Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Interracial Families Dealing with Racism

I was talking with a person last week about the long weekend and they made a comment about MLK Day beign ridiculous and just wanting to celebrate something.  They said something along the lines of that it is really no need for it because racism is practically gone.

Um, no it isn’t.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a wonderful man with the most amazing heart I have ever read about.  He had class, compassion, and he made a country (even a world) listen.  We should celebrate that day for him and for awareness of racism.  While it isn’t to the same degree as it was in the 60’s it is still here.

Example:

I took the kids (Cole, Charley, and Little Lady) to Target.  When we go to Target we stop at the concession stand and the kids get an ICEE and a giant cookie right when we walk in the door.  It keeps them happy until we go to the toy section at the end of the trip. 

So we get our food and go to sit down at the tables in the area.  Only two tables are free.  One that can seat 4 or one that can seat 2.  Obviously we chose the table with 4 seats.  There was a woman sitting at the table next to us.  She was with a friend who was getting a refill on her soda.  When we sat down she huffed and got up.  She picked up her things and moved to the table that sat 2. 

I thought no big deal, she just didn’t want to be around three loud kids woofing down a ton of sugar.  Guess what, I really wouldn’t either.

Her friend came back to the table and asked why the woman had moved.  Her response, “I don’t sit next to nigger lovers.”  {Sorry for the harsh words, but I really feel that her disgusting choice is very relevant}

I didn’t know who she hated more at that moment, my (foster) daughter for being racially mixed and obviously part black, or me because she thought I was the biological mom and had a relationship with a black man.  Either way I felt sick to my stomach.

I looked around the table and my beautiful children were smiling and laughing.  In their own little world they were completely unaware of the hate and wretchedness around them.  I will keep them there as long as I can.

My children are not blind.  They know Little Lady has different skin and hair than they do.  Charley picks ethnic Barbies and dolls because she says they are pretty like her baby sister.  That is love.

So instead of doing what the 20 year old me would have done. {By the way if you want to know what 20 year Kim would do: I would have grabbed my kids’ ICEEs and poured them over her head and then I would have more than likely punched her.} Instead I laughed and ate with my children ignoring her.  As we got up to go through the store I went to the counter and asked her how much the woman’s snack had cost.  I gave the cashier that amount and asked her to give it to the lady and let her know that we bought her snack for her and God bless her.

Why?  Because…

Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”  --Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

We still have a long way to go.

34 comments:

  1. Bravo! Very good. I would have not have done that last bit at all being in the moment as you did. you have a lot more poise. I would have thought about it afterwards likely.

    Racism is there. Just more undercover. When you don't talk about things and proclaim it's not there. There is no chance to grow, challenge or learn differently. Just strengthen what you already believe.

    Thanks for putting it out there Kim.

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  2. Wow. I'm speechless. We are an interracial family and while I haven't encountered such overt racism, I can only hope and pray that if we do, I handle it with such grace. Something tells me I wouldn't have done what you did...how inspiring.

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  3. Excellent response to her hate. You dealt with that with poise and class.

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  4. I have odd thoughts on the whole thing, I love MLK day and think it is a wonderful thing to celebrate. I think it's rather silly that every town in the South feels a need to name a street after him, mainly because they want it to be an "important" street, so they go and rename 1st street or some other numbered street and I have a hard enough time finding my way around town without handicaps like that.

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  5. Oh, and I'd really want to do 20 year old you response as well.

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  6. You never cease to amaze me with the kindness that you show others, even when others would lash out at them. You have such a beautiful and kind heart. xo

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  7. HOLY COW!!! I can't even believe that someone would say that OUT LOUD and loud enough so you could hear it. (obviously, you were supposed to hear it) That's ridiculous. The way you handled it was wonderful. My inside, snarky self would have left a note: "From the n-er lover. God Bless!" But I bet you did it the right way :)

    Oh, and getting your kids all sugared up and THEN going to the toy section? Are you crazy??? I loath the toy section. A sugared up kid would only make it 10x worse for me! LOL

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  8. Amazing post. You are right. It is not gone. Not as bad, but not GONE. I would have fumed and probably said something to her. Never in a million years would it have crossed my mind to pay for her drink. What an amazing example you are. I will remember THIS post forever.
    Kristen

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  9. Oh wow, I got goosebumps reading this. You lady are one with class and gracious and big kudos to you. It's still a mean world out there and yes racism still exist to this very day. Thank you for sharing this.

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  10. You are an amazing person. I don't think I'd have the class you portrayed. I'm also stunned at her ignorance.

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  11. This has actually rendered me speechless on so many levels; people who have the audacity to suggest that racism is a thing of the past are clearly out of touch with reality. And secondly, I am in awe of your self-control, because 32-year-old me would have had a hard time not reacting like 20-year-old you. Seriously, you are not only an awesome mama but a pretty awesome person in general.

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  12. Amazing; your response, NOT her behavior! I'm sorry you and your children had to experience that kind of hatred, and commend you for taking steps to teach others what loving actions look like!

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  13. WOW. I know racism is not gone because living in Memphis has proven just that. Unfortunately. MLK was amazing and deserves to be honored and celebrated. I am inspired at the way you handled the Target situation. I feel very confident that I would not have handled it so maturely. But after hearing your story, maybe I'll do better next time.

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  14. You are so right. Racism might be better but it is in no way gone. No matter where I have lived there has been prejudice, but especially in the place I live now. We HAVE to be intentional about how we raise our kids and set a good example for them. Good for you.

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  15. Wow, I have not heard a comment like that in years. But you are right, racism is alive and well. Unfortunately. It's just less obvious, most of the time. I would have been fuming and probably would not have thought as clearly or as quickly as you were able to. I'm impressed! Isn't it wonderful the effect our children have on our own growth?! Good for you! It is exactly those kinds of choices that will make the world a better place for all our children.

    And thank you for sharing your experience with us ;)

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  16. This just made me sick. Literally. My blonde haired blue eyed niece is married to a brand new US Citizen who immigrated from Africa and is most definitely a black man. Thinking about people treating them this way (and I know they do from stories that have been shared) makes me shocked, sick and angry. I absolutely love your end reaction though. This made me chuckle and little and I said to myself "HA! Just what she deserved!" Kindness in the shadow of hate.

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  17. Racism will never be gone. We can't legislate people into thinking the right thing.

    As far as MLK day, I feel a little differently, I do think he was an important icon, but maybe gets a little more credit than he deserves. I'd rather have a "civil rights" day than a MLK day. The "little guys" were the real heroes of the civil rights movement- both black people who stood and fought and died and the white politicians who did vote to give black people the right to vote and be equal!

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  18. This whole story makes my blood boil & sick to my stomach all at the same time. I can hardly believe what I read. Supporting you my friend!

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  19. OHGOSH!!!! I can't believe she said the "n" word...I hate that word!!! My kids have never heard that word and they are 8 & 9...Although, some family members say that word (AND I HATE IT!!) I mention the fact that they need to get over their racism because their granddaughter, grandson, niece, nephew, whatever is going to probably most likely be bi-racial...I recently had a conversation with my dad and told him I resent the fact he raised me prejudice...He denied it...Well, I WAS and lost out on opportunities to in my life because of it...After I got saved by JESUS all that crap went away!! I would actually love the LORD to give me the privilege to adopt a bi-racial child...Racists don't know who they would be messing with...HA!

    I too have experienced issues with my little Lovely, but never as hardcore and disgusting as that...Thank you for sharing Kim, this helps me how to respond, if the opportunity arises to do something like that...Cause, you know this New Yorker living in Vegas would not be so nice in the flesh!!

    Oh praise JESUS for transformation, wisdom and especially LOVE!!

    You rock my friend!!!!!!!!!!!

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  20. You are a far better person then I. While I don't think I would have dumped the icee on her, I do think I may have made some sort of comment to her. Good for you!

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  21. You are amazing! I would have flipped!

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  22. I just found you through Shell's and let me tell you, I am amazed at your kindness. If that were me, Im sad to say I wouldn't have had as much poise as you did. What a wonderful lesson.

    Im definitely a new reader!! xo

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  23. Good for you...I would have gone off on her. I know, not the right reaction, but I still would have. How dare her!

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  24. I felt sick reading this. We're mixed race (Indian and white) and I don't think I would've been able to keep quiet. What gives her the right to be so hateful? You're doing a beautiful thing by being colorblind as well as compassionate.

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  25. I have such a mix of emotions reading this as I am blown away that people still say stuff like that. It is just crazy to a person who does see a person according to their skin color. May God's blessing fall upon you for loving the lady and giving her a gift that will most def. have her asking why? May the love of Christ find a place in her heart as a result of your gift.

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  26. Racism makes me crazy, it really does. Because I don't see skin color, I see people and hearing things like this just makes me so sad, that it's still around. I have black family, not blood related, but we act like we are. Unfortunately, I hear tidbits come out of their mouth about racism sometimes. There is just no room in the world for it and no reason for it. You handled it very well, I commend you for that.

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  27. Oh Kim...if I didn't already have an unlimited amount of respect for you....my heart is overflowing with it and love now.

    That word...that awful, ugly, unecessary word...how can people still say it when looking at a baby as beautiful as your daughter??? Or about anyone for that matter?? I am sick to my stomach and my heart aches..because I know what that litttle girl means to you and how love needs to banish hate at every trun because of it.

    Thank u for sowing that kind of love with her....thank u for standing up to hate.

    Love u.

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  28. You are an incredible woman- with as much class and compassion as MLK. And your voice reaches a lot of people here :)

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  29. Visiting from 3 Boybarians blog...I am an African American woman and even today, Yes, unfortunately racism still looms. Sometimes it's more subtle than what you experienced but I am here to confirm, racism is alive and very much present. However, I don't let the behavior of a small group of ignorant people rule my life. I will not.

    Your response to the nasty woman touched my heart. You may not win over that woman but you certainly gave her something to think about. And if the woman thinks about making that kind of comment again, she WILL remember you.

    I don't know how old your daughter is but I do urge you to let your daughter and your other children know about this type of behavior as soon as you think they are able to digest it. Unfortunately, some folks will make a comments that will hurt her and her siblings as well. It's not an easy conversation to bring up but it's better to be informed than to be surprised by the kind of behavior you witnessed.

    Blessings to you and your family.

    ~ Jules

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  30. This makes my stomach hurt. I recently moved to NYC from Tallahassee, FL. Tallahassee was oozing with racism. Such a shame. Especially because it's the home of a historically black college. I'm so sorry you had to deal with this. Ridiculous.

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  31. Wow!! What a deep and heartfelt post. You are such a strong woman and it seems you have shown our children exactly how to handle ignorance. I too have dealt with this type of instance but not in the same way. My son has Autism and nasty comments and glares seem to be a constant slap in the face but instead of anger I give awareness.

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