Wednesday, July 29, 2009
The effects of my Starbucks post linger and so I explore the possibility of any genuine racist intent. This urge for clarity is likely fueled by my experience with acceptance as an Islamic Jew in Bible/Klan Country(as detailed in my first post). To be honest, having been told I was not white most of my life left me in the dark(no pun intended). It was when I moved to the West Coast and lived amidst true diversity, that I thought: Hey, maybe I am white. I dunno. I will say that my both my boys are undeniably white/fair like Dad. For them, I am happy that they will never be asked or have to wonder "what they are". Tonight I retrieved a gift from my inbox. The opinion and perspective of someone whom I feel lucky to call friend and whom I admire. These are her exact words to me: "As a writer, you are obligated to present the truth of your observation. Stereotypes exist and are often humorous because most of us can identify them and they have become part of our collective identity, helping us navigate in a diverse and confusing world. I see a racist as someone who fears what is unknown and unfamiliar, and uses stereotypes as a defense and cannot see beyond it. In our supposedly "post-racial" world, people are uncomfortable identifying stereotypes. But, I see stereotyping and racism as separate but sometimes overlapping entities.
For example, I think Officer Crowley arresting Prof. Gates is racism. I'm sure professor Gates didn't fit any stereotype of a burglar. In fact, I think he was arrested because he DIDN'T fit the stereotype of a black man confronted by a white police officer."