We should have a full and frank discussion about race....but we never will.
Want to know why?
Because no one wants to start it.... because..... they could be seen as racist.
Basically - we're all walking / blogging on eggshells. Well I am going to put my thoughts out there and let's see how much hate mail I get :) (PS I love hate mail/comments - keep that in mind:)
My 2 and a bit years in the USofA taught me that if you are white you are expected to NOT discuss race - especially regarding the black community. As "the man" you have no credibility to talk on issues of race as it is White People who who are the racial abusers.
Now - that is certainly the rule and not the exception in my experience. KKK. Knights of the Aryan Brotherhood. West Virginia White Pride. etc. etc. etc. Believe it or not, I can actually appreciate this as a Jew. My first month in Orlando (October 2002), I went out to Borders to buy some books and wore my Kippah (Jewish Skull-Cap). I actually heard a woman say to her friend "Oh my god he's Jewish!". I was later reminded by friends that "Yes Dorothy, you are still in the South. Even in cosmopolitan Orlando, Florida."
Another trend was very OBVIOUS poor service on most occasions when the server / shop assistant / cashier etc was a black person. Now I mentioned THIS and was told "Yeah. A lot of the black people around here don't like the white people But quite a few of the white people don't like the black people either." I made a joke along the lines of "Well no one must like the Asians around here". It was all of about 2 seconds until I realised that I was the only one chuckling. Ahem.
Anyways - I decided to see if this sort of racial experience of mine was the RULE or the EXCEPTION. As I was very fortunate to travel with Bubb when he went on work trips, I got to see many cities. Boston. Savannah. Miami. Ft Lauderdale. Omaha. Chicago. Atlanta. Denver. To name the most prominent. And a clear pattern emerged......
No pattern. The black people in Atlanta and Savannah loved me. Surprisingly, my most uncomfortable moment in Savannah was when a white, middle aged, southern woman refused me service at her beauty salon when I requested a mani-pedi by responding "We don't......do...... the men." I found a diverse racial mix in Boston and it seemed pretty well mixed to my eyes. In Miami, there was an obvious Cubano and Everyone Else divide. But I didn't find that a NASTY divide, as more of a COMFORT divide. I dined at my hotel in Chicago next to a table of equal numbers of black and white men (gayelles actually) who seemed to get on like a house on fire.
And yet even today, if I ask any of the African American bloggers I know a question about their community and/or if I make an observation, it is often answered with a somewhat vague non-answer. In some cases, it's been answered with a chill in the air that had me reaching for my shawl.
I'm an intelligent, articulate man. I have genuine questions about the racial issues in my second homeland. So why can I not ask them honestly and openly and safely? Seriously people. I am asking.
There is a TONNE of stuff about Black America that I would like to ask and know about. Why? Because I'm curious about, and interested in, the world around me. I want to know why in "contemporary" America, there are still such issues. And why there clearly has been the emergence of reverse racism towards whites.
(Oh god how I hate using these terms - black...white.... makes us seem like floor tiles rather than people)
So I am asking YOU all out there. Why? Why is race still such an issue? Why did the black man at Walmart in Orlando practically spit on me. And yet, my middle aged black female barber at Super Cuts (Ms Judy) and I got on like a house on fire and she had NO racial issues with anyone. Actually, she found it all rather trying and stupid. She recalled verbally putting her daughter in place when she made a disparaging remark about Latinos.
So....this is the START of a series of blog posts here. I am certain that I will offend some, challenge others, enlighten some, and have some opening up. But isn't it high time we started TALKING about this rather than simply BITCHING about it.
Over to you guys
Shalom n Blessings