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

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6 responses to “Apathy, Racism and Protest Can’t Co-exist: Part II

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  1. Liz, we can colour coat it and pretend otherwise but the truth is, it alive and putting up a hell of a fight to stay that way.. I do also agreed that it know know colour racism coming from other colour or race is something i expect..sad to say.. but what i hate most is the racism that is done on black by black that really gets at me.

  2. Liz, very well written. You got me all emotional. I am so sorry you had to go thru all that in life.

    I do want to say this on the Trayvon case….While Zimmerman may be mixed of some descent, I’d like to know who raised him. That is key. You can be mixed but raised in a white household and be instilled with ‘white’ beliefs.

    But aside from that, overall, I don’t see this as a race issue and I hope that we don’t make it one. And by that I mean a ‘larger’ race issue. I realize he is a racist pig and for that, hopefully it will be pursued as a hate crime. I mean though that we all need not make it one. I am white. I couldn’t be more outraged or on Trayvon’s family’s side than I am now. I just want to say we don’t all feel like Zimmerman. So many whites and other race people out there are in their corner. Justice need not be white or black. So while Zimmerman I feel is a racist, we need not fight with one another on this. We can all demand justice for Trayvon AND be united regardless of race while doing it.

    • It was never about race until it was taken there. It was always about a young man wearing a hoodie, carrying his cell phone, a can of tea and a small bag of skittles. That was the reason for the photo of a diverse group of young men from Howard University School of Law, taken to show that people of all races wear the same clothing and carry the same things. Trayvon’s death was pointless as is every other innocent.

      Don’t believe for one minute that I believe everyone of any race is bad. I refuse to judge anyone by the actions of others. These are the things that I have lived through, and learned from. As much as I would have loved to shield my children from such things I can’t be every place at once. My mother could not shield me from the harsh ugliness that exists in this world but she could only teach me to forgive and move on.

      Trayvon and those before him and those after him will have their justice WEb will see to it.

  3. This particular issue has upset me so much I can’t even comment………. I have read some of th comments on other people pages and I am seeing red……….

    kacellia Patrick
    • No doubt that it does…the discussion on my page about the photo was enough for me. Pissed off to the point I was crying. I don’t like crying. THIS could have been and still has the potential to be MY son, my daughters. Outrage isn’t even a strong enough word, the way I feel about it, no words are sufficient enough to even describe.

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