Inspired by a recent post by Beauty Addict, I spent some time browsing PostSecret recently. It’s one of my favorite sites — favorite ideas, really. Just that anyone with something deeply buried can share it with the world. I came across this one.
That’s how I felt, too.
Growing up in the Caribbean — where more or less everyone is a shade of brown, and where my people identify themselves as “Trini” rather than Afro or Indo anything first — it’s easy to really believe in a true, happy melting pot. As I got older, the blinders fell away.
The racism in Trinidad exists, although nothing shocks me quite like American-in-your-face prejudice.
But still, even as a 27 (almost 28) year old woman living in a part of America where again, more or less everyone is a shade of brown (whether or not they want to acknowledge it), I sometimes let myself still believe that racism isn’t as rampant as I suspect it is. That we really have come a long way since the Civil Rights movement, and equality isn’t a distant light at the end of a dark tunnel, it’s practically here.
Students at Tarleton State University hosted a party in which white students dressed up in the most stereotypically black costumes. The photos on The Smoking Gun tell the whole story. Revelers came “wearing gang apparel and Afro wigs, carrying malt liquor, handguns, and fried chicken, and even one woman dressed as Aunt Jemima.”
I am not a violent person… but seeing this girl pose with her 40 in hand, wearing her costume made me want to smack the smile off her face.
I saw this douchebag in his “I Love Chicken” teeshirt, and it made me so angry.
I was upset when I had first seen the Ms. Peachez video for Fry That Chicken, that my own people would produce these kind of embarrassing images. But the message I got from the Texas college MLK party cuts so much deeper down than that, I mean, even that “black people do it so why can’t I?” defense (that I noticed came up a lot during the Michael Richards incident) can’t excuse this kind of stupidity.
Still, one of the students tried to explain the rationale for the event: He “noted that the party was started a few years earlier “because one of best friends is black or African American, whichever you deem politically correct, to be his day not to dishonor him.” He added, “So I do apologize if you felt any disrespect because none was intended.“” Then he took the photos down from his Facebook page, and “stated that the party was not meant to be “racist or discriminating.””
Oh, well that certainly cleared everything up. That ol’ “some of my best friends are black” card sure comes in handy. Funny how there apparently aren’t any black people at the party, though.
Sometimes it feels like race relations are progressing, and there are honest attempts to heal old wounds. I was pleased to see that 71-year-old Klansman get arrested for his crimes forty years ago. But these party photos are the images of regression, and they are other clear indications that something is still rotten with race relations here.
They’re trying to roll back the hands of time in Fulton County, Georgia — the white part of the suburbs are pushing for secession from the impoverished black neighborhoods. So much for the illusion of integration there.
This goes back to my MLK Day post, how much longer do we have to dream?
I’m not sure how many of you know the expression I used as the title here, we say it a lot in my family and my American husband had never heard it before. “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.”
Wishing and hoping and praying hasn’t gotten us far. I think the time for us to wish and dream is over. I believe that it’s up to us to make positive changes, to dispel this kind of ignorance. But — and I want to hear from black and white readers, here — honestly, what can we do to make things better?