There is nothing that hurts me more than hearing a
derogatory comment or remark made about my fellow man.
I grew up in one of those semi-racist families. You know the
kind, the kind where it was okay to have friends of color, but not okay to be
in love with a person of color and you’d better not bring home a baby of color
because that was just not right.
I do have to say that very little of this came from my mother, most came from
my aunts and uncles who were financially better off and lived in suburban white
Ontario and never had to rub elbows with the lower class unless they were visiting
my house: which actually was an apartment that was owned by the government and subsidized
according to income; Ontario housing, later known as MTHA in the greater
I grew up in an economically poor, yet ethnically diverse
area. I never even heard the N word until I was a teen and heard one person
yelling it at another and without even knowing what the word meant I knew it
wasn’t a good word, I knew it was a hurtful word, but I wouldn’t know the full
scope of the word until I had my own children.
You see, I have a mish-mash of color in my home, although
both my husband and I classify as Caucasian, there are different colors of Caucasian.
I am a fair Caucasian; my husband is a dark skinned Caucasian and my sons range
from light hair and light skinned to dark hair and brown skinned.
My youngest is exceptionally dark skinned; he likes to call
himself the “brown” boy. He does have cousins who share his particular skin
tone, but he gets to see them only once in a while. This child of mine, who is
turning 17 and I am still trying to figure out how that happened, has been the
victim of racial ignorance for most of his young life.
In elementary school he’s been called every name in the book, including the N
word and his blonde haired blue eyed brother was called an N-lover for sticking
up for him. In Elementary school he had an ADULT tell him that he was training
his son to pick up a gun and wipe people “like him” off the planet.
In middle school (grades 6, 7 and 8) he was subject to more ignorance as
parents would not allow their daughters to associate with him based on his skin
color and knowing little else about him and then when the tragedies of
September 11th 2001 occurred he got to learn a new kind of hate... Suddenly he went from being called the N word to being called a “rag head” and
being told to “Go back to his country.”
His country is CANADA…always has been.
Never mind the sheer ignorance of his kindergarten teacher
who felt it appropriate to call me and ask me if he had a different father than
the rest of my kids. Why did she do this? Because they were discussing color
and he insisted that he was “brown” and guess what? HE IS BROWN!
So why am I writing this today? Because it has become
apparent to me that the ignorance is still alive and well; when someone actually
has the nerve to ask, “What ARE you?” in a tone that has distain written all
over it, it makes you want to slap them. He has learned to answer the question,
and he answers it rather well, “I’m human, and you are?”
But I can see the hurt and the frustration in his eyes. I
have felt the pain of his persecution over the years, his never knowing quite
where he fits and never being 100% accepted by any ethnicity because he’s
either not light enough, not dark enough or doesn’t speak the language.
There is but one race of man walking on the earth…
The HUMAN one and I personally pray for the day when
EVERYONE wakes up and realizes that.