Saturday, July 2, 2011

An Aha Moment: Surviving and Enduring in the Face of Racism

An aha moment this morning when I realized why People of Color use chemicals and/or spirituality to endure racism, explain away bad behavior, and cope under extreme circumstances.  It doesn't justify abuse but helps me understand the lengths brown people go to survive in America.  Race and class are so inextricably bound together.

As a poor working class single parent, I find myself with white people using ma'am and sir, more frequently:  "Yes, Ma'am", "No, sir".  I've  learned to endure the references to being called, "Chief", and hear derogatory statements made about Native peoples bodies, lives, choices, spirituality.  The more I know about living in America, I realize how unwelcome I am, and I survive at the discretion of liberal white folks guilt.

The white bus driver only 50 feet from the bus stop didn’t care to open his door for the elderly Native woman regardless of the protests of passengers and her eagerly waving.  His way of dealing with it was chastising the elderly Native women by snidely stating, “I see you made it”.  She nodded her head in acknowledgement.  He lurched forward speeding to our next stop.  She nearly fell finding her seat and sat there resolutely.  No sign of anger or disdain, just acceptance.  I guess we need to be thankful that we can sit anywhere on the bus or just have a ride...

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