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November 29, 2006

Comments

Kelly Bragg

"What I hope to do is to teach them to think about it."
Such a beautiful goal for a parent and one that applies to so many things! Your children are lucky to have you.

cherylc

Thanks for writing this long post, and responding to my comment. I should mention, for the record, that I'm caucasian, and I have rheumatoid arthritis. I used to be quite disabled from being sick, but not so much at the moment. (I think some people with disabilities don't want to be lumped with people who are sick because it confuses the issue with disablity being confused with illness? I'm not totally clear on this.)

Anyway, this is a great post. I think I'm guilty of a lot of projecting that I think I understand when of course I don't. I'm not the best listener anyway. I work on this all the time.

Our daughter has recently been talking about how she doesn't like "dark people," except the ones she already knows, and "dark babies." This seems to me to be a fairly complete regurgitation of what society tells us, in subtle and less than subtle ways. I was surprised she could pick it up so completely at five. We talked to her about how she is not all white, and how her grandmother has had trouble with the way people treated her because they were unsure how to categorize her, and how unfair that is. But the example that seemed to make most sense to her was when I told her that some people don't like black cats just because of their color. And how, when I was kid, we had the hardest time giving away our black kitten. We have a black cat now, and Clara was really upset that someone might judge her by the color of her fur. She said, very upset, "But she's a nice cat." I think we at least got her thinking. But I don't think our job on this is done, obviously.

king buckta

Hi, this is a very good example of people who know better and wanting to do better more power to you
did you eventually marry a afro american ?

shannon

One of the neighborhoods I lived in, in DC, was predominantly middle-class Black bounded on two sides by poor Black (in fact, public housing). So the train I rode home was pretty much usually all-Black, fellow passenger-wise.

I never used to notice this (really--not because I'm colorblind, but because I was just used to it) until some other white person would get on the train, look around, and invariably sit down by me.

I told my then-roommate (a Black grad student friend) how annoyed I was whenever this happened and how I wanted to say "hey, what makes you think I won't mug you???" She suggested I get up and change seats next time.

So the very next day it happened again, and as soon as the white guy sat down beside me, I got up and moved across the aisle to sit by a Black man.

That was the most confused white guy I've ever seen! It was awesome. I doubt he had any idea what the heck was happening or why, but I imagine he thought about it for a long time afterwards.

And...
You are very smart. This was an excellent, thought-provoking post.

That Girl

Good post! Civil rights are not a zero sum game. The "white" blind do not need less civil rights because they have (debatably) been less oppressed than African-American peoples, nor do "white", middle class women need less civil rights than the LGBT community. We all need to recognize people as people.
Fighting for other people's rights IS fighting for our own rights.
And the term white bothers me since it is such a social construct.
I have my own issues. I dont think racism is one of the but sexism is. Of course, since I present as a "white" woman I am not subjected to much racism.
With my son it is an ongoing struggle to get him to acknowledge his privlidge and come to terms with the world using this knowledge. That is a job without end.

Rachel De Nys

Thanks for your thorough and thought-provoking post--I was most impressed by the fact that you confront your own internal racism without shrkinking from it--it's an example we all could learn from.

hingly

"Like little racist fairies crawled up their butts one day and took over their vocal cords and made them involuntarily spat out a bunch of racial trash."

I love it!

Kathryn Stanley

Lisa,
I am always so impressed by how you are able to articlulate really difficult things so eloquently. I just plain agree with what you are saying and have some similar experiences. Thanks for putting it into words. If you ever write a book about this, I will want my own and copies for all my friends.
Thanks again for such a great, thoughtful, hit the nail on the head post.

Kathryn

Kathryn Stanley

Lisa,
I am always so impressed by how you are able to articlulate really difficult things so eloquently. I just plain agree with what you are saying and have some similar experiences. Thanks for putting it into words. If you ever write a book about this, I will want my own and copies for all my friends.
Thanks again for such a great, thoughtful, hit the nail on the head post.

Kathryn

shannon

When you get finished with whatever's keeping you from your vitally important role in the blogosphere, please add my request to the queue:

Explain in detail your end of life ethics and politics. I was intrigued by what you said months ago about the Terry Schiavo case. I want to be all "freedom to die" but I am enough of a Marxist to know that this kind of freedom would most likely be offered disproprtionately to the poor, minorities and others capitalist society doesn't value.

Please discuss.

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