For a long time I have stayed away from talking about race issues on my blog. Mainly because it’s controversial, but also because I’m white, and really, what do white people know about racism?
The fact of the matter is, although I am white, my wife is black and to the majority of the community that we live in, my kids are black. As a matter of fact, there are other white people out there who think of me as black because of the mere fact that I married outside my race.
This may resonate very little with you, my readers, based on the fact that the majority are white, but please stay with me for a little longer. I’m not going to rant about racism, I just wanted to make it painfully clear that it still exists.
Late last year, we watched as rioting occurred in Ferguson, Missouri after an officer was acquitted by a grand jury of his peers in the shooting death of Michael Brown. (The officer and his peers were white and Michael Brown was black). We watched in awe as racial tensions grew to new levels in America, but as Canadians we kept our blinders on that this wouldn’t happen in Canada. Racism isn’t a problem here.
I’m not sure how many times I’ve had people tell my wife and I that they can’t believe racism exists in Canada. Well it does, so get over it. It may not happen on an overt scale as in the US, but it happens. Just last week as we were in the mall, my wife and daughters walked into a cosmetic store ahead of me by a about thirty seconds. When I walked in the clerk in the store came over to me and asked if I needed any help (I was standing by the Bobbi Brown counter looking for mascara for my 14 year old daughter). My wife was on the other side of the store. Here was a black woman, with three kids, no apparent father around, and can you guess what happened? If you said nothing you are absolutely correct. Not a single person working in this high end cosmetics store offered them help. Racism? Maybe not, but racial profiling, definitely.
It really happens all the time for us. Perhaps we bring it on ourselves because we decided to be renegades and marry for love and not for the color of our skin. Or maybe we brought it upon ourselves by not only getting married but by having children together. Three beautiful girls that look more middle eastern or Mediterranean than either black or white. My wife has actually been asked if she was the nanny while she was standing with me and the girls.
This is ridiculous. Shortly after the birth of our first daughter a couple came up to us at church to “congratulate” us. He looked at my daughter and said, “Oh, she didn’t come out too dark, that’s good.” That was at a church, a “dear brother in Christ” as it were.
The anecdotes are endless I’m sure; as could be my rambling. The point of it all, is that racism is real, it exists, it hurts people’s feelings. However, you will not hear me as a white man say that black people were racist against me. Movies like “Dear White People” and “White Chicks” seem to offend some white folk, but to me they are real portrayals of our society. When a fellow moviegoer commented about White Chicks, “That’s so racist.” My wife quickly retorted, “Hang some of your ancestors from a tree and then we can talk.”
It all comes down to perspective. If you refuse to put on glasses that allow you to see clearly, your perspective will be off. In case you need a pair for a minute, you can borrow mine.