I’ve devoted a lot of time the past couple of years to challenging racists/bigots of every color and type. For me, it’s personal. Bigots cannot say “Black People” or “White People” without offending me. Dark and light bigots have been getting on my last nerve for three decades.
I love white and black people, and all colors in-between. My family—the one I grew up and the one I married into—include Dutch, Cherokee, African, Jamaican, Irish, Scottish, and God only knows what other variations.
WHY IT’S PERSONAL
Above is a small representation why haters who use expressions such as “Black People” and “White People” offend my very core. I love people of all colors and don’t see a color in any of them. Each of them and dozens more I know are individuals. They share values, integrity, hard work, and general decency. There’s not a perfect person in the photos, but they’re people I love and believe are decent.
White & Black Bigots Hurt People I Love
From my point of view, each time bigots sound off; they hurt some variation of my loved ones. It needs to stop!
My grandfather, one of my favorite people, was more Cherokee than white. My ancestors include a couple of Dutch brothers who came to America before the United States was a country. Nicola’s family blood comprises Jamaican, Scottish, Cuban and again God only knows what else.
Aren’t we all mutts by this point in evolution? How many people with pure black or white blood still exist? And why should I be impressed?
THE RIGHT BOOKS MAKE A DIFFERENCE
I grew up in Oklahoma. Racism was and is an issue there but never for me or any enlightened person I ever knew. An aunt introduced me to the Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck as a pre-teen age. Indeed, I read Grapes of Wrath, and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee over and over as a child. The books helped shape my view of inequality and race.
THE RIGHT MOVIES HELP, TOO
I also remember watching the movie, Imitation of Life, with my mother when I was young. Mom and I bawled and agonized at the way bigotry hurt the black maid. The movie taught me how complicated racism could be, even among people with various amounts of black blood.
MLK & RFK
Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy were early heroes of mine, in no small part because they symbolized the stand against southern white supremacists. I’ve challenged racists since I first stood up to an uncle when he made a racist remark. I was perhaps eight or so at the time. I’ve been challenging bigots ever since.
White Man’s Sins Greatest Hits
We all know the sins of the white race, both European, and American. We are aware of the conquerors, what they did to indigenous populations, stealing their land, and how they enslaved people. And in case anybody might forget, there’s an allegiance of blacks and whites on Facebook and social media to spin out the White Man’s Sins Greatest Hits 24/7, 365 days per year.
It is not a question if white people have committed evil but what percentage of the white race now or ever benefitted from white privilege. I try not to hate, but the closest I come to hating people are white bigots.
Unlike many blacks, however, I don’t view the terms “white people” and “white racists” as synonymous. Nobody needs to convince anybody that some white people are racist morons. Decent Americans have battled the fools since the beginning of the republic. But those who lump all white people together are every bit a bigot as those with lighter pigments.
What about Black Bigots?
I’d never considered how bigoted many in the black race might be until I moved to Jamaica. I went from the majority to a minority in a heartbeat. Indeed, after Hurricane Gilbert, I was the only white person other than a couple of Peace Corp women in the entire parish. I place a high value on my privacy, so my standing out like a sore thumb proved the most challenging adjustment in moving to a third world country.
I FELL IN LOVE WITH JAMAICA
I moved to Jamaica in 1988 to an isolated area. The experience taught me many lessons, including what it feels like when people hated me for no other reason than the color of my skin. While most Jamaicans were friendly, some cursed, threatened and blamed me personally for everything the worst whites have done in history.
While initially stunned and hurt, I accepted the rough treatment as residue from the past. Where there is no condoning the behavior, I at least understand where black bigots are coming from, something I still can’t figure out with white racists.
Despite the darker bigots, I fell in love with Jamaica and Jamaicans. My passion for the island and culture grew to where I seriously considered remaining there, permanently.
The Perfect Woman for Me
Jump forward to March 1989 when I met my wife, who is Jamaican, and every bigot in the parish challenged our right to be together. A few clowns even pulled knives, showing off for their friends, expecting me to run like a coward, something I refused to consider.
Marrying the Black Race
Jump ahead to 1990 and my wife was carrying our baby. Jamaican bigots threatened her several times, threatening to “cut the baby” out of her belly. One lesson my wife and I learned is when people from different races marry, you’re also marrying a race, and you’re often going to be the in-law the bigots love to hate. I don’t mean my wife’s family (I don’t have that type of in-law issues) but by bigoted black people.
While I’ve been aware many blacks are bigoted, my activism until recently focused on white bigots. By becoming the whiniest and most bigoted race in America, Blacks have forced me to step up criticism of all shades of haters.
To those who say “blacks cannot be racists,” I say bullshit. If you prefer to be called a bigot, fine, but you’re a hater no matter what label you desire. You’re burning bridges that white and black civil rights activists worked together decades to build.
When you dump all white people into one group, you’re a bigot, just like your white counterparts that you complain about night and day. You’re not advancing black people when you always insult all whites. You’re just another stupid bigot creating division.
And white bigots who claim there is no systematic bigotry left in the United States, you need to pull your head out of your ass. While most of what blacks complain about might not have anything to do with systemic bigotry, let’s not pretend America has wiped the slate clean. Where systematic prejudice still exists, we must end it.
How do we abolish systematic bigotry?
We end systematic prejudice by extending the same rights to every citizen. We must also cease exclusive rights for wealthy whites, but also for gays, transgenders, blacks and other minorities. Nor is it fair to expect the Middle Class to subsidize the poor and the rich. Those at the top must step up and do more to advance society. We must also help those at the bottom rise above poverty. While they must work hard, let’s not pretend the current system is accomplishing much other than destroy the Middle Class and keep those at the bottom in a perpetual state of poverty.
Good People must Unite
Decent people must unite against haters of every color, or our nation will crumble. We don’t need a Greatest Hits of Black Crimes played 24/7 by white bigots, nor the 24/7 Greatest Hits of White Sins. We need decent people of all types to unite against those of every color and kind who threaten everybody’s security.
I’ve always tried to surround myself with friendly and compassionate people, regardless of race. All the hate is only dividing the races and Americans. Nothing improves. Nothing changes. Or at least nothing gets better. Hate just feeds more hate.
We’ve tried it the other ways. How about giving my way a chance? Humane people unite against the others. Forget color, culture and everything else. Decent people must embrace each other, unconditionally and without reservation. I promise you won’t regret the decision. Of all the choices I ever made, welcoming and loving marvelous souls of all color remains one of my best.
Note: I will continue to blog about race and bigotry. If we don’t end systematic prejudice and exclusive rights, these social and institutional sins threaten all the people I hold dear. If the dividers threaten everybody I hold dear; they also threaten your loved ones.