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Sunday, July 17, 2016

RACISM LIVES

RACISM LIVES
This post from July 2012 seems appropriate given recent news.  I believe all lives matter, but I understand the current emphasis on Black Lives matter.  I do not believe police actions toward blacks are necessarily race related, but I am white...I'm pretty sure if  I was not I would better understand the frustration that has fomented the "Black Lives Matter" movement.


We have made many strides towards ending racism in this country during my lifetime.  We now have a black president, many black CEOs, teachers, doctors, and lawyers.  I guess racism is a thing of the past.  There are no more segregated restrooms or restaurants and no forced seating on the back of the bus…and yet…

Chris Rock, my favorite comedian since we lost George Carlin, claims there isn’t a single white person that would change places with him, and, he states emphatically, “I’M RICH!”

Is there still racism in this country?

Several years ago a doctor in our town was arrested for getting belligerent with a police officer.  It turns out he was pulled over in his new BMW three times in one month.  His only offence was DWB (driving while black) he took offence at this offence.

I had a friend at work, Cliff, who was from Panama.  He was a large gentle giant of a man with a quick wit and a big heart. He was very black.  We both lived in Jersey and passed through the same train terminal in Newark every day.  I was talking to him one very hot summer day and mentioned that I would probably stop at the Newark station liquor store to get a cold beer for the train ride home.

Cliff said that he would like a beer as well, but the Newark cops do not allow him to carry an open can of beer through the station.

“What?  I do it all the time, the store puts the container in a plain brown bag and the cops never say anything.”

“You mean they never say anything to YOU.”

“Huh?”

Cliff pulled his glasses down over his nose and peered at me with a stare that said, “You’re kidding right?”

I looked back into his large black stare and it finally hit me… “Oh…duh…DAMN!”

I also worked closely and became good friends with anAfrican-American African-Belizian a black man from Belize. Frank was my go to guy when I didn’t understand something related to our brokerage business.  He knew everything and could explain it so even I could understand it.  We worked a similar schedule and often went to lunch together.

One day in the cafeteria, Frank passed by the dish of the day, fried chicken, and that day’s desert special, fresh watermelon.

“Damn that looks good; I wish I could order it.”

“So what is the problem?  Go ahead and buy it if you want.”

“I guess; but people would make jokes.”

Imagine, an intelligent man not wanting to order the food he likes because he did not want to appear stereotyped!  That is when it became clear to me just how deep and insidious racism still is in the good old USA.

Chris Rock is right, I would like to be rich and famous, but I’m not ready to change places with him.  As only Chris Rock could say it: 

“I think I’ll just see where this white thing takes me.”

20 comments:

  1. Joeh, one hell of a post. Dead on, unfortunately. Like you, I'm an old white guy, and like you, I think the amount I don't know and don't experience could fill volumes.

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  2. i truly thought we had made strides in this country, but maybe it was just all white-washed...and, no, there's no pun intended in that. as a 911 operator, i have heard the bias and racist views of callers reporting 'suspicious behavior' simply because of race . i don't know how we humans will ever get better at living right.

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  3. I guess I have lead the most sheltered life. I have only seen racism on TV. Raised in primarily German heritage towns, I simply never encountered it. Later, though moving from place to place and state to state, I didn't witness any of the contention that is in the media. I've had friends and neighbors of different races and creeds, never a problem because of that.

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  4. I find it hard to believe things are still so bad a man and his friend can't both carry a beer through the station. Turning down fried chicken and watermelon is also a sad situation.
    And when the heck did Driving While Black become an offence? He clearly doesn't have the choice to Drive While White.

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  5. I wonder if God had any insight to future problems when he created different coloured skin. I'm afraid it's the same in the UK, yet I look around and see nothing but black skin folks mingling with white skin folks, friendly. I look at the black nurses in hospital and think how marvellous they are. I look at new black neighbours and feel honoured that they chose my road to live in. But I know racism lurks nearby and I feel pain because of it.

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  6. One issue at a time....how do we address the issue of police stopping blacks for trivial things just to harass them? Are any records kept on which cops stop an unusually high number of blacks, and for what offense? If so, wouldn't they be easy to identify them and pull them off the line for education/counseling? And if records are NOT kept for such things, shouldn't they be? In this day and age of computerized records, shouldn't it be fairly easy to set up?

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  7. We all like to think that we "get it" but unless we've lived it, we can't. The best we can do is want to learn, try to understand and have true empathy. Then I think we'll begin to scratch the surface.

    I do fully believe that police actions (such as those in the news recently) are race related. If it hasn't crossed white minds to be worried that this could now happen to us or our white significant others, brothers, sons or grandsons because of a busted tail light, how could it not be?

    Sadly, I think we all have a long way to go until our eyes are fully open.

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  8. Sad. This puts a human face on what I'd hoped was just over-sensitivity since the people I associate with believe racist attitudes and remarks are an embarrassing sign of low class breeding.
    You were a good friend to Frank.

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  9. Racism is a huge fault line under out society. Sometimes it is quiet and we almost forget it is there...but it is there. Sometimes it is not so quiet at all.
    But it is always ugly.

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  10. And it will always be there. It will be there in every race. Not just the white race. What I don't like about the black lives matter movement is when they chant...what do we want? Dead cops. That's what I don't like.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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  11. Totally agree. I worked with a fellow who was arrested because he was black, well dressed and at the wrong place. He was actually a service man on 24 hour leave and had dressed up for his big night on the town so obviously he was a pimp and needed arrested. I can't possibly comprehend what it must be like to be assumed guilty by appearance only.

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  12. Yup, I see blacks get pulled over in our suburb all the time. Cops have lots of excuses....tail light out, dark Windows, expired tags.im not saying they don't pull over whites for these things, but it seems they are looking for problems to me.

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  13. Sad, but true!! Does anyone cross the street when a group of young white accounts is coming towards them? To read about one of the best people I ever met, click on this: http://fishducky.blogspot.com/2015/11/hey-man-we-can-work-this-all-out.html

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  14. Very sad. I can only imagine what black people go through. I'm not Mexican but I've been prejudiced against a few times by those who believed I was.

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  15. It all breaks my heart. There's not much more i can say.

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  16. I remember being shocked when I first moved to South Carolina and a female co-worker said she just couldn't imagine having a black doctor, especially a black gynecologist.

    This was about 10 years ago...and to this day I wish I had told her that if she ever needs a blood transfusion she should be aware that the blood donor centers do not check if blood is "black."

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  17. I think people are profiled by their actions rather than the color of their skin. But thats just my opinion. I love all colors of people. So far, racism is not a problem in my town. We all get along. Its some of the white rednecks that scare the crap out of me sometimes. ha. great post.
    Lisa

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  18. Racism does still exist sadly. I remember when we lived in Santa Fe New Mexico, the "locals" hated Caucasians and Caucasians from California. We were on their definite hate list. I remember going to a deli one time to order something and waited for the person to come back to take my order. In the meantime, another person came up to the counter. He was a local. Usually in cases like this when the worker comes back they will say "who is first" and then the appropriate person will of course answer. He didn't even bother. He looked directly at that guy and took his order. I remember when we finally moved to Billings, Montana, I went into a bookstore to look for a book. I couldn't find what I was looking for. We were walking out and as we were, the clerk said "can I help you find something?" I almost fainted and cried because for 2 years living in New Mexico none of them would ask me that. I got used to not asking because I would be treated with disdain or ignored. Racism exists and it really doesn't matter what color your skin is.

    betty

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