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Used to run a stable and live on a farm, now I am back into banking for awhile. Still have horses and love animals.  

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Those people, that person

The Zimmerman case has disturbed me, moved me enough to write about race. Where I grew up there very few if any African Americans, I believed what I had heard and one day repeated it at school, I was chastised and for that I am most grateful.

When I was a teenager I ended up spending a year in England which is a great melting pot of race and culture, everyone is much more comfortable in countries so close to a large continent that yields so many different origins, everyone is accepted and much more comfortable in their own skins. I learned to love the variety of races and cultures available to learn about while I was there, I had friends their that saved my life and took care of me and made sure I made it back to the states safely.

When I got back to the states I ended up in a career that again put me in a place of exposure to many people of all races and backgrounds. I was eventually put in charge of helping low income, inner city families realize their dream of not only owning a house but in a safe neighborhood where their children would be safe and have a chance in life. Many times the mother's would call me after they moved into their new home and thank me and bless me because they knew their children would grow up with a chance of having a better life.

It is interesting that some of my employees where also African American and Hispanic, the Hispanic's had an easier time but the African Americans where treated differently by management. They knew I was different, they told me how things would happen and they were right, managers who were blatant about their feelings towards them made decisions based on those feelings even though they had gone above and beyond their job descriptions and were excellent employees. I didn't allow it and saw to it that upper management was involved and they felt there was no tolerance for that kind of attitude, some managers where called on the carpet, nevertheless, my employees were then treated better and received the same compensation and recognition as their white counterparts.

Much later I worked in a branch in a very white community, by that time I had adopted an African American teen who needed to live with a family till she could finish high school. Customers would come in and for one reason or another allude to African Americans in some derogatory manner with a sneer thinking because I was white it would be a wink and a nod. I disappointed them I have to say.

I will never forget being carded at a Wendy's, it just so happened that my African American daughter was with me, and another time at Buehler's grocery store, the employees wanted someone to escort us to get empty boxes and to walk us out of the store to make sure we didn't take anything, of course I had gotten boxes before without my daughter and there had not been any issues about getting them and walking out of the store.

I guess what I am getting at is whites don't really believe that blacks or people of other races are treated differently or looked at with prejudice before they are even given a chance. I didn't believe it either but it is true all of it and it is quiet a wake up call if you are a fair person.

One of my best friends who happened to be white and Jewish referred to someone who was my brother's best friend as that person, other people with their sneers say those people. The individuals they were referring to have names, families, beliefs and were better examples of Christ's love than the majority of people I have met over the years.

That brings me to hoodie's, no one loves wearing a hoodie more than I do, it offers security and hides how I look. I don't like the way I look and I don't like myself most of the time so I wear a hoodie to hide in and feel secure. I am not looked at suspiciously when I wear a hoodie with my white skin and blonde hair. I wonder if the popularity of the hoodie has something to do with the same reasons I wear one. For African Americans though it seems to symbolize something else to the outside world, people, especially whites seem to equate it with criminal activity.

Now then, the young man who wore a hoodie and had the nerve to walk through a neighborhood at night, he even had the nerve to loose his temper when somebody was stalking him. They say he had some issues in the past with different things that portrayed him as a not so nice character which I believe most teenagers in American black or white if investigated would yield some of the same things, even adults for that matter. I should mention that Zimmerman's past wasn't spotless.

I wished the young man would have just went home and I wish he was alive today. People are angry because the race card has come up in this, they want to blame the kid as an individual that somehow deserved what he got. Race did have something to do with it and there is no sugar coating it.

People are tired of hearing about it, white people and even some African Americans. My words of wisdom for the issues personally is like Bill Cosby said about African Americans taking responsibility for themselves but it is the whites that need to take responsibility, for their thoughts and actions.

We as whites would do well to remember that we have a loving God who created us all in His image, that we are responsible for how we treat other's and He searches our hearts and knows the truth. God will not look at us and say you are white so you are okay with me, you must be better than others that I created. How arrogant to think that because we are white that we are somehow better, that we deserved more and that it's okay to enjoy another's suffering or to judge a person without knowing them because they are different.

I know that as a white person the dialogue that takes place in our homes, from our parents, and generations of influences that say to us without us even knowing it sometimes that you think of a person, their race, religion, sexual orientation etc. in a certain way. It's a record that has played in our heads over and over again for many generations but that is not an excuse any longer.

We need to take responsibility for the world we have created, a world where people are treated differently, for the poverty and family structures we have forced on others. There are no opportunities in the inner city for jobs, no corporations that build businesses there where young people can earn a decent living, there is no hope just street corners. Has it ever occurred to whites that selling African American's mother's, fathers, children separately as slaves might have robbed them of a family structure. It is easy to take for granted what most American families have passed down for generations, the family unit, the importance of everyone in that unit.

So we blame the poor for being poor and we say why don't they do something about it, the only problem is our society has set them up to fail. Sure, people can rise above circumstances, I did but I had a slight advantage, I am white. After getting away from a living situation where I was treated as an outcast I could walk into the world and present myself and be accepted. You can't hide skin color no matter how you have improved your circumstances, if you have a college degree, are successful in life, and have family just like others that are white, it isn't quiet the same, you never make it completely because you still have a skin color issue. Of course, the only issue with skin color lives and dwells in others minds and hearts and naturally it affects you regardless of your accomplishments it exists.

Whites need to take responsibility for the issue of race, we created the problem by thinking it was a problem in the first place, we have placed the issue in our children's minds and built the issue into our society. It's time we suck it up and deal with it and teach our minds and our hearts the truth, it is time we let go of the thoughts and old teachings.

We must fight the battle of race in our own hearts and minds. If what I have said does not speak to you then picture this: Standing before a loving and just God who created us all and sharing your reasons for treating some he created differently with a sneer and try picturing how He might respond. 

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