are much better than they used to be.”
This is a notion many of us often hear, some of us even expressing such.
Of course, in our world--in spite of the fact that we as a people are all the same in terms of what
we are, that being “human”--it’s sad that in this world that we all share, there exists such a vast separation between us.
That blanket statement--“Things are much better than they used to be”--unfortunately doesn’t cover
all of us. Yet, we are all human and of the same species, therefore all the same in that respect.
The truth is, in our world where we are all the same
--we all share that fact, we all share this world (more or less), but we all don’t share that belief.
As a result, ours is a world where being one of the same means nothing when it comes to being treated the same--a world where not only a fellow human’s quality of life is in jeopardy, but often the life of that fellow human as well.
I feel fortunate that, aside from the small number of 3 incidents, the blatant discriminatory acts I’ve experienced have been minor…
The first one was in 1965. I was no more than 5, and not yet a kindergartner, living in a small town on the Monterey Peninsula, in California, where I grew up.
I’m playing one weekend afternoon in this little playground, and here comes this kid (who I’d later come to find, was in the 4th grade at the time). I don’t remember for sure, but I think he was with some other kid. Anyway, this kid--almost twice my age--decides to call me the “N” word
. I don’t recall if there was any physical contact, I just remember the name-calling.
I have to imagine it must’ve stung a bit though, because the vivid memory of being home afterwards, thinking I would just deny the fact of my being half “Black”
--and as a kid knowing I was born in Honolulu, Hawaii--I decided I would just say I was “Hawaiian” from then on.
Gladly, I never had to resort to that claim, as the second incident happened when I was in my early 20’s, residing in Oakland, California--where I live today. It was on a popular street in Berkeley--College Avenue, on a commercial block, in a quiet district known as Elmwood, with a sidewalk of people strolling about on this sunny weekend afternoon.
Walking down the sidewalk, coming towards me, is this guy, probably in his early 20’s. As we passed each other, we made eye contact. He must’ve had some type of grin or smile on his face, because I do remember smiling at him passing by.
I’m walking, and I hear someone yelling, and turn around upon hearing “FUCKING NIGGER!” being hollered out repeatedly. Like everyone else--I’m staring, looking at that same dude, now yelling that shit out.
Then of course, all the looks come my way, with people trying to see whom this dick is referring to. I remember that their looking at me, for whatever reason, brought on this extreme feeling of embarrassment, in addition to whatever else I was feeling at the time…and I was pissed
I mean tears were running a few minutes later, as I was telling Bobby about it, and I was fuming!
Even knowing I wasn’t going to, and definitely having no intentions or thoughts of “referring” to it, I do remember that my anger was such that I did say something
about my gun.
The only other incident also happened when I was in my early 20’s, and it was quite surprising who the shit-head was that did these things, in that it was a “friend”--a couple of years older than me, and someone I had known for about 10 years at that time. We even shared an apartment together for a brief period. The really bizarre thing about what he did was that he did these things at all!
After hearing the rumor about me and Bobby, which was going around the department where the three of us worked, he asked Bobby about it--later coming to me, and I confirmed the rumor. The little chat ended with him saying something like, “Well, don’t make yourself a stranger.”
The next thing I hear coming out of his mouth--only a couple of hours later--while I’m doing some work in a room a few doors down from where this dickhead worked, I heard this soft shout going down the hall…
“Hey everybody, there’s a homosexual
in room …” (I think was the term he used, and I forget what the room number was of the lab I was working in)--anyway, this dick is repeating “Hey everybody, there’s a homosexual in room…”
Can you imagine that? In his mid-20’s--at his place of work, in a stock room, on a floor shared with labs and offices, occupied with grad students, professors, and whoever else, all in the Chemistry Department of the College of Chemistry, at the University of California, at Berkeley--and shouting that
down the hall. I mean really
…was it that big of a deal to him (or anyone else for that matter) that he would raise such a commotion? That’s definitely got to be someone with a pretty fucked-up set of priorities, if you ask me.
Over the next couple of weeks, after work there would be little clippings on the windshield of my car, offering “Homosexual Counseling” clipped from the school paper. He also came to my apartment complex, once spray-painting “Fag” on my car door, and doing it twice on my apartment door--the first one only needed some scrubbing to remove, while the second time, I actually had to paint the door. Yeah
, obviously it was
that big of a deal to him. What a nut!
Anyway, and I say fortunately, that’s about the only real discrimination and abuse I’ve had to endure in my life to this point.
What about you?
I know there are different forms of abuse suffered, with verbal, physical (personal and property)--and in this age--cyber-bullying being among the many. I was wondering what some of you might have experienced, or perhaps maybe even dealing with right now.
Racial slurs rant from the 1989 movie, Do the Right Thing