“There’s a tendency today to absolve individuals of moral responsibility and treat them as victims of social circumstance. You buy that, you pay with your soul. It’s not men who limit women, it’s not straights who limit gays, it’s not whites who limit blacks. What limits people is lack of character. What limits people is that they don’t have the fucking nerve or imagination to star in their own movie, let alone direct it.” -Tom Robbins, Still Life with Woodpecker
I often wonder whether my own views on racism tend to affect me in a misguided way, or is it logical enough for me to believe that American society’s youth contributes to her obsession with Black and White. This country truly is a melting pot a many different backgrounds. Food, clothing, holidays, and infrastructure aren’t strictly American, each object was cultivated into society by people who came to the United States for a better life, whatever that entails for them. Racism is intolerance, an intolerance which I believe is paralleled by stereotypes. I experience this often. People are thrown off by how I speak, and that fact that I am not quick to get an attitude and become rude in a public setting. I’m an avid reader, and I have somewhat of an understanding of how the world works (need travel for more data!). I’ve caught people by surprise by knowing a Led Zeppelin song, or knowing some random point in American History. Does being black in America really equal ignorance, illness, naivety, and deserved disparity? Our views can be really disgusting at times. Jokingly I told a friend, “When I look of pictures of CEO’s of large companies, they’re always white. I assume people who own companies are middle-aged white guys.” He jokingly called me a racist.
Experiencing racism can be exhausting, depending on what time my work shift ended, or personal (mental) battles I may be enduring that have absolutely nothing to do with my blackness. I think racism is stupid and unnecessary, but my experiences are not only courtesy of those who are white, I get it from all sides. I’ve expressed my intolerance towards illegal immigrants because I live in Los Angeles, and the extreme crowd can’t possibly be due to the influx of “transplants” alone. I also see in the heavy immigration, a consequence of the perception America has on the world. The streets of this nation have NEVER been paved with gold. Getting rich quick is a myth unless you plan on being a drug dealer or your acting career takes flight immediately, or you take the route my Uncle James did and become a criminal con artist because you really don’t have the integrity to work hard. Even if you get a job and work hard, wealth may never be obtained. That is just the fact of life.
I’ve become more comfortable with who I am. I do not feel ashamed of being black. I don’t like the immediate stereotypes, but i also get a kick out of debunking them when I converse with people. I enjoy the surprise.