2005-09-15

Getting Over Slavery?

Today at work, a co-worker was telling me that she doesn't understand why black people don't get over slavery. I was wondering what the hell she meant by that. She wanted me to be aware that slavery occured in Africa by Africans. As if I didn't learn about slavery at all. I asked her did that make slavery right here? Did that erradicate all wrongdoing in America because other black people did it? We could use that rationale with child prostitution in Asia, just because it is overlooked there, doesn't mean it is ok to do in America!!!!

I then asked her if she thinks that is what black people are truly mad about? She thought it was. I had to explain to my white co-worker that slavery didn't end racism, and legalized racism didn't end until the 1960s (segregation, Jim Crow). I did this by explaining when my father went to college he couldn't go to Texas A&M because they didn't allow colored folk, instead he went to Prairie View A&M. I asked her was segregation and Jim Crow Laws ok? She said no. She did feel that she shouldn't be persecuted because she wasn't born in that time. I insisted I shouldn't be persecuted either, it shouldn't be assumed I am poor, uneducated, or treated differently because of perceptions white people have about blacks. Because many whites have these perceptions, they treat me differently, even though they might not outwardly hate blacks they perceive me as a "lesser person". Case and point I had a woman with a degree in PE (
kinsology) inform me of how the government works and how the states and federal government work together. I had to inform her I was probably well more aware of this than she was, my degree is in Public Administration. Nothing but government, stats, and accounting. Trust me I know how to budget a city, a state, and a federal agency. I didn't need her help on the procedures of state and federal government. But obvoiusly being black, I wouldn't understand such complex things, like state rights. I need the PE girl to explain it to me.

I wonder if white people honestly think racism died because slavery and Jim Crow did. I asked my white reference, my husband, and he said no, but since it is obvious, a lot of white people think black people read too much into stuff. I personally think it has to do with the fact that black people always have to second guess actions by whites. Since it isn't acceptable to be outwardly racist anymore, even though the feelings are there consciencely or sub-consciencely, it doesn't mean they don't exist and don't manifest themselves in different ways. Instead of lynching people, you don't promote qualified blacks into better paying jobs, instead you choose your white buddy, who might not have the experience, but looks like you. You justify anger towards blacks by saying we get jobs "handed to us" due to affirmative action, even though the biggest minority that "benefits" is white women (yes women, white, black, brown yellow, are minorities per the EEOC).

Then she had the audacity to compare her not being able to get married to her partner to being black in america. Again I had to remind her of one thing. My color can't be hidden, and not that she should hide her sexual orientation, but she has a choice to let people know or not. I asked her when was the last time an apartment or home she was looking at became unavailable when the person renting or selling saw her in person, but on the phone a few hours before it was available. Or how security will follow me around in a store I supposedly don't belong in. Or how whenever I get a traffic ticket, it takes three police cars to issue it, and it takes then ten minutes to run warrants based upon my driver's license and vehicle, and since that isn't good enough I need to give them a detailed history of the vehicle, such as where it is bought and how much I paid for it. Mind you I have never been to jail, nor do I have a criminal record, but I am treated like a criminal all the time, be it by polcie, a store salesperson, or just an old lady walking in the mall clutching her purse.

I think most people white, black, brown, yellow, are racist, but it doesn't make it right, I just wish people would acknowledge their feelings so I know whether to avoid you like the plague, because I am honestly tired defending someone's right to be pissed off, again be pissed off, not use color or lack there of as an excuse for their shortcomings.