In the wake of the Ferguson decision I debated blogging about this. I mean it's all that's been in the news, on Facebook, Twitter, etc. for the last few days. So blogging about it at the time of Thanksgiving made me question myself. Shouldn't I blog about what I'm thankful for? I then realized what I'm ultimately thankful for.
First a little background. I was raised in a middle class white family. My parents are still married and all my sisters and I all have the same mom and dad. Not very normal by today's standards. We are originally from Kansas (I know a very republican/conservative state) for those that are not from there and don't know more. We grew up military kids and moved around a lot. We always went back to Kansas because that's where our grandparents were so that was our "home". Many don't realize that Kansas has a lot of Hispanics. When I say a lot, where my grandma lives in Garden City, Kansas it is 48% hispanic as of the 2010 census. I have an uncle who is Mexican and he's been my uncle all my life. My parents had friends of all races so that being said, color was never anything I saw. When I say I was raised color blind, I indeed was.
My grandfather who was born and raised in Oklahoma and later lived his adult life in Kansas was the nicest man you will ever meet. So when people talk about middle America and it being a bunch of racist rednecks I ask them "have you ever been to middle America"? In the small town my grandparents lived, you didn't drive past someone without waiving. If that's how rednecks are then sign me up! When I married my husband (who is white, black, and cuban) no one batted an eye. Why would they? Remember we weren't raised to see the color of people's skin. I take my family to Kansas and they are welcomed with open arms. So because we are so color blind, the conversation of racism doesn't come up. Until this week....
I posted the following on my Facebook page after the decision not to indite: "My thoughts are with the peaceful protestors of Ferguson and the Brown family. Being the mother of biracial children this world scares me to death. #dontshoot" I immediately got a response from one of my cousins back home. "Do you really run into people acting like its a problem? Maybe because I don't have children I don't see it. I really thought this was a thing of the past". Why did she ask this? Because she's my family, so like me she was raised color blind. She may not realize it but her comment has resonated in my mind for a few days now. I advised her unfortunately racism is alive and well still. That I have walked into a store alone and no one bats an eye, but can go back to that same store a week later and get followed because I have my kids with me. Don't get me wrong, I have got it from the black side also. I remember in high school a friend of mines mom called me "the keebler people" (get it cracker). As a 14 year old girl I didn't correct her. I mean I'm a kid, she's an adult and it's her house. I look back now and think "how ignorant was she". I could never ever think of calling any of my kids friends a slang racist word! I hope she can live with the fact that that is my memory of her. My cousin apologized after I told her my story. She didn't have to.
You know why she didn't have to? Because unlike most people she did one thing right here....she asked!! She didn't assume, she didn't live in a little bubble of "it won't happen to me", or that doesn't happen. For that I thank her. If we all would just step outside our shoes and ask ourselves "what are they going through, how do they feel about this" this world would be a better place. I leave you with this. Are all cops bad? Nope. Are all black people racist "thugs" (seems to be the word of the moment)? Nope. Are all white people racist? Nope. The only way to know who is who is to ask.
Talk to each other and learn from each other. In other words don't judge a book by it's cover.
So I am thankful for my family roots of seeing no color. Thanks for raising me right and making me the person I am today. There is no one person to thank here, it takes a village. Now let me go start cooking the desserts I'm going to feed to my very colorful and loved family. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.