American’s and racism
A few days ago, i was on my way back from having a sunday debrief session with my friends in Santa Monica. I was on high spirits after spending a lovely day, hanging out in Santa Monica, drinking beers in the sun and analysing the week’s past events as well as the weeks upcoming events. I was travelling on the interstate 10 back to Pasadena and flying along the freeway at 75 mph.
Suddenly my car came to a screeching halt and i found myself in a tonne of traffic. Not unusual for LA to be completely honest, but today was different. There were people on the freeway. Now, if you havent been on the freeways here in California, this is something that never happens. Sure, someone may break down and get out of his car, but this is usually on the shoulder of the freeway. Oh no, not today! There wasnt just 1 person on this freeway, there were dozens of people… holding up signs, masks over their faces and they were right in the centre of the freeway blocking any cars from going through… mine being one of them. They were yelling, screaming, protesting. I wound down my window and heard them chanting “Trayvon… Trayvon…Trayvon…”
Trayvon Martin. An african-american kid was on his way home after buying a bag of skittles and was gunned down by a bloke called Zimmerman – a white security guard. Zimmerman was let off which caused an outrage in American society.
The media was spouting racism as the cause but an armed security guard gunning down a boy whose only armed with a bag of skittles (no matter what colour of the skin) is just plain wrong.
This led me to question racism here in the US. In Australia, we are a very multi-cultural country. Yes we have our differences with our bogans and One Nation following but generally, we are a country…. mixed with many different nationalities…. and we all get along.
“California can be a very racist state” a friend of mine said to me recently who lives in Newport Beach – a beautiful area in Orange County.
“How do you mean?”
“Well, there are certain areas of California that are very well off and very white. Kids are brought up with the ideology that you should only have white friends, date white people and marry into a white family…. There is very little interracial mixing” she says.
“So it comes from the parents?” i say.
“Yeah when i was brought up.. my parents wanted me to date white guys – which i did, until one day i told my mom that i was dating a black guy… My mom responded, “Honey….are you sure this is what you want to do? This is not the kind of guy we could see you with. Are you sure you want to go down that path?”
As she was telling me this story, i started to think…. Seriously? People are like this? How can the colour of a person’s skin or nationality dictate who you should or shouldnt be with? Not only that, how can a parent say that to their child? Shouldn’t they be the ones setting the good example? I was fortunate enough that my parents brought my sister and myself up with accepting and respecting every human being. Human being is the key word here. We are all human beings. There is no colour or nationality discrimination in that word.
The way i see it, if i was a parent, why should i care who my kid was dating – black, white, hispanic, asian, australian, american, gay, straight, bi, tattoo’d etc etc… If my kid is happy and is being treated right then that is what should count! Sure, i can guide them and yes they will make mistakes. I encourage mistakes. But I will spare them my judgements and let them discover their life for themselves. Its their life and its their decision.
I have heard this type of racial behaviour from alot of friends here in the US. I have seen alot of it in the media and have actually witnessed it for myself. Dont get me wrong, this is not just about Americans as racism exists all over the world… but it is extremely evident here in the US even though they try and hide it.
The Trayvon Martin case whilst being different to the example i have just described, the similarities are the same. It shouldnt matter the colour of the skin, who does the shooting or who doesnt. The fact that someone can gun down an unarmed kid is disgraceful. The fact that a parent can be so concerned about appearance rather than their child’s happiness is disgraceful…. and it makes me question….
When will we ever learn?
- Trayvon Martin protest spills onto Santa Monica Freeway (laobserved.com)