see what WE were doing wrong to make this happen. There were studies that suggested our method of teaching, having kids sit for long periods, was something particularly difficult for black kids. There were speakers who told us that when black kids were spoken to, it was considered to be disrespectful to look the teacher in the eyes so that may be misinterpreted as disrespectful when it was a cultural difference. Frankly, I never saw any evidence that eye avoidance, fidgetyness, or any other trait to be delineated by racial or gender or cultural differences in my first graders.Each kid did bring their own uniqueness to the classroom, and rather than me expecting them to align with my expectations it was up to me to try to reach them.
I hope we are heading in that direction. I hope people are truly listening.
I'm heartened by statements issued this week, particularly by former military and especially the NFL. NEVER thought I'd see that.
Be well friends. Be safe. I'm holding our country ine the LIGHT and hope we can heal some of the many wounds.

[This message edited by Lionne at 3:15 PM, June 6th (Saturday)]

maise posted 6/6/2020 16:03 PM

I am a Latina lesbian woman with two children, my daughter is mixed with African American and has beautiful tanned skin, dark eyes, and amazing curls. My maternal grandfather was Mexican with pale skin, blue eyes, and blonde hair. My maternal grandmother is Mexican with darker skin, dark hair and dark eyes. When my daughter was born, the first thing my grandmother said was, “maybe her skin will lighten up when she gets older.” My response to that was, “Her skin doesn’t need to lighten up, she’s beautiful as she is.”

My cousin has three children with a Latino man that has similar features to my maternal grandfather. The family sees them as beautiful with their light eyes, and blonde hair. This same cousin has made some racist remarks about my daughter and was once jealous because my grandmother has a picture of my daughter in her wallet and not a picture of her. This is a 30 year old woman, making ugly remarks about a child, and jealous that my grandmother has a picture of my child in her wallet instead of the 30 year old woman.

I have taught my children to embrace themselves as they are. Their brown eyes are beautiful, their skin, their hair. I’ve had talks with them about all of the “societal norms” that could try to break them down within themselves. I’m teaching them to be strong and embracing of themselves and others. My daughter loves the way she looks, and why shouldn’t she? She’s gorgeous.

Its sad to think we have these messed up ideas that teach us to hate ourselves or see ourselves as less than. The most amazing thing we could do is learn to love ourselves as we are, no matter our differences, and in return we can teach our youth and our children to love themselves too. Be unapologetically ourselves and express ourselves. Stand up for those who experience mistreatment. “BE THE CHANGE WE WISH TO SEE IN THE WORLD.”

Your post breaks my heart, I do hope you learn to love yourself as you are. You are beautifully you. Beautifully human. There is nothing wrong with you. You will do yourself and your family a great disservice in not accepting who you are so that you can show them to do the same for themselves and others. I wish you healing and love.

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