Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.
Christy Oglesby, quality assurance manager for CNN/U.S. in Atlanta, wrote about the lessons about racism she's felt compelled to pass on to her 12-year old son, Drew. Against the backdrop of the Trayvon Martin shooting, she says she feels justified in doing so. The hundreds of comments that poured in are evidence that the post affected many people quite deeply, and we felt it would be enlightening to share some of the most fascinating remarks with you.
Opinion: My 12-year-old son could be Trayvon
The big questions seemed to be: How should parents talk about race with their children? And how much should we worry about it?
"I am moved to tears by this mother's struggle," said a reader named Tiffany who said she is "humbled" by Oglesby's efforts. Bullying and self-esteem are the kinds of things she says she worries about, not being shot while running through a neighborhood.
"I know many people who argue that racism in this country is a fairy tale in the minds of black people who want pity and welfare ... but still, their children are dying having committed no crime at all. What kind of fairy tale is that?"
Some readers were concerned about the message being sent.
griff: "It seems to me though that by teaching her son that it's not a good idea to run through a neighborhood, that's only perpetuating the problem by conditioning people or reenforcing the notion that a black kid running through a neighborhood is only up to no good. It conditions people to think that 'black kids are taught to not run through neighborhoods,' so if it's happening, it must be because something is wrong."
Our readers talked about their own biases and questions about racism.
GW Bear: "Looking at some of the responses here, from mostly white responders tells me that most of us white folks just do not get this. I very much doubt there is a single black parent out there who cannot relate to your article in some way or other. I also suspect most whites never truly can, as it just looks different from our point of view. After Martin's death I cannot help but feel that the Person of Color perspective is valid far, far more often than white people will admit."
atl78: "I tend to think that we all have it mixed up. Non-whites have experienced racism and they are determined to prove it so we sometimes see racism where it isn't. On the other hand, some whites are reluctant to see racism because they do not view themselves as racists and do not want to assume any personal responsibility. But, cases like this prove that it exists and it is a real problem in our country. It's time that we stop taking everything personally and look at what really IS vs. what we want to see."
While responding to another reader, a commenter called Juli shared this anecdote.
"I was waiting in a long line at the post office. The woman behind me casually started making conversation. We got on the subject of kids and she asked me how many children I had and I said, 'five.' She quietly leaned over to me and said, 'I always like to see white families having lots of children.' I couldn't find the words to respond because I am white and my sons are black."
But some were concerned that the story was promoting racial differences and prejudices.
Casey: "I was raised not to judge people on their skin color. That's racism. It's wrong. I grew up in a small, conservative, ultra-religious town, and my parents still managed to teach me to judge people upon their actions. And yet here's this woman, enforcing over and over to her son that everyone will be racist against him. How about taking some responsibility for making everyone respect your race and culture more. If you're so obsessed with the idea that it's inferior, maybe the problem isn't with everyone else, maybe the problem is with you."
The following person was fed up after reading the story.
Kym: "I'm so disgusted after reading this article. This racism is so depressing, all of it. I hate stereotypes and prejudices towards all races, cultures, etc. Looks like this country will never be rid of racism, stereotypes, etc."
And then there was the following reader, who very candidly said racism is difficult to eliminate because there are so many stereotypes around.
i'm asian. caucasian.: "What happened to this child was terrible. As a white man i have always tried not to hold unpleasant views of b1ack males. But sometimes it's hard. The 'gangsta' culture and its violence. The number of jailed black males. Being intimidated when i went to school with them. Having the brothers of the b1ack girls I dated threaten me (which i later found out is suppose to mean they like me?). When I like someone, I take them out for a beer. I was not born into this world with hate in my heart. I try so hard to keep it out. I just really feel a lot of black men are out there giving (themselves) a bad name. I think America is trying very hard to get over its terrible past, but sometimes those demons challenge us. We all have to be big enough to fight them and say enough is enough."
This reader shared a personal story.
farmerjeani: "When the mother of my white granddaughters' black fiancee told them it wasn't safe for her to drive to Florida with him, we all thought she was being overly cautious. Surely in this time frame, with a newly elected Barack Obama, this kind of racism no longer exists. Turns out the white side of the family is overly naive. They have been subjected to more than one instance of racism and after what happened to Trayvon, I can hardly wait until the end of the year when he will have graduated from college and they will take their two beautiful sons and leave Florida for good! I only wish I could be sure there was somewhere else in this country they can be completely safe."
And others wondered if the writer was overreacting.
TheZeitgeist: "Tragedy of the kid getting killed is a tragedy all the same, but this lady is over-reacting about her boy. Statistically, race-motivated killings of black people by white people are exceptionally rare. The author's boy has an order-of-magnitude higher probability of being murdered by a black person for color of his shoes than a white person for color of his skin. Important to keep things in perspective as we engage in another bout of navel-gazing here. And to put that in perspective, getting killed driving cars poorly will kill more teens than all the teens murdered for any reason this year combined. The author should keep that one in perspective weighing statistical risks to her testosterone-fueled kid."
ya no: "You're most likely correct with your assertions –- statistically. Unfortunately, when your kid is at risk, injured or killed, statistics seem to lose their relevance."
What's your take? Have you had to advise your child, or have you experienced something similar? Share your opinion in the comments below, or sound off on video via CNN iReport.
Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.
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@MAVF: I agree with you, well said. Children cannot grow into responsible, productive, law-abiding adult citizens with the "Do as I say, not as I do" upbringing. Children learn what they live.
My kids were taught not to see color,even though I was brought up in S.Fla.We here have many ethnic groups ,too many to mention.But my two sons love everyone and it shows,when one of my boys became involved in an auto-motocycle accident.Everyone was there at the hospital,so much so the police were called in to break up the crowd,but to everyone's surprise,his buddies who were also police, had a small prayer vigil in the hospitals parking lot for my son,that's friendship,all colors allowed.Michelle Obama also prayed for my son at our local church,that's means a lot,friendships always allowed...Thanks....
I grew up in a very liberal home outside of Atlanta as a poorish white kid. I took a job working the streets/ projects of atlanta with the liberal idea that everyone was the same and everyone had "good" in them. Boy was i wrong!
After my 3rd encounter with black violent crime in less than 2 years working the streets of Atlanta in 2003 ( i had niavely given a ride to 2 Black men whom i felt bad for because it was starting to rain. They turned my radio up, said i was being carjacked, and that they were on the run for murder from Lousiana. Thankfully a angel saved my life that day as i undid my seatbelt and jumped out of the vehicle after quickly pulling into a krystals (they had told me to stay straight thru the light and drive towards the woods)). About a month after my carjacking i was still niave, thinking these men couldnt be that bad, and had learned their lesson. Sadly it was then that i read in the paper about a young college student who had been carjacked, and his body floating in a river close to where they had wanted me to drive.
Thats when it hit me that some people dont change, and not everyone deserves to be treated equally. Walking in on a gasstation robbery in 2005 involving 5 blacks in ski masks, and my buddy getting set up/ dragged into a abandoned apt by a black robbery crew in south atlanta in 2006 only made solid what i believed.
Profiling is a very usefull tool that i used all the time in the streets. Only when its about saving your life, its not called profiling, its called common sense!!
I'm pretty sure there are a lot black men with a similar story. I know my brother has a few stories involving the police racial profiling him and his friends. My brother is the most color blind man I know he has a Mexican and white friends since childhood and every single time they are in the car together they get pulled over. My brother is married to a white woman (we joke that she is more black than he is and it's true) has never committed a crime, been to jail or even has a record but because of the color of his skins he automatically seen as a threat or criminal. I think if people weren't so scared and are able to protect themselves without a guns. We won't have so many Barney Fife waving their pistols around with one bullet.
american of arab (lebanese) ancestry here. during desert storm, there mere rude comments and over intimidation directed at me, and my brother got assaulted. we are not muslim, we are eastern orthodox christian by upbringing. we are very assimilated. we do not speak our parents' native language, and the only thing that we have adopted from our ancestry is a love of the cuisine. yet, some mouth breathers do not care, as long as there is some perception of arab-ness, they get their machismo all fired up and see themselves as patriots for assaulting a fellow citizen
Frustrated because I hit the "abuse" button instead of "reply" Sorry Moncada 🙁
I am Hispanic as well. I could tell you a whole page of stories of racism or discrimination I have personally witnessed. It appears that our world is a very hateful place. People seem to be so angry & I cannot even "take it" anymore. I used to "Take hte High Road" – but in 2008 I found myself fighting back. I used to love all people and dated mostly whites (becasue that was my neighborhood) – but, now I find myself fearful – after hearing so much against Hispanics – I just can't take it anymore. Whether its racism, bullying, gay bashing, etc. I just pray something will happen that will make a big change in our world. I am afarid that people have been battling this for a millenium ... so that is frustrating as well – thinking there is nothing you can do to make this a more loving world overall ... 🙁
I DISAGREE WITH THE HATE....AMERICANS ARE NOT HATEFUL..THEY ARE SICK AND TIRED OF THE ILLEGAL'S INVADING OUR COUNTRY AND OUR POLITICIANS ARE NOT DOING ANYTHING ABOUT IT...WE HAVE 25 MILLION UNEMPLOYED AMERICANS, WHY IS THE U.S. STILL ALLOWING MORE IMMIGRANTS IN OUR COUNTRY ?? DO WE NEED MORE IMMIGRANTS–OR–MORE ILLEGALS ?? NO.... IS THAT HATE ? NO. ...BUT SOME PEOPLE ARE DOING A GOOD JOB OF MAKING IT LOOK LIKE HATE–BIGOTS–HATE...AMERICA IS BECOMING WAY TOO OVER POPULATED WITH PEOPLE, WE GOT TO STOP THE FLOW OF ILLEGALS AND IMMIGRANTS..IF THAT IS HATE TO YOU ? THAT IS YOUR PROBLEM.
Hmm, that's ironic coming from someone named Jose....
It's just my opinion that it would do us good to keep this fair; that is, let's isolate this case, and consider just the parties involved. I am not racist; for me, it's a thing of the past, albeit a sad American legacy. And I understand a desire to understand humans.... But, enough. I'm tired of things like "patterns." Just for the heck of it, let's just look at the individuals in this case....
I agree with your plea on this case....however, just from the reports and responses let's realize this is at the heart of a bigger problem...we have a race issue (surprisingly) in the US. We are the melting pot, more diverse than anywhere on earth. But we have a problem...President Obama can open the dialogue and has failed to do so. I hope before he leaves office he takes up this opportunity to leave a legacy of open discussion if not a legacy of peaceful co-existance.
RACIAL PROFILING LAWS IS A BAD LAW...ALL IT DOES IS PREVENT POLICE FROM DOING THEIR JOBS...MOST OF THE ILLEGALS IN AMERICA ARE MEXICANS..IF YOU ARE A COP LOOKING FOR ILLEGALS WHO SHOULD THEY LOOK FOR ??PEOPLE WHO LOOK MEXICANS–OR–PEOPLE THAT LOOK WHITE ?? CORPORATIONS USE RACIAL PROFILING ALL THE TIMES WHEN LOOKING FOR MEXICAN ILLEGALS CHEAP LABOR, BUT THAT IS O.K. WITH MEXICANS, THEY DON'T COMPLAINT ABOUT RACIAL PROFILING ..IF IT FAVORS THEM ? IS NOT RACIAL PROFILING...WHITES ARE THE ONES WHO ARE BEING DISCRIMINATED BY CORPORATIONS WHO WANT CHEAP LABOR...
I'M A HISPANIC GUY. I DO KNOW FOR A FACT THAT MEXICANS LOVE TO PLAY THE RACE CARD IN THEIR FAVOR...RACIAL PROFILING IS ONE......MEXICANS USE RACIAL PROFILING AS AN EXCUSE TO STOP COPS FROM ASKING THEM IF THEY ARE LEGAL OR NOT......TO THEM, WHITES ARE HATEFUL–BIGOTS-RACISTS....WHO IS IN AMERICA ILLEGALLY ?? WHO IS USING OUR HOSPITALS FOR FREE ??? ARE U.S. CITIZENS SUPPOSE TO OVER LOOK ALL THAT ?? NO...I'M A P.R. GUY.
I've been to Mexico many times and have met many Mexicans and they do not hate white people. I don't know where you get your information from but revise it.
I LIVE WITH THEM , I TALK TO THEM AND I HEAR IT FROM THEIR LIPS....THEY COME HERE TO STEAL OUR JOBS AND OUR SERVICES...
YOU HEAR MEXICANS ON THE NEWS ACCUSING WHITES OF BEING HATEFUL –BIGOTS....LOOK AT ARIZONA....THEY HATE ANYONE WHO IS FOR IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT.....JOE ARPAIO THE SHERIFF FROM ARIZONA IS DOING A GREAT JOB, BUT ILLEGALS AND DEMOCRATS HATE HIM.. I LIKE HIM, WHY ? I WANT THE IMMIGRATION LAWS ENFORCE.
You are also ashamed of your latino origins
Racism i a problem and some people just need to understand that they have that problem and seek for help. I lived in idaho and go to school in byui, some body hit me at the back in my car in the parking lane and it took the corps a long time to show up, when he showed up he said its my fault. The other driver was not in his seat belt but was set free, the other guys statements was different from what he told the corps and the insurance company, went to the security and got pictures of what happened and presented it at the court, i was charged $85. Because the judge said "its not a big deal just pay it". How is this not racism? is it because i drive a white benz? is it because am black? Racism is still in existence it is just practiced in different ways other than saying "you are black and i hate you"
JUST BECAUSE I WANT THE IMMIGRATION LAWS ENFORCE ? THAT IS NOT RACISTS, BUT TO MEXICANS IT IS...BUILDING A WALL ON THE MEXICO BORDER IS NOT RACISTS, BUT TO MEXICANS IT IS.....USING E-VERIFY SO THAT ONLY U.S. CITIZENS CAN GET A JOB IS NOT RACISTS, BUT TO MEXICANS IT IS....RACISTS IS DIFFERENT TO DIFFERENT RACES......BLACKS DO MOST OF THE ROBBERIES-CARJACKINGS-DRUG -BUT IF POLICE PROFILE THEM IS RACIAL PROFILING.....I DISAGREE.....RACIAL PROFILING IS A MUST FOR POLICE TO DO THEIR JOBS...IF YOU WANT TO EAT MEXICAN FOOD, DO YOU GO TO A CHINESE RESTAURANT ???
it's possible you actually were at fault in the parking lot, I don't know all the details. i don't think you were racially profiled but it sounds like you may have been stereotyped. depending on how new condition your Benz was in they may have thought you have money and just pay the fine. It's been proven people are less likely to stop and help someone broke down on side of road in a luxury car than if they were in older less expensive car. Even my mom who saved for years to get her mercedes (last car) gets taken advantage of at the mechanics because of what she drives and cause she is an elderly woman.
David, that was not racism, it was a blatant corruption of the law, if you had hired a lawyer to file a lawsuit and offered him a lion's share of the proceeds, they would have treated you with kid gloves, because they would have known that the lawyer was out for blood and that he would get them in trouble. It is what it is, this country is full of dirty small-town cops and judges (yes, even in the big cities) whose only purpose in life is diddling for chicken$h!t fines and making the rounds for protection money.
caucasion male here that grew up overseas as USAF military brat. I grew up with friends of all ethnicities. I experienced my first taste of racism when I came back to the states as an early teen. A good (black) friend I grew up with moved back to Andrews AFB and we moved back there a year later as well. We met back up and had some good times until one day we were playing some friendly football when I called one of the other opponents (also black) on not playing fair. I know my friend Michael saw it as well and when I looked to him for support he sided with the predominantly group of new black friends.
Another time stands out in my mind as an adult in Norfolk/Portmouth VA. I was active duty Navy and walking across the Midtown bridge (in civilian clothes) when a bus was approaching. All the windows were down facing my sidewalk and all the teenagers at the windows were black. I had a gut feeling of what was about to happen and was hoping it wouldn't. but they did all try and spit on me and fortunately their timing was off so I went unscathed but not mentally.
Like I said, I grew up amongst many ethnicities (I myself am german/american) and I didn't like feeling the way I did after those treatments so I make it a point to not judge a book by it's cover. Is it hard sometimes, sure. but because I haven't, I've made a lot of good friends as an adult that I might otherwise have missed out on. I'll try and pass that on to my son and hopefully peer pressure won't overrule.
Sometimes I think that part of what is labeled racism is instead stereotyping. I personally would be uneasy about a group of thuggish-looking young men walking toward me no matter what color they were, and that's because of my preconception, based on past experience, that "young men wearing that type of clothing and acting that way usually cause trouble". Yes, unfortunately there is racism, but not all perceived-as-racist instances actually are. And for the record, it wouldn't bother me a bit if my daughter married someone of another race, as long as he loves her, works hard, and treats her well. Hopefully someday we can all get to that point.
My parents were professional white immigrants who raised me and my siblings in the American South...doing their best to explain racism to us. I've always found it difficult to explain away the segment of the population, black and white, who appear happy to BE those negative stereotypes.
Too bad we can't bottle the ability for some people to gain insight about themselves and not follow their peers.
I like to think I was brought up with the knowledge that we are all equal under the eyes of the law and to never judge others for the color of the skin but by the content of their character...funny how that worked out to be a one way street. In this country, I am judged to be a racist because my skin is white. I cannot judge others by the content of their character if their skin color is different than mine without being labeled a racist.
Chinese American here, my son is half Chinese and half Caucasian and how to talk to my son about racism is something that has truly been struck home these last few years living in SC. To him it's all the same, he relates to those that are half white and half other races. He is friends with lots of kids, he just doesn't know what to do when his "friends" sometimes say things about his other friends that aren't white or all white. My wife and I try to talk to him about this and how it makes him feel rather than like me bottling it up for all my formulative years and nearing a disastrous ending of self-hate and depression. We also start limiting his contact with these children because we think these kids don't just grow up like this, this is something they have gotten from their parents. What use would it be to talk to their parents about something that they truly believe? Makes me wonder what all my neighbors "really" think about my family and I invading their little piece of suburbia.
My middle son defended a girl who was being harassed on the bus due to race, yet my son almost got suspended? What kind of message does that send to him? He should just let other kids make racist remarks or else?
This one's easy, I told my daughters years ago that racism is a crutch that some people with little or no knowledge of biology, sociology, history, economics or the impact of education use to explain away social problems common to all races, when it pertains to people with phenotypical characteristics different from them. I also told them that this lack of knowledge creates in the racist group a "witchhunt" mentality, where the problems inherent to another racial/ethnic group are seen as a cause, rather than an effect. My girls picked this up when they were 8-10 years old, it boggles the mind that some grownups in this country, which prides itself for social advancement, NEVER get it.
I believe that we are all just a little racist. I have an ugly tendency to generalize about African Americans but when I tell myself to stop acting so ignorant I then begin understand them a bit more. Admitting and attending to my problem has helped me in the long run I would say.
Race relations would improve if Blacks could apolgize when a White person is killed by a member of their race. If they could admit stuff like affirmative action and race based hiring is wrong–even if they are the ones who benefit, it would help. When a Black person makes a racist comment about a White person call them out instead of saying that they deserve it. Race relations always seem to be one sided, where Whites always have to apologize because of every insult, killing and comment made towards them, but we don't ever get apologies.
That six year old girl who made that comment-it may not have been racist. Maybe the little girl was homeschooled and hasn't seen too many blacks. The first time I ever saw a Black person I was shocked that their skin wasn't black, but dark brown and I stared at him, was that racist? Why does this woman assume the worst? Why is she teaching her son this? When he becomes an adult will he just work for a company that only hires Blacks? Will he live in an all Black neighborhood policed by Black police officers? If he has a business, will he only do business with Black customers? Will he have to move to Africa and live in the savannas with the Black tribesman who may not embrace him because he isn't one of them?
If he embraces this fear that his mom is teaching him, than I feel sorry for him. He is setting himself up for failure because Whites are still the majority and you have to be able to live at peace with them. When he fails in life, he will blame his race, whereas Whites have no one to blame but themselves for their failures.
America never apologized or made a memorial or a national holiday for Slavery. Other European countries like England and Spain, and France who took part in the Slave trade benefited from it. Yes, while there is Black on Black Crime, White on White Crime or Latino on Latino Crime....the high percentage of brutalizing, and killing people for the colour of their skin by the larger White group is historical and paramount. President Obama said their is no need for an apology or reparations, that's where he's wrong. He feels that because he is the First-elected African-American President, it wipes the slate clean of the atrocities inflicted on Blacks through Slavery that turned into Racism that we all experience today. As this young White Man said Recently...He was born with privilege and that Whites like him must and should have a true and open dialogue about Racism in America with Blacks and other Races..after all you are the MAJORITY! Change can happens at this point..despite all our prejudices....
Actually Zack, there is more black on black crime than White on Black crime. Also, if you have a beef, it should be with Africans; they are the ones who originally sold most of their people into slavery. Finally, there is no need to continue to listen to Blacks whine about slavery considering only a small percentage of Americans owned slaves. Many people migrated here from other countries and had to endure their own prejudice (Italians, Irish, etc.) So just quit embarassing yourself.
and there is more white on white crime, than black on white crime. 85% of all crimes are committed within one own race.
and a large percentage of american owned slaves and the whole White american government participated in the segregation.
we did not ask your to listen to us "whine"...but like it or not, justice will be serve if there is any racism.
Well said. Any person and any group can be racist. It's NOT OK for a black person to be racist either. Yet so many support Reverse Discrimination (aka Affirmative Action). Let's treat each other like people, not a race.
Almost every country has enslaved others, and been enslaved. No one is alive today who was a slave in this country. Get over it and stop listening to racist self promoters like Sharpton, Farrakan, and Jackson.
There is no such thing as reverse recism. Racism is racism and most people are racist at some level. But most people who have common sense and a respect for humanity do not act on murderous thoughts. Why do you care if people are rallying or eve if Al Sharpton is involved? It is not hurting anyone, it most likely will not change anything but it will give the family a sense of comfort in knowing that someone cares. That is what rallies/marches are all about. Showing people that you care.
Sorry to bust your bubble but whites will not be the majority forever. Maybe if you are a midwesterner or southerner but chang/intteracial relationships are thriving rapidly and whites will soon be the minority. In tregards to your statement about black on black crime. What about white on white crime? Dude a man with a glass house should not throw throw stones. Serial killers, rapists, arsonists, military murderers, child killers, child molesters, all acts proven to be committed by predominantly WHITE MEN. Do you see other races profiling white men? No. Perhaps we should though....
Its totally ok to teach WHITE children of their total superiority over the coloreds and other things. Its just the natural order of things!
either you're just a stupid troll trolling for anger filled replies or you're just another ignorant racist who can't see past their front porch and blames everyone else for their failure to succeed.
I respect this mother's decision to explain to her child her perspective on racism. She sounds like a good, worried, mother. If she's a great mother, she is also teaching her child to come to his own conclusions, to determine if her own perspective is a relic or still true, and to find his own way in a world that still has problems. I don't think it's intelligent to avoid the topic of racism entirely, and it's not a problem inherent to just America–take a look at England, Switzerland, France. Being aware that racism exists doesn't mean we need to steep ourselves in fear or feel guilty for speaking about it. It's a problem, and pretending it doesn't exist helps no one. I truly hope one day "racism" is just a headline in a textbook so schoolkids can laugh at the idiocy of previous generations. Until then, I would caution the mother not to sour such a young, bright boy to what the world might hold for him. No 12-year old should be held back from enjoying his childhood by fear of anything. But perhaps I live in a different, easier world. I never noticed the color of my friends' skin was different than mine until we read To Kill a Mockingbird.
I am a 36-year-old African-American female who is the mother of two daughters ages 16 and 10. I totally disagree with the approach this author has taken to educate her son about racism in America. Yes, racist people do exist and they probably always will, but constantly reminding a child of how they will be judged by the color of their skin and how they need to "act" and "behave" in a certain way to help prevent being stereotyped, is just adding fuel to an ever-consuming fire. My personal opinion is that this mother's "well-intended" advice may cause her son more harm than good. Both of my daughters best friends are white and my daughters both attend predominately white schools (due to where we live). I have raised my daughters to be open-minded and have ensured them that whenever they encounter racist remarks or actions (in which they both have due to their different races of friends), that it is the racist people who have the problem. My daughters understand that they can act a certain way, dress a certain way, or talk a certain way, and they could still encounter racist actions from others due to some people being ignorant and stupid. My point is just because racism exist, does not mean that we as African-American parents have to bombard our children with this reality. I feel that it will only cause our children to grow self-conscious of themselves or possibly worse cause them to become racist themselves.
I was an early reader, went to good schools, and was encouraged to be an excellent student, lifelong learner, world traveler, and of course, a good girl. I even had three white best friends over the years, like your girls, Nicole2976, so rest assured, I'm no separatist.
When I was 9, a (Caucasian) classmate accused me of stealing her thesaurus. Our (Caucasian) teacher demanded that I write a letter to my mother explaining that I was a thief. Instead, I wrote a letter detailing my wrongful accusation. My entire class heard her accusation of me and support of my accuser. No one asked me if I had the book, but my desk was emptied onto the floor for me to clean up. When the classmate found her thesaurus shortly afterward, no one apologized. When I was 13, two friends and I were followed around a small, well-lit hospital gift shop where we had gone after getting bored visiting their grandmother. When we wandered to different displays in the store, this woman appeared as though she were trying to figure out how to divide herself. At 32, having never committed a criminal act, whenever I shop, I keep my hands in clear view at all times.
At 14, two friends and I were regularly confused w/each other by a white classmate, despite our significant physical differences (complexion, height, weight, and NAMES). At 16, my honors history teacher became upset when a friend explained to another (Caucasian) classmate why Colin Powell is not African-American.
My (Caucasian) political science professor was reduced to tears after several (Black) students calmly rebutted her points. When asked why she was so upset, she indicated that she felt "attacked".
A (White) professor once began a lecture, "When I used to teach at a real university..." I don't know what followed because my friends and I quietly left the room to inform the dean. All of the previous colleges our professor taught at had similarities w/our alma mater, except they were "mainstream".
During a road trip to visit my mother in Florida, a friend and I stopped to eat at a well-known restaurant and were completely ignored. We were the only two people of color there who were not kitchen or custodial staff.
I've experienced many incidents such as these, some merely frustrating, some threatening, and some in between. Many of my Black male friends and relatives have worse stories. Polite, well-spoken, conservatively dressed, college-educated men who are soldiers, stockbrokers, computer analysts, lawyers, nurses, teachers, etc. One friend was searched for a TAIL by several White men at his military college.
My point is that while the writer may seem overly concerned, I believe her concern is valid. Perhaps you feel freer because you have daughters. As long as there are people who deduce character upon sight and remain ignorant to the nuances of race and culture, there is cause for concern. Not necessarily paranoid fear, but thoughtful caution. As a daughter, I advise you to encourage your daughters to act smartly and safely, rather than simply espousing that racism is the other person's problem. Racism is everyone's problem. Ignorance isn't bliss. Ignorance can be deadly.
If you take race out of the equation this case is still particularly scary. I think the media is correct to continue its focus on this case not because of race but because the police have yet to arrest the individual holding the gun. Whether Zimmerman has an adequate self-defense theory is NOT up to the police to determine – this is for a judge and jury to determine. If his defense has merit, he will be found not guilty. However the appalling aspect of this case is that the police have taken it upon themselves to act as cop, lawyer, judge and jury. Race aside, I think it's correct for the media to continue to put pressure on the police to take a closer look at this case as there is a process in place for evidence to be presented and a proper decision to be handed down. This process has been completely bypassed in this tragic incident.
@StaceyMarie – #applause# excellent post!
Thanks StaceyMarie, that was a really excellent, thoughtful post.
Stacy, I, as a white guy have been discriminated against by minorities. And by the government for the minority agenda (reverse discrimination-aka affirmative action). We should all be color blind and treat people as human beings, not race groups deserving hatred or preference.
That happened to me and I'm Hispanic. Once I went to a restaurant downtown San Antonio and I waited 10 minutes sitting at the table waiting for a waitress so I left and ate at the Tower of the Americas instead.
My aunt worked as a waitress at a Jim's Restaurant and an Hispanic couple came in and she heard one of the waitresses say to another waitress to not attend on them because Hispanics didn't tip good enough so my aunt catered to them even it wasn't her table.
Thanks Stacey for your post. As a african american women I too have my testimonies from a young age onward. These events cause long-term stress on the human body that is seldom discussed. Other: It's always interesting to hear from the one white male [yes, I mean you CITIZEN] that wants to claim discrimination because he didn't get a job due to 'affirmative action'. Was it affirmative action? Race aside, maybe the person had more to offer...like maturity. It can be just that simple. For those that are used to having things handed to them these are hard times I am sure.
There will always be a difference of opinion, America will never come out of the old ages!! Racism will always be here and is never going away!! America will always wear a nazi flag under the whie shirt and black coat they wear!!
Yes, history will alwyas be and that does not change. To read the future as you do, however, is to ignore some of the finer attributes of man and woman. What you speak of is simply what we do as people...we look at the world, what is lond dead and not yet born as if it it simply an extension of today and nothing will change. I agree, we will always notice differences in others- that is how we are built. But I disagree that we will always treat each other as we have. Those things that make us alike are the places that allow us to draw lines between us. We are always experimenting...always trying to find a way to not be human and so we are trying multi-culturalism. We are trying, we are searching...we are feeling the pain when we faulter. It is not just whites who do this...it is the race who currently has the power to do it becasue all races are human and no one race is more or less human than another. The one things that remains is that you and I have the power to NOT be racist. That is all we can do. Based on what you write, you abhore racism as I do. So, let's stop pushing racist remarks and lets start making the change now- just you and me in our own lives in a way that does not divide becaseu we can do that...we can control that. we either do that or we bring to our feet the future to predict without fail.
I'M A HISPANIC P.R. GUY...I WANT ALL THE ILLEGALS DEPORTED--I WANT LEGAL IMMIGRATION SHUT DOWN....WHY ??BECAUSE WE HAVE MILLIONS OF AMERICANS UNEMPLOYED AND BECAUSE CORPORATIONS ARE OUTSOURCING THE JOBS TO CHINA..BUT TO MEXICANS I'M A RACISTS....I'M LOOKING OUT FOR AMERICAN UNEMPLOYED WORKERS...
I've always been told that "talk is cheap". Our actions will be the most powerful influence in our children's lives.. We "adults" owe it to our children to be ethical, authentic, and just. When they see us be about it, then they too can immulate our behavior. To-date I've heard a lot of rhetoric on line, but if people believe in something so deeply, get busy and change a life. I use to be worried about making a difference and was pretty critical of myself, but now that I'm a teacher nothing is more important than imparting truth in the midst of may lies. The truth hurts.
It is a tough balance. the kids out there who have helped create animosity towards the black race and the parents who have to tell their black kids to be careful. As a parent, I read stories like Trayvon's and listen to other testimonies of black people being discriminated against, I cant help but tell my son to be on his best behaviour at all times. Get the highest grades, smart appearance, please and thank yous etc. We cannot be silent. We have to equip our kids with the necessary "bullet proofs" that will help them traverse the land as black kids. This is beyond racism...it is xenophobia.