Race, Ethnicity, Prejudice, and Attitudes

Race

When the first strains of light filter through my curtains, my mind leaves my dreams to form coherent thought. I do not think of race, I rarely do.

I am aware of the colour of my skin. How could I not be? My foundation is a blend of mocha and caramel, my blush dark rose, my lipstick red, because I can pull it off. I am aware of the colour of my skin. How could I not be? I hug “white” people loosely and blow three kisses on either cheek, so I don’t stain them with my brown powder.

But when we get down to work and play and life, beyond enunciating my words with care and observing cultural nuances to accommodate the diversity in my world, I am Timi, a person with much to offer from the height of my intellect to the depth of my experience, and the width of my achievements.

Nigeria has at least 100 ethnic groups. In the state where I grew up, the evening news was broadcasted in four local languages, but I listened to the official English version because I didn’t understand any Nigerian language. My parents hail from two different minority ethnic groups and my friends from the unity school I attended reflect the federal character the federal government emphasized—Amina from the north, Ronke from the west, Chidinma from the east, Asabe from the middle belt, Onome from the mid-west, Ibinabo from the Niger Delta.

So, I did not wonder about race or racism when I moved to The Netherlands. Neither tribalism nor sexism in Nigeria, had clipped the wingspan of my dreams or that of my mother before me. We had defied the boundaries of other “isms” with who we are and what we believe, that excellence would eventually inspire people and remove barriers.

Since language, ethnicity, and race bonds people, and language in particular is like Super Glue, I sometimes find myself on the outside looking in. The English, Moroccans, Surinamese, Dutch, Africans, Turks, Americans, etc, live and socialise within their enclaves. Among the Africans, subdivisions exist for people from south, north, east, or west Africa. More subdivisions based on country, and even more subdivisions based on ethnicity within a country exist. People tend to gravitate to what is familiar and comfortable and inadvertently perhaps, exclude others.

On the other hand, many have moved beyond these confines and discovered that diversity makes for a rich tapestry and the threads of that tapestry are equal in value no matter their colour or ethnicity.

I suppose expat life abroad insulates one from common racism both in the way it is meted out and received. Once I was with a friend who drove a car with diplomatic licence plates when the police stopped us. I watched as she answered the police, with the slight arrogance of one who has options.

I am aware that underneath the bridge that connects me to my better life lie the souls of men and women who died constructing the bridge. I am grateful that although Twelve Years a Slave makes me uncomfortable, after the credits, I can shiver, shrug, and enter my normal life. Racism is real, but it is not my default setting. I choose not to see it in every slight.

Prejudice has lived in human hearts for so long it has become a gene. I remember when I drove my son and his playdate home after school. They stumbled into this conversation after falling in and out of several others.

“My mum says I can play with black people, but I can’t marry them.”

I spied her cute blonde bangs from my rear view mirror. The longer locks framed her oval face and cascaded down her shoulders. I gripped the steering wheel tighter.

“But I don’t want to get married now,” my son replied.

“Oh good,” her giggles light like feathers, carried no malice.

I relaxed my grip as I realised it had never crossed my mind to date a white man. It was the unspoken taboo. Everyone in the town where I grew up knew that only certain types of girls did.

Often when people speak of racial prejudice, they talk as if it is unidirectional, forgetting the prejudice, which also lies in the hearts of its victims so that if power changed hands, new victims would emerge. Is this the real fear that makes one race dominate another—get ‘em before they get us?

Knowledge and courage may be antidotes to prejudice. A desire to investigate the world beyond our nose and the guts to live in peace in it.

 

 

©Timi Yeseibo 2014

 

p.s. My blog sister Holistic Wayfarer, who has written several eye-opening posts on Race, inspired this post.

Advertisements

50 thoughts on “Race, Ethnicity, Prejudice, and Attitudes

  1. Reblogged this on 4unansweredprayers and commented:
    My Sundays are not complete without a glass of livelytwist.com . It’s one of those reasons I rarely post on my blog on Sundays. I prefer to marinate on the juicy stuff available there all day, and even suffer a hangover on Mondays before posting typically on Tuesdays.

    Before livelytwist, Moment to Moment via Sunday Vanguard was my Sunday afternoon cocktail. But few years ago, there was an hiatus and Moment to Moment became another thread in the clothe of history.

    Here is one of such cocktails, where Tim shares her view on Race, Ethnicity, Prejudice, and Attitudes , which she captured with her trademark style of simple but beautiful writing laced with slices of wisdom.

    Often when people speak of racial prejudice, they talk as if it is unidirectional, forgetting the prejudice, which also lies in the hearts of its victims so that if power changed hands, new victims would emerge. Is this the real fear that makes one race dominate another—get ‘em before they get us?
    The series continues on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. So do remember to visit on those days as there are more eye-opening contributions and I do not want to enjoy them alone.

    Share these articles online, discuss them with real life friends and virtual friends on social media, and above all, I will encourage us all to be civil.

    The goal is not to foster hate as stated earlier, but to help us understand the unique interactions of different races in different countries.

    How we became racial conscious/aware.

    What led to racial stereotypes and prejudice?

    Dealing with people of other races and how we can improve on our humanity.

    Thank you and join me on this journey as we learn more ON RACE.

    Please contact me via email X43writes@gmail.com if you are willing to contribute and read the Intro post to the series HERE.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love Maya’s quote. I think it encompasses my position on the matter.
    However, I think it’s an issue one has to be deliberate about because our socialisation fabric inadvertently influences our subconscious actions and reactions.

    Yet,
    Just recently, at different times, by different people, I was accused of being racist because I insisted on them using the emoticon with their specific skin tone on the Whatsapp messenger and not a shade lighter or darker. OCD much? Lol.
    I did it from a place of wanting to drive home the point of deliberately embracing the beauty of our own skin colour.
    Subsequently, i began to wonder if perhaps my actions is leaning subtly towards racism.

    Hello Timi.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Lizzie! 🙂

      Lol, I don’t know if yours is a case of too much OCD, but I agree with you, the subconscious is powerful.

      I think that because we live in a world that’s prejudiced, we all, even those of us that claim not to be racist, carry a little prejudice with us. I think it’s healthy to realize this so we are not shocked when we say or do something ‘racist’ and remain open to changing our perception and beliefs.

      As an aside, some of my white friends say things to me that others may consider racist, but I do not because I know them, and I know that they’re a speaking from a good and honest place albeit ignorant. As a rule, I like to give people the benefit of the doubt and not use the racist card unless it is so blatant.

      We need to see colour and not see it.

      Maya was right.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hey Timi,

        I’m not sure. I suppose it has something to do with the ability to dehumanize others. The question then becomes, why are we so good at dehumanizing others and why is/was that skill adaptive?

        Thanks for giving me so much stuff to think about,
        Ben

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Racism, I’m still trying to get my head around it, because it isn’t logical. I swear it comes from the old reptilian part of our brain, not our frontal lobes. Great reading here, Timi, so glad to have checked this out. 🙂

    Like

    1. . . . because it isn’t logical. Is it fear to embrace the unknown? But surely, with all that we now know . . . I guess talking about it helps us identify it and confront it . . .
      Thank you Susan 🙂

      Like

  4. Not sure if I will ever be among first 20 to comment 😦
    I watched 12 years a slave and was reminded once again that even among us Nigerian, this race thing or should I say tribal wahala still exists and oh so tiring!

    Like

    1. It creeps into everything we do, if we let it. If we can just see that although we are different on the outside, inside, we are alike.
      @comment, lol. Try Sunday afternoon/evening, which when I usually publish my post 😉

      Like

  5. an attempt to debunk the goading fact that racism has caused a lot of damage will be time wasting. perhaps a more subtle version of the argument that requires a reply is the argument that this stereotypical attitudes is attributed to the superstructure of a community. much as prejudices resides in the subconscious of he who carry out the act, racism is equally a product of the mind which is revealed through our actions like stoning a black man banana on the pitch why celebrating a goal scored to boast the image of those that threw the banana. the way forward out of this and every other negative stereotypical attitudes is nothing but an embrace of appeals to reasoning and emotions of all individual.
    nice one Timi

    Like

    1. Thank you Freeman. Racism is real as you described. People who act like that should be pitied, educated, corrected, confronted, and where fit, arrested. I agree that we have to open our hearts wide to embrace all individuals. It takes commitment, but maybe we can start with the man or woman next door.

      Like

  6. There’s so much I could say about this issue, that it’s a far wiser choice that I say nothing at all (though in my saying nothing, I may have spoken volumes). Forgive my speaking in riddles, I’m tired from a long weekend! 🙂

    Like

    1. Just being here, reading the post, and then speaking in riddles, means a lot. I appreciate it. Perhaps one day I’ll hear your thoughts on this issue. Get some rest 🙂

      Like

  7. Perfect ending. I think it truly takes guts to try to live in peace with people, because it takes a certain level of courage to tolerate another.

    But it is difficult to move past stereotypes. At a church service yesterday, a comedian joked about Igbos. It was a funny but uncomfortable joke. At that moment, I wondered if comedy doesn’t help perpetuate racism. Now, I think of the jokes of stand-up comedians in America and I am wondering about this again. Is racism fodder for popular culture?

    The comments were very enlightening, as the article.

    Thumbs up, Timi.

    Like

    1. Is racism fodder for popular culture? Looking at the context in which you made the comment, I’d say life is fodder for popular culture. Comedians joke about everything. I think that presentation matters. Say the comedian starts out making fun of himself, and then his tribe, and then several other tribes, his jokes may be less offensive. Of course the type of joke matters and cultural sensitivity should not be ignored.

      We make fun of the differences between our friends and us. I laugh at a friend’s accent, she laughs at my nose, is that promoting prejudice?

      In a comment below, Nancy shares a link to a post about PC & EC, and we agree that trying not to step on any toes is like walking on a minefield.

      But for the joke to be “uncomfortable,” hmmm, perhaps it shouldn’t have been told in the first place. Some things are in poor taste, no matter how you look at it.

      I agree moving past stereotypes can be challenging. It takes commitment also.

      Thanks Samuel.

      Like

  8. I loved reading this for 2 main reasons (1) it has provided, yet again, insight into a culture (or cultures, really), so far removed from my own experience. As a person of minimal means and a multitude of children, it is not realistic for me to travel the world any time soon, no matter how much I would like to. It is easy to be blinded to what is beyond the horizon. (2) To be reassured that the world is really not all that large. To even have access to individuals having this conversation in real time, is truly incredible.

    In the context of my world, I have no real cultural identity. My mom, who is white, divorced my father when I was very young. His family has a strong Hawaiian heritage, but alas, I did not grow up around them. My husband is 1/2 Mexican American and 1/2 Irish American, but he grew up with the Mexican side of his family, so once again, there is very minimal cultural identity being mixed. Fast forward to the aforementioned children, who are now a muddle of ethnicities with no culture, save that of what can be found in suburban central California. My boys are called “white boys” by most anyone even a shade darker than they, and, trust me, they understand that the connotation is negative. Much like myself, I am certain that they will be asked “What are you?” more times than they can count, and they have an even longer list of derivatives than I. These are some bizarre waters we navigate as parents filled with cultural references mostly from Hollywood and American Entertainment. We discuss racism, both historically from an American perspective and what we percieve it looks like today, but, we are just a filter. As a person who lacks a cultural foundation based in an actual ethnicity, I often feel sad for myself and my children. The claim to being American does not have the rich roots I desire for myself and my children.

    I know that this discussion is about something much larger and much more volatile than my experience, so please do not think I am trying to demean racism and prejudice or fit them into my pretty white american box. In my world, I don’t think people realize how much money and influence is a much greater factor in the separation of groups than race or religion. As a lackey for people who have both, I have front row seats to the perpetuation of the status quo and race is only a factor once money is not.

    Like

    1. Brina, thank you for joining the conversation. When I told a friend I was writing about race, she asked, “Where will you start, where will you end?” because it is such a broad topic. I decided not to research as she suggested, but write from my limited perspective. I hoped that readers would comment and deepen the conversation. That’s what everyone has done including you. So, no, I do not think you are “trying to demean racism and prejudice or fit them into my pretty white american box.”

      This statement tugs at my heart strings: “The claim to being American does not have the rich roots I desire for myself and my children.”
      “What are you” is a question many people have to answer. Increasingly, we’re seeing that we are a rainbow of colours. Perhaps in future, the answer to this question will carry as much significance as the answer to the question, “How’s the weather?”

      I wrote in an earlier post about the “clash” of cultures and how I now exist in the Third World, where I marry the best of cultures.

      I touch on raceconomics in this post when I mention the “slight arrogance of one who has options.” Even the word Slave Trade, has commerce in it. Economic power is a big factor in race dynamics, I agree.

      Like you, I will not be travelling the world anytime soon. What you’ve shared has also opened my eyes to see beyond my horizon. I like how writing connects us and makes our experiences richer. 🙂

      Like

  9. “Knowledge and courage may be antidotes to prejudice. A desire to investigate the world beyond our nose and the guts to live in peace in it” Prejudice is often transferred from one generation to next, whether it is tribal or racial. People feed off notions that were established in their foundations and surroundings. Knowledge is very likely the cure. I often wonder sometimes, with the way tribalism is in Nigeria, if racism would be worse had the tables been turned. The thought crosses my mind. Great post Timi :).

    Like

    1. Hmmm, “I often wonder sometimes, with the way tribalism is in Nigeria, if racism would be worse had the tables been turned.” Given the opportunity, one can only imagine the kind of injustice humans would inflict on one another.

      Racist attitudes aren’t unidirectional in my view. As you infer, if those of us at the receiving end had economic power and political will . . . Some may argue that in Uganda, Kenya and Zimbabwe, at some point, white people suffered blows from “reverse” prejudice . . .

      Thanks Tomi.

      Like

  10. “My mum says I can play with black people, but I can’t marry them.” Oh, puleaze. I was 10yrs old when I threw a fit about never wanting to marry a Nigerian, and no—I was unaware of anything Asian then. Let’s just say my parents knew early on that I was different. Lol

    Let me start here: “Often when people speak of racial prejudice, they talk as if it is unidirectional, forgetting the prejudice, which also lies in the hearts of its victims so that if power changed hands, new victims would emerge.”

    Introducing: Inter-minority Racism

    “African Americans are better than Black Americans.”
    “Mexicans are more hard-working than Black People.”
    The perceived threat that immigrants pose to economic resources.
    Other Africans stereotyping Somalis in the US system; “they must all be on welfare.”
    The Black-Korean tension flares in the US.

    There are so many rods in the fire here, Timi. Socioeconomic disadvantages and institutional discrimination have birthed a disease that continues to fester among minorities. When one minority group benefits from discriminatory policies or enjoys a disproportionate level of privilege, there is deep resentment because of the unfairness and inequity the other perceives.

    And in my classroom?? Oh I see it everyday…and it’s interesting and sad at the same time. And you always make me veer off topic, livelytwist! Lol 😀

    Like

    1. You’re on topic Maggielola. I touch on “Inter-minority Racism” when I mention the subdivisions of cliques among Africans in The Netherlands, although I don’t call it that. Racism is a hydra-headed monster. It’s a shame that you see it everyday in your classroom. It isn’t always easy to unlearn prejudice, but it can be done.

      Formulating policies that benefit every unit of a multicultural society can be difficult. To have or not have special quotas for minorities so they don’t remain disadvantaged can be controversial. In my view, at the end of the day, people- minorities- need to remember that they are architects of their destinies and not spectators. Life is not always a level playing field.

      Thanks for adding to the conversation!

      Like

      1. Oh yes you touched on it. I must have missed that in my bid for a place among the “top 30 comments,” seeing that I missed the top 15. Your writing is as refreshing and relatable as always, Timi! I’m happy you exist as a human, not an inanimate object. 🙂

        Like

  11. Beautifully said and well thought out. You are indeed, Timi, a “person with much to offer.” Anyone who reads this blog will get that immediately. Kudos also to Diana for inspiring your effort.

    There is much to comment on but I will restrain myself to two… “Racism is real, but it is not my default setting.” When we let racism define who we are, we lose.

    “Often when people speak of racial prejudice, they talk as if it is unidirectional, forgetting the prejudice, which also lies in the hearts of its victims so that if power changed hands, new victims would emerge.” It’s so simple. If you teach a person to hate instead of love, then hate is what they know. It goes farther though, when you hold someone down, when you knowingly limit their future and potential, you realize what you are doing. Guilt and paranoia result and fester, creating even more paranoia. it’s like a poison dripping through your veins. I am thinking here of the slave owners in the Southern United States, but also of the Americo-Liberians in Liberia. And there are numerous other examples. Eventually, as the Buddhists say, what goes around comes around. And when it does, it is never pretty. –Curt

    Like

    1. Some people see racism in everything- it’s the reason they didn’t get the house, the job, the opportunity, etc. It can absolve one of responsibility. On the other hand, somethings that pass for racism are just cultural differences. We lose out when we let fear of the unknown fuel hate.

      Diana is a gem. I enjoyed reading your interview on her Race Around the World series. You said:

      “Our minds are hardwired to think in stereotypes. The more our world shrinks and the more our survival depends upon working together, the more important it becomes to shed racial stereotype and judgments.” The Race: Caucasian in Oregon, Part 14. How true.

      Thank you for the compliment 🙂

      Like

      1. All too often we blame others for our problems instead of figuring out what we have to do to overcome the challenge we face. Stereotyping makes placing the blame easier.

        This isn’t to put down the very real problems of racism, sexism, etc., however. –Curt

        Like

  12. Powerful writing, as usual, Timi. Speaking as a white man in the United States (and everything that represents), I don’t know how cross-cultural engagement can be anything other than rewarding. I don’t recall in my life ever being rejected by someone from another ethnic group for being open and engaging. It doesn’t happen, so it’s a win for everyone when you reach out.

    Of course, not having the reverse experience, I cannot say people of color won’t run into white folks who are guarded and prefer isolation. Leave them to their dying, homogeneous world, and pity them for choosing to miss out on the awesome experience of connecting with people, learning, building friendships, and sharing ideas.

    I do believe, caught in the middle, are some white people who think that to engage they have to pretend they don’t see color. Of course, all Caucasian white people see those physical attributes that make our brains say “East Asian,” “black,” “Hispanic,” etc. when forming a subconscious impression, just like all black people’s brains do the same thing when first interacting with people who are not black, and so on. It’s OK to acknowledge someone’s ethnic identity! It’s part of who they are. But that’s not all of who of who they are. Know and respect the entire person, including their heritage and ethnicity, but also their interests and beliefs and hobbies and talents and quirks and everything else that makes up a person.

    Like

    1. Reaching out to connect with anyone involves the risk of rejection whether you’re the same race or sex. But if we don’t, we wouldn’t know how rewarding cross-cultural engagement can be. My reaching out experiences have been mostly positive. I’ve been rejected, but was it because of race or because we didn’t click?

      “It’s OK to acknowledge someone’s ethnic identity! It’s part of who they are. But that’s not all of who of who they are.” Well said Eric.

      Like

  13. This is magnificent, Timi. And I don’t say it bc you reference me LOL.

    Just one of many lines I wish I had the time to quote:

    “a person with much to offer from the height of my intellect to the depth of my experience, and the width of my achievements.” Good for you. The skillful narrating aside, you certainly inform and enlighten. I realized I knew nothing of Nigeria! And there will always be subdivisions, everywhere.

    I love the confidence you bring up, of one with options under her belt. I planned to write on something along this line.

    The unabashed, artless words of children often disarm us, don’t they? And help us see what we manage to cloak with sophistication.

    Just how are Nigerian girls who date or marry white looked at?

    PS: I love “blog sister”. =)

    Like

    1. Where I grew up, Nigerian girls who dated white men were thought to be “loose”. It was assumed that they were either prostitutes or gold diggers. They didn’t come from “good” homes. In my experience, it was true. Every white man I saw with a Nigerian girl at the time, was with that kind of girl. Sometimes, I wondered if those were the only girls white men met!

      But when my friend’s sister started dating a Lebanese guy, we were stumped. We had to consider that love was a factor in the equation. Some said it was easy for her because she was mixed race- her father is Nigerian, her mother Scottish.

      I’ve “grown up” now, and my friends are married to white men; I’ve interacted with white men, and I’m challenging my assumptions. And your question has me wondering the genesis of this kind of thinking in my home town. You bet, I’m going to ask some people some hard questions 🙂

      Thank you Diana (blog sister 🙂 )for your series on race, which inspired me to write this. Writing this made me aware of bias in my heart, some I didn’t even mention in this post. I look forward to reading what you write about the confidence of one with options under her belt. You are kind with your words with regards my writing, makes my head swell 🙂

      Complex people we are aren’t we, with our subdivisions? 🙂

      Yes, children are wonderful in that regard.

      Like

      1. Everything: very interesting!

        Actually, it was just the word ‘options’ that reminded me of my draft. It won’t be about race, a topic I’m slowly sliding out of now, but on money.

        Hope I get to it. I have some other posts I’m stinkin’ excited to get out. Just have to find the time to write them.

        So busy!

        And ha ha ha go ahead, let that head swell a bit. Ain’t hurtin’ anybody.

        Like

  14. I usually refrain from commenting about race because for a long time I never had to worry about it. The only white folks I knew when I was young were missionaries and you can’t hate those folks. They ate the same food with us, spoke the same language (we all spoke English outside the house), only looked paler. And I never thought of other ethnicities in Nigeria as others–just never happened.

    Until my father told the tale of how he went to US for a fellowship and the folks there were shocked he could communicate in English the way he did. I was annoyed and for the first time realised I might one day find myself in a place where my skin would make folks treat me different.

    Now I seek out other people’s stories and ask myself if I would walk differently in their shoes. It’s easy for the man who has never had his position threatened by some ‘others’ to think he is not racist, I know that now. So I’m teaching myself how to live in this prejudiced world, and I’m learning fast.

    We all need this: “A desire to investigate the world beyond our nose and the guts to live in peace in it”.

    Like

    1. Thanks Ifemmanuel for commenting. It’s true, in Nigeria, in general, we don’t experience racism, but tribalism can be rife.

      At the risk of sounding dismissive because I don’t have enough context, your dad’s experience isn’t “so bad.” Why? Because I’ve had same, and it isn’t due to racism, but ignorance. I’ve had a British person read my blog and express surprise, complimenting me on my excellent command of English for a non-native speaker.

      I explained that I was a native English speaker without a British accent. I explained how one legacy of British colonialism was English being the official language of Nigeria. She didn’t know this, she thought Nigerians spoke Nigerian. So, I told her about ethnicity and languages in Nigeria. She was pleasantly surprised.

      I can’t get upset about her ignorance as I’m also ignorant about some British customs as well. I’ve lumped Ireland and Britain together, and called them United Kingdom!

      I like this: “So I’m teaching myself how to live in this prejudiced world, and I’m learning fast.” And the quote that follows. Thanks again.

      Like

      1. Saying it isn’t ‘so bad’ wouldn’t be dismissive. I was just a bit naive back then. I thought anyone who sees a man with 4 degrees from an English speaking country shouldn’t doubt the ability of that person to communicate properly. I know better now.

        After relating with people, especially through the internet, I’m more careful to consider the nuances of interacting with folks who don’t understand who you are, before jumping to conclusions.

        Like

        1. True Ife, as the internet makes the world smaller, knowledge of and sensitivity to multicultural differences is power.

          Nigeria may be the most populous nation in Africa, a mega exporter of crude oil, but many people don’t know “jack” about her. Oh, apart from what is sometimes seen on TV, which isn’t always positive. Sometimes, I feel like a brand ambassador, showing another side . . .

          Like

  15. The sad thing about prejudice and racial discrimination is that it becomes a chain and it takes an individual to break the chain. We must always bear in mind that we are all made by one Creator and we all, irrespective of our races, ethnicity or language, have unique purposes and carry potentials to make impact anywhere race, ethnic origin and language irrespective.. Thanks for this Timi!

    Like

  16. I am so glad you had this quote and got this discussion opened, Timi! I think the very special part of Maya’s life was that many people grew to love poetry, respected and listened to her. I felt blessed reading her books and poems. I think saying that part about equal threads is important. My parents did a rather unconventional thing, put us in front of a mirror, told us we already had an unfair advantage in life by the color of our skin. My parents marched for freedom, but were diligent, did not go passively into the cause, they gave money and time. Many summers not being paid to teach children in inner cities, tutor and taking us to Head Start, bringing and sharing our toys. Life lessons that make me stronger, relate much better to my fellow man. Wish more parents were like this, helping to really focus on the need for this. I just wrote on another person’s post, I could imagine Heaven’s conversations between some fine people, all shaking their heads, wondering why Earth has such technology, (progress) but so little progress in human relationships. In the case of marriage, Timi, I accidentally got misunderstood by one of my daughters. I said to examine the inner relationships between the mother and father, in different cultures, to determine if the person she loved was meant to be with her. I meant that the one person she loved had a father who did not respect women, I could tell this, in the family gatherings I would visit this young man. I felt that this would reflect upon her marrying him, her parenting with him and her future. I just told her to examine it closely and then, discuss what values were important. My father and mother were equals, both worked, both shared everything from diapering to reading the bedtime story to giving us a ‘voice’ and listening to it. I wanted this for her. I had made the mistake of marrying two out of three men, who told me they would be different than their parents, but really ended up not. Too bad, my Mom had warned me, but I did not listen. I think this is a shame about the little girl, but wish the words had never been said to a little girl (or any child.) Take care, Robin

    Like

    1. Yes, Maya Angelou’s quote rings true. As parents, we can teach our children to embrace diversity just as yours did.

      I had many questions on my mind that day, but I knew the little girl wouldn’t be able to answer. I did not know her parents well enough either. At the end of the day, I couldn’t feel righteous indignation because, although my parents hadn’t voiced such words, the society I grew up in communicated this and I had unconsciously picked it up.

      It sounds as if you gave your daughter sound advice. After all, when you marry a person, you also marry their upbringing and culture.

      I’m not talking about extreme acts, which we would all condemn, but when it comes to attitudes and comments others make, I’ve found that if I search heart, I may find a similar bias. We should cut each other some slack right?

      Like

  17. It is a minefield to be sure, and we all have opinions based on experiences – good or bad – that we know are not right but find it hard to shake off. What a good post, thank you.

    Like

    1. I think so too. I try to be open minded, but now and again, I find some prejudice lurking in the shadows of my mind. If I’m willing to be honest and confront my assumptions, I can bridge the gap between me and others. Working and living in a multicultural city has helped me.

      Like

  18. Hey Nancy, thanks for the links. It’s true:

    Political Correctness + Empathetic Correctness= Fumble, Stumble, Fumble 😀

    Seriously, I think tolerance cuts both ways. I’m all for giving people a break, otherwise like Kristen Lamb pointed out, they’ll stop talking and joking altogether. Then “sensitive” people will accuse them of being “racially” unfriendly!

    Like

    1. The only solution for NEVER putting our foot in our mouth is to keep our mouths shut ~ to gag ourselves so that we don’t stumble, fumble, or commit a faux pas.

      Here’s to making mistakes and allowing others the same freedom until we find a happy melting pot of diversity where everyone is welcome at the table.

      Like

  19. Beautiful post, Timi. Kristen Lamb wrote on related issues of this week in two posts that I highly recommend:

    “These days, I find myself less prone to joke or make conversation with others of a different ethnicity or culture because, bluntly, it’s exhausting and I always seem to screw it up. I find myself hedging everything I say, backpedaling, and struggling to remember my proper and approved PC vocabulary.

    “I once was trying to be polite when I referred to someone as Hispanic…only to be razed for the next half hour how this person was from Argentina and NOT Hispanic and I was a jerk for not knowing this. I referred to someone as African American only to get my tail handed to me that this person was from Jamaica and didn’t like that term and it figured a white girl would be so insensitive.”

    To read more: http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2014/05/29/the-disease-of-self-importance-can-we-find-a-cure/

    “There is a terrifying movement popping up in our universities. In my opinion, it’s the “shot across the bow,” the seed of the Thought Police.

    “If PC wasn’t bad enough, the new political flavor of “Everyone is so special they should never feel any discomfort” is Empathetic Correctness.”

    To read more: http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/something-wicked-this-way-comes-why-writers-could-be-in-great-danger/

    Like

The conversation never stops, please join . . .

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s