Civil Rights

My World: Race in America

By Ronald K. Mc KinleyRacism-Cartoon

I recently had a conversation, discussion, with someone I held in some regard. What we discussed is not important. We did not agree. This someone said to me “In your world,” when we did not concur. I could not respond. It was strange. We were not alone; others were listening, and watching our exchange. I could have debated the point more, but chose not to. It did not feel right. Why? This person is white I am not. The air left the room.

My world is filled with moments like this; my schooling continues after six decades in my world.

I am part of, not separated from this. Have I helped maintain this separate reality? It always felt out worldly to me. Was this based on my race? As a person of color, this is always in the background.

The machinations of racism are subtle. Some people practice and are not aware. It is a manmade disease; we all know the symptoms. No one wants to talk about it really, the land of the free and the home of the brave. Only one percent, during slavery, owned slaves, does this sound familiar.

When I got out of high school, 1968, it was still illegal to marry outside your race, in most of America.

Now in twenty-first century America, we have a racist, seeking the GOP nomination for president. Only America could have produced a Donald Trump. The new nigger is the Muslim; oops, the new thug.

Merriam-Webster’s 1933 definition of racism “a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and those racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.” This manifests itself covertly and overtly.
America has morphed into this, I hate anything not American, thing, or has it? Some people born here are still not considered citizens.

Native-Americans, I used this title to make a point. Indian is worst. Who is America named after? The only good Indian is a dead Indian; lest we forget. Now everyone can sell Dream Catchers.

I grew up in American apartheid, Jim Crow Louisiana. I can still see the white’s only water fountain, in my mind’s eye. When I was younger, I did not see movies until the white theaters stop showing them. My mother did not allow me to go to segregated theaters. At the time I did not understand. I was angered by this. I just wanted to see a movie. It was one of the few times I remember my mother really getting angry with me. “You pay your money and sit where you want or you stay home.” I stayed home.

I love America, America does not love me. In all relationships I’ve been in this usually means I’m out the door. But America and I seem to have this love, hate thing going on. I don’t think I’m alone.

In the end all lives do matter. But of course first you have to give me back my humanity. Include not exclude me.