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Love Them Privately: Modern Day Jim Crow

Came home to some disturbing news last night about a certain basketball executive putting half of his body parts in his mouth. I have to admit, I don’t want to hear his voice as he says the words that stab corners of my heart. I don’t want to hear the phrases that scale back my own skin and reveal the immediate response of revolt I still have towards ignorance and bigotry.

As my husband rattled off the transcript that’s been read around the world by now, this particular one stood out: “I want you to love them (Blacks) privately. My heart missed a beat and I honestly wanted to cry. I still want to cry now even as I lay here typing away. I want to cry because the pessimist in me was quietly retreating, hoping, praying that people like THIS man, who works, mingles, and hell even manages people of other races were receding into the darkness. That their sting would not reach yet another generation and that the only wall left to bring down were the ones we built ourself.

Well I guess not. Racism as they say, is alive and well in America. Jim Crow may go by another name but he’s still funneling black boys from third grade to prison at a fast clip. He’s allowed perversions of all kinds to come through our tv screens opening doors to STI’s, HIV/AIDS, debasing Black women and criminalizing Black men. He’s even having us think that a dark skinned woman named “beautiful” in 2014 means we have arrived as a nation. As if to say this should cancel out the “mammy” image and you should take this and be happy.

I cry because my bi-racial niece and nephew will always get the strange looks as their dark skinned father and white mother walk behind them. I cry because my handsome 22 year old brother-in-law who was raised with all the privileges we didn’t, will still draw attention from the purse clasping women who won’t take the time to find out that he’s a double major graduating college this Spring. I cry because my mother doesn’t like my waist length natural locks because she was programmed to think that “Black” hair isn’t meant to grow that long and beautiful. I cry because I will still have to talk to my students about skin color and race and discrimination.

There are many out there like this gentleman who as he says is part of a “culture”. They work alongside us, we bump shopping carts in the grocery store, they hire us to work for them. Get the image of the Aryan blonde out of your head. Racism was never about color, but about a state of mind. The only color it is is UGLY.

My tears have dried up now. I will
not be picketing or sitting at lunch counters today. Fighting racism means using tactics that measure stealth, wisdom, and purpose. Stealth to dodge the attacks, wisdom to recognize this is truly a fallen society, and purpose to continue living out the example that bigotry will not be the beginning and end of our lives.

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