I recently had an opportunity to shop with a friend while visiting in Orange County, California. We shopped in a nice shopping area. But, what I saw while there made my blood run hot with anger.
I am white. This doesn’t make me immune to the realities of prejudice, though. My adopted youngest son is biracial – Mexican and African American. From the age of seven weeks, he has received racial attacks and slurs, often from complete strangers. Though he is now 26, my heart breaks when I see the racism that confronts his every day.
Nothing I have seen when with my son prepared me for the racism I saw on my recent shopping trip, though. My friend, I’ll call her Dominique, is African American. She was on a hunt for granite for her kitchen counters. We went to a large, popular Orange County tile and granite store to look for what she wanted.
From the moment we walked into the office, the salesman, I’ll call him Rick, ignored Dominique. He talked over her and treated her like an unwelcome child, refusing to make eye contact. It was clear that she was the shopper and had the money. She was the one asking questions.
I know he didn’t make eye contact with her because he stared at me the whole time. No, I am not beautiful (nor am I ugly). He stared at me to avoid making eye contact with Dominique. Even when I turned and looked at my friend, he did not look at her. It was as though she did not exist for him.
When it was time to conclude the transaction, Rick looked at and talked to me. It amazed me that Dominique went through with the sale. I brought it up as soon as we were in the car again. She shrugged and said, “I’m used to it.”
Our next stop was a nice restaurant for lunch. The hostess, a lovely young Asian woman, looked straight past my friend to greet me. This, even though Dominique was standing in front of me. She did not greet my friend. As she took us to our table, I noticed that the hostess talked to me and avoided eye contact with Dominique. By this time, I was beginning to feel anger. When we went to pay, the hostess again ignored Dominique, even though we were splitting the ticket. I fumed silently.
I write about this because it perplexes and angers me. Study science and anthropology, medicine and genetics – we understand today that all humans have common ancestors. Since this is the case, why do we single out people of one color or another for poor treatment? I do not understand why I see discrimination against people of different colors.
I learned from our Constitution and from my parents that all people are” created equal.” If this is so, then why do whites treat blacks and browns like second class citizens? Why do blacks treat whites and browns like enemies? Why do browns hate whites and blacks? None of it makes any sense!
I am tired of being quiet while my loved ones suffer the barbs of prejudice and discrimination. I’m not sure what I’m going to do about it yet. But I am not going to be silent anymore. That’s why I’m writing this post.
That’s why you can expect to hear more from me on this topic in the future. Until equality is second nature, I am speaking up. Maybe if enough people speak out against prejudice, we will begin to see some relief. In the meantime, I am praying for the tongues of the haters to be silent.