- Faith & Family
Trayvon’s Martin murder has stirred conversations about race practically on every level of our society. Although, I have tried to avoid discussing Travon’s case, a colleague of mine insisted on starting an unwelcome conversation with me regarding Blacks in America. Although he began the conversation speaking in the third person, he soon dropped the
imaginary third person and began speaking in the first person. Ah ha — I knew all along he was speaking on what he really thought about race in disguise. However, I wanted him to be real and it was okay for him to share how he felt.
In his view, Blacks in America use race as an excuse for everything that goes wrong in their lives and need to get over it. He went on to say being from another country he was discriminated against when he arrived in the U.S., so he personally knew what Blacks experienced here. He shared an isolated experience when he first arrived of how he was teased and humiliated at his job because he spoke with an accent. He boastfully explained that he did not let that stop him and he continued to work for the company and received several promotions. I acknowledged what he endured was cruel and unfortunate. However, even with his accent he was able to get a job, something that millions of Blacks struggle to achieve everyday. Then I let him know that I was offended that he would compare this isolated experience with centuries of slavery, segregation, lynching, Jim Crow laws and unresolved discrimination endured by Blacks in the U.S. I reminded him that my ancestors fought and died so that he and I both could one day work side by side and earn a living in this country. I also encouraged him to study the history of Blacks in America so he might understand that the civil rights movement wasn’t just about me it — it was about him too.
My colleague using his encounter with racism is just as cynical as me using my experience as a passenger on a cruise ship to that of a rafter.
Although cruise ship passengers and rafters travel the same seas with the same destination in mind our experiences are totally different. Granted, I could never compare my experiences to those of my sisters and brothers who risked their lives and everything they owned by traveling the seas in search of freedom. This is an experience I could never contend with and I respect the courage of all the people that made this journey. The reality is we all have experienced some form of racism or other social injustices in this country. Our experiences are real and at times very painful. However, we must be willing to forgive but never forget all of our struggles. We must continue to unite and fight the institutionalized and individual racism that continues to exist in this country.
Queen Brown is a freelance writer, a motivational speaker and a trained crime victim’s advocate.
By Queen Brown