Environment of hate: The racist next door

“It will be refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified First Lady in the White House. I’m tired of seeing a Ape in heels.”– Clay County, West Virginia Development director Pamela Ramsey Taylor’s Facebook post following Trump’s election as a President.

I got to be honest with you, when I read about this post directed at Michelle Obama I was truly hurt, sick and sadden. First, you need to understand my “relationship” with our first lady. One, I have a school boy crush on her. Next to my wife (yes I know better than to not add that caveat) I think she is a beautiful lady. Not a beautiful black lady, a beautiful lady period. Second, I believe she has been an exceptional role model for all American women. Not black American women, all American women. She has handled the responsibilities of being the First Lady with grace, compassion, and poise. She has not only earned our respect she deserves it as well. Third, she is authentic. As my wife likes to say, “I wish she was my best friend.” Not her best black friend, just her best friend.

My Dad grew up in a very small segregated southern town in the 1940’s and 50’s. He lived in a world that now I only see in pictures, water fountains and bathrooms marked for “colored” use, restaurants with separate entrances and sitting areas, white schools and black schools. It was a world of forced separation, the natural order of the way things “should be”, at least that was the mindset then. But my father, a man who by all accounts should have had the core foundation of racism built into his soul is not a racist. In fact, he doesn’t have a racist bone in his body.

I asked him one day given the era and environment that he grew up in why or how did he escape carrying those racist tendency that so many of his peers still struggle with today and pass down to their children and grandchildren. His answer was simple, as he was picking cotton under a blazing sun as a dirt poor white 14-year-old working shoulder to shoulder with dirt poor black adults and children he figured out that at that moment he was no better than they were. His white skin may have allowed him some privileges, but at the end of the day he sweated and bleed just like they did, not like a black man, but a man, a human. My Father has carried these lessons and observations with him his entire life and fortunately for me, passed them on to his children and grandchildren.

Both my Mother and my Father have spent their lives working to erase the harmful effects of racism. My Mother taught in an inner city, predominantly black elementary school for almost 20 years. She could have transferred to another school and was given the opportunity to do so several times. Schools with more resources, money and less stress, but she didn’t, she never did. For many of her students she was the first white women to give them a hug, certainly the first to have shown many of them any love, care or concern. Her hope was simple, change the paradigm. Maybe she couldn’t change it for all but every fire starts with a small spark.

Back to Pamela Ramsey Taylor, she lives next door to you. She goes to church with you. Her kids play with your kids. You see her at the grocery store, at Applebee’s, at the high school football game. And you read her post on Facebook and yes they disgust you but you remain silent. Why? For every one Pamela Ramsey Taylor who gets a Washington Post article written about her Facebook remark there are a million more, the racist that lives next door to you, that don’t. At what point do we quit letting our peers get away with making these kind of racist flippant remarks. Are we afraid of being ostracized? Being picked on, having our kids picked on? Or maybe not being invited to the neighborhood Christmas party?

If you are standing silently by while your friends post racist remarks on Facebook, or tell a racist joke I contend you are doing just as much harm by encouraging this behavior. If you profess to be a Christian, at least in my opinion, your actions or inaction are doubly damning “But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”

I really don’t want to lump Donald Trump’s 61,251,881 supporters into the category of racist but a few of them are making it pretty damn hard not to. Ladies and gentleman it is time to quit being silent. Given our future leadership it is easy for me to see this getting out of hand very quickly. I contend this tone is being set and propagated by a minority of Americans. Sadly though, at this point in time, a minority with a very loud and powerful voice. We may never erase racism but we also do not have to allow the racist next door to have a voice or a platform. It is our job, collectively, to prevent that from happening.

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About ends and beginnings blog

I am a frustrated writer and poet waiting to be discovered. A stand-up philosopher performing on a street corner near you. A Christian with questions but I don’t want to hear your answers. A Buddhist with a bumper sticker on my truck to prove it. A collector of quotes. A grower of lettuce. The Patron Saint of earthworms who name their children after me. A cyclist whose big ass strains the seams of his Lycra bibs. I am American by birth, Southern by the grace of God. My goal in life is to leave an imprint on the lives of the people I love not a footprint on the earth. I am a son, a husband, a father composed of 65%-Oxygen, 18%-Carbon, 10%-Hydrogen, 3%-Nitrogen, 3%-Diet Coke and 1%-Oreo.
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19 Responses to Environment of hate: The racist next door

  1. JJS says:

    Amen and amen.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I just love your parents. Just goes to show, racism is a learned behavior. Little toddlers of different races play together with no trouble; it’s the ignorant “adults” that f*** it all up.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ericstrong51 says:

    1. I disabled my facebook account. 2. I changed my home page from Yahoo to Apple.com. so I don’t have to see those sensationalist attention grabbing BS headlines. Now I just have to resist spending thousands on gadgets I don’t need. 3. I don’t read newspapers. 4. I don’t have instagram, tweeter or any other social media newsy type things.
    As Paul Simon sang, “I get the news I need on the weather report.”
    So, the people in my neighborhood where I live range from black, Indian, Asian and white. Probably white being the majority. Anyway, I didn’t see Pamela’s facebook post. I saw it on your post first. My initial reaction is that I feel some sorrow for Pamela, maybe compassion, but definitely not anger. She is merely a product of her environment, her past, her experiences, her upbringing, her FEARS. If I start pointing fingers, accusing, judging, criticizing, condemning her then start searching through my neighborhood to find others like her….is that so different than her remarks? Where does it end?

    Liked by 1 person

    • My Dad was the same product, environment, past, experiences, upbringing. Sorry, I am tired of that being an excuse.

      Liked by 2 people

      • ericstrong51 says:

        How would you change this woman’s perception of life or is it enough to be angry at her?

        Like

        • This woman’s anger and intellect is internal. What she has done is let the external form the basis of her anger and intellect. It is the tribe she is a member of.

          How would I change her perception of life? You change it by not rewarding her behavior. By calling her out, getting pissed off about it. Do you think stroking her head or ignoring it is going to change her behavior?

          There are two directions she can go, she can rethink her positions on life and people or go deeper in, telling the rest of us to fuck off. After an event like this most rational, sane people get reflective, and figure it out. I am rooting for her but by God I am not going to stand silent. It is unacceptable behavior. I can’t speak for God, just me.

          Liked by 1 person

          • ericstrong51 says:

            I get it. Ya, hope she rethinks her position. Good point. My mother in law never chose that option. She just got more determined to hold her racist bigoted views. She passed away hopefully without infecting others. Thanks for responding.

            Like

          • Eric, thank you for reading and for commenting. I write for this reason. I like to think, and I like to read other people’s thoughts. In my advancing years riding my bicycles, writing, reading and thinking are my favorite past times. You, my friend, make me think and for that I thank you. Peace.

            Liked by 1 person

  4. William Tell says:

    You probably won’t like my saying this.
    The way you use the term “racist” confuses me. The politically correct orthodoxy dominant in my world holds that “racist” and “white” are interchangeable terms. It says that in the American historical context, no white person, no matter how well-intentioned, can escape being racist. Actually, whether there can be any such thing as a well-intentioned white person, is a matter of considerable dispute. They are normally held to be incorrigible.
    In this context, when my neighbor uses a racial slur, it is incumbent upon me to hold him or her first as a child of God, no less a saint nor sinner than I myself. Whatever motivated the bigoted expression is something we may discuss some other time, when we can have a heart-to-heart. The immediate occasion is most likely not a teachable moment.
    A recent post mentioning accepting others’ prejudices: http://williamatell.wordpress.com/resentment-and-hope
    An excellent recent article about overcoming bigotry: http://www.vox.com/identities/2016/11/15/13595508/racism-trump-research-study

    Like

    • I disagree with your precept that a racist can only be white. The world is filled with bigots that are all colors of the rainbow.

      I also don’t share your side step child of God view. My God is black, my God is blue, yellow, green. Want to be a child of God? Act like one.

      Liked by 2 people

      • William Tell says:

        That a racist can only be white is what I am told in no uncertain terms day after day. If one does not admit that definition of racism, no conversation will occur.
        I decided a few days ago to start confronting that proposition every time it comes up.
        I hold that every human being is a child of God. As you indicated, not everyone acts like it. A large part of my evangelism has to do with encouraging folk to own their God’s-child-ness.

        Like

        • Every emotion, every thought should start from our heart, not our brain and definitely not from our tongue.
          My relationship with God zigs and zags but I am still in the relationship. My relationship with “God’s Children” on the other hand ebbs and flows like the tide. Show me your Godliness in actions not words. Show me your Godliness with your heart not your tongue.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Nan says:

    I agree … with everything you wrote. To make excuses … in any form … for the actions of this woman … or any similar action by anyone .,.. is reprehensible.

    Thankfully I was raised by parents who were not bigoted or racist. Although I lived in a “white” community, I was taught at a very early age that we are essentially all the same. There are bad and good in every race, color, or creed. And this belief has stuck with me … which is why it hurts my heart to see our “illustrious” new leader appoint someone to his cabinet that, based on considerable evidence, is a White Nationalist.

    Unfortunately, I’m afraid the next four years are going to bring out the worst in humankind. However, as you wrote: “It is our job, collectively, to prevent that from happening.”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Suze says:

    In the 1850’s I would have been defined as a negro. In the 1950’s growing up I was defined as a white. As an adult I do not define myself by the color of my skin or the lack of color in my skin. I define myself as a human being of intelligence, spirituality and empathy. Racism is neither black, white, yellow or brown..it is IGNORANCE AND FEAR. And until ALL humans see it that way, stand up against it, speak out against it, protest against it, believe with their whole hearts that it is repugnant and morally despicable, it shall rear its ugly head and divide us.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. My heart cried when I saw that comment about Michelle. I wanted to call the Obamas and apologize for our white ignorance and intolerance. I also have neighbors like yours; they trashed the Obamas every opportunity; I wrote Letters to the Editor of our local newspaper and got chastised for being a “libtard”; and I live in a community that voted 68% Trump. Be strong, brother, we are the voice of enlightenment and it’s up to us to out the racists and bigots. They live next door, they shop where I shop and, sadly, some are pillars of our community churches. I no longer bring God into the picture; this is about human decency. I believe too many of us use God as an excuse to ignore hatred when we see it. We need to get angry about it. I’m sure God is fuming. Didn’t mean to preach….sorry.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Nope, not preachy at all. As I said in a comment before, my relationship with God zigs and zags. This shit has got nothing to do with God RIGHT NOW. But if there is a God, a Pearly Gate, an entrance into the “Kingdom” it will have something to do with God for some then just as my past, current and future transgressions will have a reckoning for me.

      Liked by 1 person

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