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March 04, 2010

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Becky Phillpott

You've got it right on baby! I should send you the message I wrote, but never sent, a year ago in December, when the two students were shot and killed in Lincoln Acres after a run-in with gang members, coming home from a party at 1:00 AM. In many ways we are in two different worlds.

Suzy

A black friend of mine was pulled over here in LA. There had been no traffic violation committed. He asked the officer why and the cop said "We've had a report of a stolen car just like yours."

My friend got so mad he said "Me being black had nothing to do with it?" The cops backed off. My friend was driving a very used Honda.

gary rith

Sadly, America is still full of hateful rednecks. I guess they have nothing better to do than worry about other people rather than minding their own business.

Sam

I agree with you 100%. Where I live the racial tensions are every where and the assumptions are alive and growing. I live in a town of blacks, mexcians, very poor whites and moderately well off whites. Magnified by an anitquated southern attitude. It's pathetic and heart breaking.

busy bee suz

I agree with you and this is a very sad fact of our society. I think we are getting closer...but never close enough to equality.

Manic Mommy

A sad reality. But what to do? Changing hearts and minds will always be at issue - on both sides of the racial divide.

Meaty food for thought, J.

Reluctant Blogger

Yes, that is a good way of getting the message across in a way that everybody can identify with.

I am glad that my sons were not born black. I get irritated enough by all the obstacles put up in the way of them as it is, but if they were black I think I would be a permanently angry person.

I don't think it is quite as bad here - well, it probably is in some areas - but it's hard for me to judge.

Slow Panic

No we do not and I am so sick and tired of people sticking their heads in the sand.

Tammy

So very true! I have a black friend (a teacher) who lives with her doctor husband and 3 sons in the affluent town bordering the one I live in. Her sons were frequently brought home by local police wanting to know if indeed they lived there. When they started driving? The same thing, getting pulled over in the neighborhood.

At the hospital where her husband works he was asked, by a patient who was not his, if he would empty the garbage in their room. It's just shocking how people are.

I don't know how to change it except through teaching our own children tolerance and acceptance.

kcinnova

Sadly, it is true. I hope your words can change a few (many!!) hearts and minds.
The comments others have made with examples of racial profiling make my stomach clench. We have so very far to go.

Kristen @ Motherese

This is a beautifully written and well-reasoned piece. While there are certainly some signs of improvement - the willingness of our nation to elect an African American president, for instance - on the ground, I don't see much change in racial assumptions and prejudice. A lasting problem, I think, is the racial isolation of many American neighborhoods and, therefore, schools. As long as many of us don't live together en masse, I don't think there can be much progress in judging individuals rather than groups.

Thank you for this thoughtful post.

jenn

Very well-put, Jenn. This is such a powerful post. Eradicating racism is something we all need to WORK at every day. It's not just going to happen for us.

Mom Taxi Julie

What's kind of funny (sad) about that is my husband's nephew is white and has been in jail quite a bit for stealing cars!

green girl in Wisconsin

Gosh you have insight, Jenn. I haven't stepped back and considered these things in a long time. Thank you for your post and making me SEE better.

jenrantsraves

You are very right! I can't imagine the fear African American mothers must feel, considering just the idea of Dylan driving(years from now) makes me nervous!

Chrisitna

A rule of mine has always been that I cannot possibly speak for ANY group of people except for single, white, working moms - because that's me. I refuse to speak about what any OTHER group of people might be feeling because I am not in their shoes. It irks me to no end to hear anyone try to speak of racism (or any kind of-ism) when they have never been the victim of it.

Your analogies are PERFECT! Such a great way to look at it.

And as someone who went to UCSD for 2 years of undergrad in the 80s I am just shocked at what is going on there 20 years later.

Fannie

A very sad commentary on our society as a whole.

Deb D

I have tried to drill into my kids that wanting something to be so - does not make it so. It is easy in Canada to have the false perception that racisim doesn't exist - particularly in a 98% white middle class town like the one we live in. Growing up in northern Canada I remind my kids about the residential schools (that they never learned about in school) and the internment camps for Japanese Canadians during the second world war. The conditions that some of our first nations people are living in are truly appalling although not widely known. We should never allow ourselves to forget because if we aren't part of the solution we are part of the problem.

Jocelyn

Absolutely, and it always takes away my breath when I hear people assert that racism is dead. Racism is so deeply ingrained that we can't see it any more; that I believe. But your points are spot on.

Melanie @ Mel, A Dramatic Mommy

I lost the thoughtful thing I was going to say after reading Reluctant Blogger's comment.

Jenn @ Juggling Life

Mel,


Id love to hear what you wanted to say. I think a lot of people would.


I dont know how you took Reluctant Bloggers comment. Shes British and I get what she was saying. Shes a lovely person and I think her message was that life is more difficult for black youth than white youth. I can see where it sounds a little odd.

Jenn

Lisa @ Boondock Ramblings

Actually, I can see how Mel read it wrong too. It caught me off guard a bit, but I don't think Reluctant Blogger meant it to come out so harshly...or did she literally mean "I am glad my kids aren't black..."

Good post..as usual it has us all thinking and talking.

Kelly, The Glass Dragonfly

You are right, we do not live in a post-racial America. We still have a lot to do...all of us.

Amber

I agree and disagree with you all in the same breath. Growing up as a white minority in a border city in AZ, then moving to an all-white Idaho town and then marrying someone from a racially divided Alabama town (whose best friend is controversially a black man), I have a lot of different experiences with profiling.

Growing up where I did, a black teenager would never be pulled over solely for the color of their skin or the entire force would be working over-time to pull over half the city on any given night. Fast forward a few years to small-town Idaho, where a black teen would be pulled over for looking at a cop the wrong way. And then my experience while visiting my in-laws in Alabama jolted me into an entirely different reality: segregation still exists. Blacks live in 1 town and attend the "black" high school, while whites live in another town and attend the "white" high school. They NEVER mix the 2. A black student would NEVER enroll in the white student's high school. It's unheard of. I was floored.

And now today, my husband is the cop. In his first year on the force he was following a vehicle that kept weaving across the double yellow line and failed to stop at a stop sign. He was justified in pulling the vehicle over, but when he approached the obviously intoxicated driver to give a ticket he discovered the driver was the president of the NAACP. The driver screamed racial profiling, which was impossible as the windows of the vehicle were tinted so dark one could not see in. Supervisors got involved, complaints were filled and my husband almost lost his job because the president was angry he had been pulled over, like any other drunk citizen of ANY race would have been.

All of my experiences combined illustrate one point: while it varies by city, region and state, racism is alive and well. It is sad. It is frustrating. It is reality. But because it is often ignored, it may never be fully corrected.

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