Saturday, November 12, 2016

Fuck You, White Shit

I was standing in line at an amusement park, Disneyland or Knott's Berry Farm, I don't remember which. I was very young, maybe single digits. A group of black girls were cutting in line, and as they pushed past me racing toward the front I protested, "Hey!"

One of the girls said, "Fuck you, white shit." and they continued.

It hurt, it stung, bad enough that almost 4 decades later a full grown man still remembers it. I was taught that racism was the worst thing, and an accidental part of that lesson was that black people were inherently champions of racial harmony.

It was wrong that that girl said that to me. My feelings of hurt were valid.

Here's the thing though, when she said that to me, it was shocking. There was not a lifelong history of me questioning my worth because I was white. It wasn't one in a long series of incidences of me being put down for the color of my skin. My ethnic history was one of vikings on one side, kilts and bagpipes on the other, coming to America, not one of my people being dragged here in bondage. I was surrounded by other white people as I felt this hurt. I wasn't a lone white face in a sea of darker faces feeling alone in my anger and betrayal. I didn't watch movies and cartoons every day full of faces that didn't resemble my own. There was little to no chance that an authority figure at the park was going to take her side based on her being black and me being white.

So yeah, it was lame and it fits a definition of racism, but it isn't what we talk about when discuss the racism that we struggle with. It doesn't help that cause, it certainly hurts it, and it is a problem, but it's not "The struggle".

That little girl was being an asshole. I wish I could thank her for giving me a tiny, little glimpse at what it feels like to be made to feel bad about the color of your skin, and years later helping me understand just how tiny that glimpse was.

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