Sunday, June 12, 2016

Racism- Growing up with Hatred Confession

Confession: We were all in the car in the parking lot when my father saw an interracial couple - (a African American man and a Caucasian Women) walking behind our car holding hands. My dad said something under his breath like "look at that pretty girl with that monkey" in Spanish(something we were used to hearing) The next thing we know the man knocked at my dad's window and asked him if he had a problem? my dad looked like he was going to shit on his pants, luckily nothing happened. 

There was that time he got jumped on his way to his daily trip to the liquor store. He got jumped by two African American men. My dad was walking our dog Honey so when that happened she ran away. My dad came home super angry and got his machete and cover it with a t-shirt (it still looked like a weapon) and took us with my mom to find our dog. I remember being scared because he was saying how he was going to use the machete if we saw the guys again. My mom later said what if the police would have stopped us what would had happened with you carrying around a machete?- *we found our dog a few days later*

How can I forget that time when I was a teenager and he told me "If you ever bring home a black boyfriend I will cut his head off" I knew he meant it, and I took it too heart. I had a classmate in this Christian School I attended (I only lasted 3 months then I was suspended) he was the only one who was nice and took his time to get to know me and not bully me, or not like me because I was not a bible thumper, etc he would sit with me and we had nice conversations. When he started asking me about boyfriends and such I stop talking to him even though I liked him, thought he was nice, and I hate saying this but he was not as dark, but I did not want to disobey my dad and have this kids neck cut because I believed that he would have done it at the time. There was another kid also African American that had asked me to be his girlfriend and I gave him another excuse and I did not want to tell him what my dad had said. 

I remember being in the second grade and making an observation while in class. In our class we had two black children one girl and one boy; the rest were hispanics and caucasians. One day my teacher who was caucasian brought her daughter to class- she was our age. My teachers daughter seem nice, seemed to be playing well with other children then I noticed this girl stayed far away from the black boy and ran away all around the classroom from the black girl. I think I was the only one that noticed this. I was very observant and I still am, but this is something I will always remember. Having experience working in the preschool setting we know the importance of having multicultural and learning experiences in the curriculum that teaches children tolerance and compassion for others despite their color of their skin or nationality. One of the activities we liked doing in class was bringing different color eggs and cracking them open and letting the children see that all yolks look the same in the inside despite being different colors and/or shapes.

I sat in the schools principles office in high school and the principle was half African American asked me straight out "Are you racists?" I said "If I was racist I would not be sitting here talking to you". Was I racist? I don't know... he must have had a complaint from my math teacher... from my alternative school because he was the one that gave me consequences for my behavior... I do not think I was being the way I was because of his color. Not to make excuses- BUT when I first came into the program I was there solely because I had a truancy problem ...I learned the behavior problems by being there everyday around others it was just the environment. I was also depressed, my aunt had just died from cancer and I was having flashbacks regarding her death and other problems I had. I gave him a hard time because he was the only one that pushed me, maybe because he was a man, maybe because he just happened to be the one that taught us math... that's it. If I saw him today I would be apologizing. Nothing to do with color. 

I remember I received a call from my cousin who was getting married with a African American man -she was concerned about our family being trouble... She had told me she was disappointed with one of my aunts reaction to her dating him in the first place. Her own mother who I love so much also acted this way. I was not surprised at all.... (everyone loves him now). We are from hispanic decent, but there also a mixture of blacks in our family as well. 

Unfortunately my father was not the only one that taught us how to be racist by the behavior they modeled. I catch myself sometimes saying or thinking something that I would consider racist, I have fought this way of thinking more than once ever since I was young and being a victim of heavy bullying I would never intentionally hurt someone... I wish people thought about how their own behavior affects children in the long run. My dad no longer speaks or behaves this way ( I am wondering if it was induced by his excessive alcohol intake) and if he does think something not so nice he keeps it to himself now which I am thankful for since he helps watch my nephews and the last thing we would need is them growing up exposed to that type of environment and have them struggle as adults like  I do. 

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