Archive for March 2012

Apathy, Racism and Protest Can’t Co-exist: Part II   6 comments

Racism knows no color but its own. 

Since my discussion with the person on my friends list fueled a lot more than just his lack of fight but also about race, let me share my thoughts on racism, racial profiling and being a black woman in America. 

First let me start by saying, I am not a racist because I love everyone whether they love me back or not is their business.  I don’t hate anyone based on the color of their skin.  If I hate anything it may be an action committed by someone but I do not see color because that is not how I was raised.  My family is the color of the rainbow.  I am the color of the rainbow…I am African, Mississippi Choctaw, Irish (and am still discovering my heritage). 

Now that’s out the way, far be it from me to play any type of race card.  I don’t look for racism in everything that people do.  I take things at face value because they are what they are and it is what it is. 

Zimmerman, the man who shot and killed Trayvon Martin is a racist.  Do I care what color skin he is in?  Nope.  Did I automatically assume he was white?  Nope.  Do I care that he is mixed white and Hispanic?  Nope (I only know this because the guy mentioned last night that he was Hispanic and then another friend of mine said that he was mixed).  Why don’t I care, because racism knows no color and it can be any color that it chooses.  Contrary to popular belief, black people can be racist.  Did the Black Community play the race card in Trayvon’s senseless murder?  No, we did not, Zimmerman did.  How?  The moment he called him a “fucking coon” during his telephone call to the police dispatcher.  Or how about all the other times he called about a “suspicious” individual and they all happened to be black.  Coincidence you say?  I call that denial (and it isn’t a river in Egypt but is damn sure a deep ass subject).  Zimmerman not only threw race into the mix, he threw the entire deck of race cards at us, lock, stock and one barrel blazing into the chest of an unarmed teenage boy holding a can of tea and a bag of Skittles.  Atrocious doesn’t even begin to cover this.

Let me tell you how it feels to be Black in this country.  Since incidents like this happen far too often, I am not surprised that people still continue to deny that racial profiling happens and on a larger scale than they choose to believe.  I’m sure once I say what I’m about to say I’m going to have a bunch of head bobbing going on because they have experienced it at least once in their life. 

Every time I go into a Department Store, I am followed by the people that work there always under the guise of trying to “help.”  If you ask me once and I tell you I am just looking, don’t stand there while I look or follow me around the store or your section “pretending” to fold shirts that were already folded and for the love of Pete, don’t keep asking me if you can help me, if I wanted your help I will come find you and ask for it.  I know what you’re doing I used to do what you do only I sat behind a camera and did it the only difference?  I followed black, white, Latino and Asian alike.  Did it matter what you had on?  Nope.  Did it matter what color your skin was? Nope.  What mattered is how you were acting and what you were doing.  I caught whites, blacks, Asians and Latinos stealing.  Clothes, jewelry, perfume, CD’s, games, books, cameras, food, you name it, I caught them stealing it.  I even had one woman try to tell me that because she was black like me that she and I were the same.  Um, no sweetheart, I’m not a thief but thanks for fucking it up for the rest of us…again

I remember as a teen walking into Camelot Music Store (am I telling my age on this one???) and as I walked up to the entrance I saw three sales people standing at the counter.  As soon as I walked in I walked up to the wall of cassette tapes (shut it!!!) and they scattered.  One stayed behind the counter, the other came and stood next to me “pretending” to straighten out the cassettes and the other stood behind me “pretending” to put the vinyl records (shhh) into order.  I kind of laughed to myself and when I couldn’t find what I was looking for turned to the one that was next to me and said “while you’re standing there watching me, can you look for this Ralph Tresvant tape with a bunch of remixes of “Do What I Gotta Do” because I can’t find it.”  Needless to say he was sort of stunned but did as I asked him.  Hell, if you’re going to watch me like that, I’m going to put you to work. 

Another time I went into a store with a friend of mine, who happened to be white, and when I walked up to the counter, the woman snarled at me “can I help you” and I told her that I was just looking and her response was “all you people ever do is come in here to look and end up stealing stuff.”  Um, really?!?  Needless to say both of us left the establishment without purchasing a single thing and I don’t know about her, but I never went back.  This same thing happened to me as a child. 

Oh an let’s not forget the time as a child of about 11 years old being spit on and called a “nigga” by three teenage boys who damn near ran me over trying to do it while I walked to school one day.  Oh and the time my now 18 year old was a year old and ran up to this woman and laid her tiny hand on the big, shiny gold clasp on her purse and when the woman turned around she says to me “teaching them young aren’t we?” 

Or how about people clutching their purses closer to them in the elevator, crossing the street as I approach or just pretending you aren’t there?  Ever had any of these things happen to you?  No?  You’re lucky. 

If nothing else it is psychologically draining.  Does this happen to me every day?  Of course it doesn’t, but it does happen, even today.

I mentioned that I had two strikes against me because I’m black and because I’m a woman.  It isn’t my imagination.  It is real.  I’ve told you only some of the things I have experienced because of the color of my skin, but what about being a woman? 

Well, let’s see, I got pregnant with my 23 year old daughter while I was still in high school.  I worked at Pizza Hut as a waitress and I was told that the manager’s boyfriend didn’t like me because “I was one more nigga bitch who is pregnant and going to live off the state to raise that monkey she is carrying.”  She had to remind him that if that were the case, I wouldn’t be working.  Needless to say, I’ve never been on public assistance, ever.  Whether she corrected him on his “colorful” use of the English language is a mystery.

And here’s something that every woman, regardless of color, can appreciate, the recent turning back of the clock to a time where abortions were illegal and we had to use coat hangers.  If that doesn’t suck ass in being a woman (which, by the way I wouldn’t change for the world), then I don’t know what does.  Fellas, leave our uteruses alone please and thank you. 

Having said all of this, racism still exists and until we stand up and shout out that we aren’t going to take it anymore, regardless of the color of skin we are in, it will continue. 

This is why apathy has no place when things like that need to be protested still exist.  Silence surely kills the message.

Double E

Apathy, Racism and Protest Can’t Co-exist: Part I   2 comments

As so many of you are aware, an innocent 17 year old boy was shot dead in Sanford, FL for looking “suspicious.”  He was wearing a hoodie, carrying a can of Arizona Iced Tea and a bag of Skittles.  His only “crime” was that he was black and the person that shot him felt he was in the “wrong” neighborhood.  This crime was subsequently covered up by the Sheriff’s Department and the killer of this young man was free to walk the streets that very night. 

As a show of solidarity and support, people of all colors have come together to protest this senseless crime and cover-up.  By getting the story out there, posting pictures of themselves in hoodies (because you have to admit people, this is not just the attire of black males, whites, Latinos and other races wear them too), blogging about it and making sure that it isn’t just kept hush-hush on radio and television and that this story, that affects all of us, doesn’t get buried and forgotten.

This young man’s name is Trayvon Martin.  His family misses him.  His friends miss him. 

Trayvon is our son, our brothers, our nephews, and our grandsons. 

I posted the picture below on my Facebook page last night and sparked a conversation with someone on my friends list that got beyond heated.  It brought me to tears and Double E doesn’t like to cry. 

 

His thoughts were that by over saturating newsfeeds, television, blogs, etc. with images of this young man, his story, protests and yes, pictures like the one above, would eventually make people immune to the issue. 

Is this what you think? 

If Dr. Martin Luther King, Malcom X, Harriet Elizabeth Beecher Stowe, Sojouner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglas, W. E. B. Dubois and the countless others had given up talking about ending slavery and equality do you think I would be able to sit here and write this blog, go to the same malls, stores, beaches, and use the same public restrooms as everyone else? 

If Susan B. Anthony and the millions of other women that participated in the Suffrage Movement had just “mentioned” their wants and needs “in passing” would I and other women even have the right to vote?  Do you think that the young lady “Roe” would have given me the right to choose what I do with my body if she had merely “mentioned, in passing” that it was her body and no one elses to tell what to do with it or would I and my daughters and your daughters have had to continue to go into back alleys and get rid of children that we could not take care of?

Apathy, silence and mentioning Trayvon Martin in passing did not bring the United States Justice Department headed by Eric Holder, to Sanford, FL.  Loud, continuous protests did.  Being apathetic and letting things die down now only shows that when we stand up for something that we are only “fly by the moment” group of people.  We are not.  Now is not the time to grow silent in this, now is the time to grow louder in our demands and not let the momentum stop until justice has been fully served. 

Trayvon’s memory will not go away into the night slowly nor will the protests die until justice is served.  If you don’t like it, go hide under your rock, plug your ears and cover your eyes while the REST of us stand up and shout for him and everyone else like him that has died at the hands of a racist piece of garbage because it affects not just blacks but every single one of us REGARDLESS of what color your skin.

Double E