I’ve had a heck of a time gathering thoughts on paper that I could compose into a cohesive article on the discussion of race. No matter what a caucasian could say on the subject, it all falls flat.
One surprising thing that happened during reflection… I sat through Bhowani Station, a 1956 film starring Ava Gardner as a half-Indian-half-English British Army nurse. At the end of the film, Stewart Granger as an Army commander says, “It’sabout time The Lord started making people the same on the ouside, just like they are on the inside,” to which Gardner replies, “We’d just change it back again once he looked the other way.” A poignant, if cynical comment on race relations, especially for the time it was uttered.
I want to believe that there are more people for whom race is an issue because of their disdain for racism than there are true racists. The problem is always perception. I am far from wealthy, but my opportunities have always been broader because of my anglo heritage. And that kinda sucks. What I do for a living takes skill and talent. There are plenty of non-caucasian people who could do my job, many probably better. I was fortunate that my brother knew a guy who worked at this place that needed someone who could do what I do.
I reconnected with a friend from junior high who told me that I was the reason he got into graphic design. He is a very talented artist and designer who happens to be African American. He worked his hiney off getting to where he is, and is probably a whole lot more grateful for what he has than I am.
There is no gentle way to say out loud that people born in the ghetto or born with dark skin or born in another country will have a more difficult life in America than caucasians, because those circumstances make them who they are. It may not be more appealing, but it seems easier to resent your circumstance than to work your way out of it. I speak from experience. My circumstance, oddly enough, was being TOO WHITE for one particular employer to trust. I struggled to earn his trust, but it was just too much history for him to get past.
By the same token, there is no way for a caucasian, no matter how sincere, how earnest, to call a truce, to beg forgiveness for centuries of abhorrent behavior. A charitable heart can only get one so far.
It all comes down to individuals taking it upon themselves to let go of dire expectations, let go of fear of reprisal, and prove to one individual at a time that there are people who plain old just don’t give a crap about race. Individuals who can aver that race does not matter; pronounce that what matters is what is in a person’s heart.
oops. i wrote an article…