I’m a southerner. I was born on October 2, 1967 at Piedmont Hospital in downtown Atlanta. You don’t get much more southern than me.
Or do you?
My childhood is a very long, very strange and very heartbreaking story that I’ll not get into in its entirety, but what bears pointing out is that I was taken from my father when I was about 5. I was later adopted by my dad when I was 10.
My dad was an OK guy. He was funny, fun to hang out with and the like, but he never really taught me anything. My mother was a raving alcoholic and of no use to anybody.
So I spent most of my life figuring things out for myself. So in that regard, I’m not the typical southerner at all.
When I was a kid, I was very small. People would pick on me until a guy came along named Tony. He was a giant. (Well, to me he was a giant. To everybody else in the 5th grade he was just huge.) Tony wouldn’t allow anybody to mess with me. I sat in the back with him, a guy named Terrell and another guy named Michael.
They were all black.
And to tell you how naive I was, other white kids would ask me, “why are you sitting in the back with them”?
I honestly had no idea what they were talking about. “What do you mean by ‘them’?” I asked.
I remember at summer camp, Tony would stand in the doorway to the showers and toilets. I would use the restroom, brush my teeth, shower and get dressed while Tony stood there and forbid anybody else to come in.
Things went that way through Junior High and into High School until all of a sudden I started growing, eventually hitting six foot one. Suddenly I found nobody really messed with me anymore.
I was always very naive about racism. As I said, nobody ever taught me anything about it. Half my friends were black. A good few were Jewish as well. I remember David, a good friend in High School, who was Jewish and told me Jewish jokes and I never got them. He’d have to explain it to me. Eventually he gave up, called me hopelessly naive and just moved on to knock-knock jokes.
Over the years as I grew older I became more and more aware of racism. I eventually began reading about it, researching it to some degree, and began shaking my head more and more at the senselessness of it all.
The Confederate Battle Flag is a common source of pride for many southerners. Why, I have no idea.
To me, it represents rebellion. It represents racism. It represents everything that was wrong about the United States, and still is. To me, the so-called “heritage” that southerners cling onto while waving a confederate flag and worshiping their confederate monuments is really nothing more than racism: a longing for the days when they were masters over those they owned.
Today, people don’t talk about racism nearly as much as they talk about a thing called “White Privilege”. To me, they’re the same thing. The most recent example, and the reason for this article, is what happened yesterday.
A bird watcher who happened to be black went to Central Park, New York to watch birds saw a lady with her dog off the leash, which is illegal. He simply asked her to put the dog on the leash. The law is there, in fact, to help save birds.
The woman, Amy Cooper, then went on what can only be described as a racist tirade. Here’s the video:
White Privilege/Racism in its purest form. The whole situation took me back to ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee, where a white woman lies about a black man coming on to her in order to appease her husband and the surrounding white community.
What makes it worse is how she intentionally makes her voice shill and frantic, as if she’s actually under attack by someone.
How this woman isn’t in jail is beyond me. I feel very confident in saying that had Christian Cooper, the black gentlemen that recorded the video (no relation, obviously) not been recording that confrontation, we’d be reading his obituary or his arrest report.
The major problem is, this is far from a first time. There’s this one where a white woman calls 911 on a little black girl that was selling bottled water to raise money for a trip to Disney World.
Then there’s this one where a white woman called police on a little black boy she said sexually assaulted here. What happened was she was entering the store as he was leaving and she brushed up against his backpack.
And here’s a white man calling police on a black woman at a swimming pool. He claimed he was just checking to make sure she lived there. He of course didn’t bother “checking” any of the several white people that were there at the same time.
And another white woman calling the cops on some black folks having a BBQ for a nice family day out.
And it goes on and on and on.
These are all people of color doing absolutely nothing wrong. In fact, they’re doing everything right. They’re at the park having a BBQ with family, they’re teaching a kid sports, they’re picking up a snack after school, they’re bird watching in the park…
And they have to deal with police because of some idiot racist. How is this legal? How are people, and lets be clear, WHITE people not going to jail over this?
First off, it’s definitely filing a false 911 report. If nothing else they should at the very least be cited for that.
But this is more than that. It’s weaponizing the 911 system against people of color. And they’re getting away with it.
What in the hell has happened to this country? This has been getting worse and worse over the last few years.
It would be easy to sit back and blame Trump for this, after all you don’t get much more racist than he is, but it’s not his fault. These people were like this all along. They simply believe that since now there is a racist is in the white house it’s open season for them to abuse everybody at will.
It’s now spread from the typical black American to Asians, Hispanics and others as a false narrative of them being the cause of all of our problems is perpetuated by Trump and his ilk.
I look back to the way I was as a kid and I sometimes wish I could go back there. They say that ignorance is bliss. With things like this, I can see how that would be true.
But that’s the cowards way out, isn’t it?
My dad, and my father, were a great many things, but neither of them was a coward. Nor am I.
We, and when I say we I mean all white men and women, need to start pointing this crap out. We need to take responsibility for what is happening. We need to do whatever we can to draw attention to it, fight it, and eliminate it.
Someone far wiser than I once said, and I paraphrase, “the only thing that evil needs to succeed is for good men to do nothing”.
That’s damn right.
Let’s do something about it.