Why “Post Racial America” Makes Me So Sad.

Today I woke up with dread in my heart.

Yesterday I had a few panic attacks and I found myself weepy and I couldn’t figure out why.  And then it hit me…

I am suffering from PTSD from living in “Post Racial America.”

You know, Post Racial America, that place where court clerks send emails about our president not being able to hold a job for four years because Black men can not hold jobs.  And has the audacity to send it on her OFFICIAL email.  Because that is apparently the official stance of the entire judicial department in that part of the country.  Because hey, that type of stuff is sooo post- racial.

Post Racial America, a place where a 12 year old Black boy can be killed for holding a toy gun by a white police officer who should have never had a gun or a job on a police force.  A white police officer who had been fired from other police jobs and had received very low grades on his ability to do the job – YET STILL HAD A JOB (while qualified Black people struggle to find work). Where this 12 year old, gets called a 20 year old as the officers stand indifferently and callously over his dying body and let him bleed to death on the hard frozen ground, while his 14 year old sister, battered, handcuffed and freezing, is sitting in the back seat of a police car, inches away from him, watching him die.  And the city’s lawyers can say that it was the Black boy’s (and his family’s) own fault that he is dead.  Yes, that Post Racial America.

Post Racial America, a place where a song like “If you’re happy and you know it” is co opted into a racist ditty and gleefully and exuberantly sung by the future leaders of America.  Our future businessmen.  Our future doctors and lawyers.  Our future politicians.  Our future decision makers.  The ones who hold the jobs in their hands.  The policy makers who claim that “lazy niggers won’t work or hold jobs.  AND they complain and whine too much”  Hmmmm….

These weren’t some boys in the backwoods drinking homemade moonshine with their coon hounds sniffing about for a piece of boiled possum.  These were fine young educated men (and women) singing.  And did I mention singing exuberantly and gleefully about hanging Black people from a tree before they would ever allow them to sign with their fraternity.

Let me just point out again how GLEEFULLY AND EXUBERANTLY that song was being sung.  There was a lot of gusto in those lyrics.  It was a proud moment for these boys (and some girls).  They were PROUD to sing that song at that particular moment in time.

Welcome to “Post Racial USA.”

I’m not surprised.  I have known this was what America was about my entire life.  So, why am I sad today?

This is a place where racism only exists because I talk about it, right?  Because I won’t let it go. right?.  Because I bring it up, right?.

All this is happening a week after the DOJ released a report that Ferguson, Missouri is so full of racism that their entire police department may have to be dismantled.  As if we needed a DOJ investigation to figure that out.  But apparently in post racial America, we do.  Because you know “we have to wait for all the evidence to come in”

That’s why I am sad.  Because people say stupid shit like “let’s wait for the evidence to sort it out.”  Even with the evidence, there is push back.  Their Mayor is STILL saying there is no racial issues.  We’re just imagining all this stuff.  GTFOH. Will someone please create a pill that works for cognitive dissonance?

That is why I am sad.

I am sad because I grew up with people like this.  I don’t need investigations to tell me when people are being horribly racist or not.  I always had an insiders view on what some White people think about Black people.

Let me break down my life for you:  It’s a textbook study in racism.

My biological mother, a white women, who never had a single Black friend that I know of, suddenly goes against her racist father and has a relationship with a Black man.  Apparently a couple because the one who she says was my father, isn’t (but that’s a whole different story).  So instead of standing up to her father, at age 23, she gives the baby (me) away.  Not because she is poor (she isn’t ) or uneducated (she wasn’t) or unable to care for me herself. (She just didn’t want to). To a white family.  Whose mother had a grandfather who was a member of the Ku Klux Klan.  But pay no attention to that because love is color blind, right?  My birth mother just didn’t want the burden of having a mixed race baby then.  So she got rid of it.  And paid no heed to where that baby may be going.

I don’t just get adopted into an all white family , that already had four biological children, I get moved out into a totally white world – a white school, in an all white town, in an all white county.  Where I am later in life told that I “was accepted in spite” of my color.  “But we loved you, it didn’t matter what color you were.”  Except it did.  To me.  And it did to the people I was raised around.  Because if they didn’t know me, then I was a “nigger”, but because they knew me, I was just “Sara” – still Black but “accepted.”  As if the White people in my town also had to be accepted “in spite of” their color.

I still think they have no idea how offensive that statement is to me.  Because they meant it as a compliment.  And what Black person wouldn’t want to lap up a White person’s “acceptance” – a White person ‘s ability to “not see their color.”  Except that it’s a lie.  Everyone sees your color.

I grew up hearing constantly about how the “Blacks whine worse than the Indians.”  Inside my own home.  From people who adopted a Bi-Racial kid.  I was told I am “Brown, not Black” as if Blackness was something to be shunned or hidden from.   I grew up with a family that had a son that used the word nigger whenever he wanted to.  Where no one in the family TO THIS DAY has a friend of color.  NOT A SINGLE ONE.  In 2015 America, they have never found a single person of color that they can be friends with.  It’s astounding.

But back to my birth mother and her brother who has adopted children of color from Guatamala, but also have no friends of color that I know of.  I know they think that they are enlightened hipsters.  God save me from Liberal racism.  Yes, it does exist.  If you consider yourself Liberal and you don’t have any friends of color AND you shrink away from the “Shaniqua’s” and “Tyrone’s” of the world, I am talking about you.  You are almost worse than the outright racist, because you think you are not, but you really are.

This is my biological family.  So I was born into racism.  Given away because of racism and given into racism.

I never had a chance to be surrounded by anything but racism.  Especially being mixed race.  I have a unique vantage point.  Because I gain some level of acceptance due to the lightness of my skin (some).  As I mentioned, my white people in my hometown that “accepted” me were so magnanimous to be allow me to live in their town. So they would talk about Black people around me with no filter.  So I know EXACTLY how they feel about Black people.  “But not me.”  I should be so grateful.  My family adopted me, loved me and raised me, even if I am “brown”.  I should be so grateful.

But instead I wake up with a heavy weight on my chest.  Because I look out into the world and I see that nothing has changed.

I am sending my children out into this world and it terrifies me.  It terrifies me to a point where I cannot breathe.  I cannot move and I don’t know why I am even trying anymore.

I see that 150 years after a freedom that was provided with no real provision to adequately survive, we as Black people are still judged because of our lagging behind. We are ridiculed and talked about and held back and then denigrated for the very things that the system has been doing for years.

And then we get told that we are whining or complaining or that we are asking for too much.

We are race baiting.

We are playing the race card.

We are keeping the pot stirred.

I am being accused of these things, I might as well stir the pot, right?

But I don’t even need to.  I don’t need to keep the pot stirred.

You see, funny things happen and  videos surface like the one did yesterday.  And I didn’t see any Black people whipping those White kids up into a frenzy.  I didn’t see any “race cards” being thrown around that bus causing those White kids to act that way.  I sure as hell didn’t see Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton there telling those White kids to sing those things.

So please explain to me how this happened without Black people making it happen.  How does this happen in post-racial America?

When I saw the Black Student Union response of acceptance, forgiveness and love.  I was humbled.  When I saw the OU football player’s uncensored anger, but then his response of forgiveness and acceptance.  I was humbled again.  If this is how the Black folk at OU act, then where does the White hate come from?

We keep being told that we are mistreated because of how WE act.  But I am confused.  Those Black students were the epitome of a class act.  They offered to sit down with these offensive students and work with them to figure out how to change their perceptions. They didn’t judge the fraternity or sorority.  They offered to sit down and talk.  I am so in love with our young people of color.  If these young White kids can get past their ridiculous privilege and actually sit and listen, there may be hope for the future.

Yes, the football player was angry.  Because he felt betrayed, I am sure that he recognized that boy in the video as someone who was all up in his grill after a game wanting picture and giving hugs.  So, his anger was understood.  The official response of the Black Student Union and the later explanation of this football player was nothing but class.

So, please tell me. What can I do different as a Black parent so my kids don’t get treated like garbage?

I am trying to raise six children in this world.  I have five daughters who will at best earn 73% of what these boys on that bus will make.  ON A GOOD DAY.  If they work their butts off and work three times as hard.  And never, ever make any mistakes along the way.  Because heaven forbid they make ANY mistakes.  They will be forever labelled and punished.

While these boys will get a pat on the head for their “youthful indiscretions” and nepotism will have them in a good paying job in three years.  Because that is how the system works.

And that is why I wake up in a panic.

Because I honestly don’t know if I have what it takes to make it in a world like this.  I try to hold on for my children.  And I know they need me to help them make sense of this world.  But it becomes increasingly difficult.

I have never been one to want to be part of a system that does not want me to be part of it.

White America needs to take a a good hard look at itself and say – “Am I creating a society worthy of fighting for?”

Am I sending my daughters and son out into a world to be abused and mistreated?  Or are you going to get it together?

Because I know that we aren’t doing this.  This racism is NOT occurring because we keep talking about it.

We keep talking about it because it keeps happening.

Today, I am having difficulty even wanting to engage in this world.  Today I am going back and forth between tears and absolute terror.

Is there any hope for America?

As O.U.’s President Boren said, “We ALL need to do so much better.”

“Am I not a man and a brother?”

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About sjwoods318

Mother of six children - five girls and one boy; wife; community organizer, family chauffeur, philosopher, trans-racial adoptee, Deadhead, person of mixed racial heritage, artist, poet, writer who loves to swim, read, and run around with my family.
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8 Responses to Why “Post Racial America” Makes Me So Sad.

  1. FrankLligtvoet says:

    Thanks for writing this. I am so sad you are so right!

  2. Shanna Sansom says:

    I just finished reading this and found myself exhaling the biggest breath. Every word hit home for me, as I too am afraid for my two sons. Thank you for sharing your heart. And speaking truth. Truth and Hope will prevail.

  3. Sue Grentzinger says:

    Here is another story you may find interesting, expressing a very similar sentiment:

    Read more: http://www.ballerstatus.com/2005/09/17/racism-still-exists-how-far-have-we-really-come/#ixzz3U0dvKFJB

    I liked her last statement: “My son is Martin Luther King Jr’s dream. He is the “best of both worlds” and I will teach him to be strong and proud no matter what the world is like on the outside!”

  4. eagoodlife says:

    Reblogged this on The Life Of Von and commented:
    “As O.U.’s President Boren said, “We ALL need to do so much better.”

    “Am I not a man and a brother?”

  5. eagoodlife says:

    I have taken the liberty of posting this in a group on FB Adoptees on Adoption because it needs to be widely read. Thank you. My country makes me sad too and ashamed and concerned for our future.

  6. Lara/Trace says:

    With your permission I’d like to share this on a blog about mixed ancestry called THE MIX. You can email me: larahentz (at) yahoo (dot) com. I agree with all the commenters that this needs to be widely read… ❤

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