Last night at dinner I was asked: "How do you know all of this stuff, do you study?" YES, I do..........
I have a very inquisitive mind. My wife often jokes, You're the only person I have ever known who read the dictionary as a child!"
It get's better..... They had a medical dictionary too. The words in this dictionary were as long as their driveway! I could not pronounce most of them. This went on for awhile until one day her daughter said to me, Jeff, mom has a photographic memory, she remembers everything that her eyes see. What in God's name is a photographic memory to a child of twelve?
In my youth Elizabeth was the first white girl that I was attracted to. She was a couple of years older. [We were kids.] Nevertheless, for me to like a white girl in our hood was tantamount to treason! This was the first time in my entire life that I was exposed to ridicule for liking a white girl. The kids in the hood were quite mean. I actually got into a fight with a kid named Reggie over Elizabeth. I left home around this time (That story is in my book) I have been gone from Rochester, NY pretty much since I was twelve years old. My mom and the bulk of our generation is still there.
The first time that I personally suffered the indignation of racism was via the black kids in my neighborhood. I knew at an early age that I was never going to be those black kids nor was I going to be the white kids who were just as ridiculous.
Shortly after the race riots of the 60's & early 70's the white schools were forced to add black kids, desegregation. I had no idea back then what was happening. My older (eldest) brother was bused to Charlotte High School. White parents lined the streets chanting, "Hell No, Niggers go home!" This was all over the news. One particular day while walking to his class my brother tells the story of being confronted by a group of white boys. One of the boys expelled a glob of phlegm from his throat onto the floor telling my brother, "Clean it up Nigger!" My brother walked away.
Most of my life, based on my childhood, I swore that I would never be like those people. I would never teach my kids to hate and nobody was going to dictate to me what I had to be, or who I had to be. Now that I an a student of the Kingdom of God, it simply is not in me to live deceived spewing racism. The irony is that racism is in every culture, every denomination, every religion, everywhere! Some of the most profound acts of racism that I have experienced as an adult is within Christianity. Some of the worst racism I have experienced is from the Asian community. Possibly the most ignorant form of racism that I scratch my head over is within the black community.
I once had a white, very wealthy business professional ask me, "Jeff, what is worse a Skinhead or a Harvard graduate who hates black people?" I answered the skinhead, he wants to hurt me! My friend said no, explaining, "The Harvard graduate feels a sense of entitlement and will do almost anything to lock black folks out of the corporate world. Adding, trust me, I know, I see it everyday!"
I have had to deal with this as well.
Well, for me, or my resolve was opening a book and learning how to spell, how to understand the world that I lived in. This became as important to me in the same way pulling myself out of quicksand would be to anyone. I do not have a photographic mind but I have an inquisitive mind. Not being mired in skin color, black power, and racial stupidity has been afforded to me because of those who fought, and those who have died so that I could be free in thought, free to be challenged and free to not be the color of my skin. I just cannot see living my life as though theirs was wasted. So Racism and Deception are spelled the same way for me.......They both destroy identity!
My wife, a white girl grew up without much, had a horrible father, terrible childhood and suffered a variety of abuses. We were too people looking for something better. Had nothing to do with race but everything to do with wanting something better. It ain't been easy for both of us and yes we have had to deal with racism and deception too! We are nearly 30 years down this road.
What this woman in the following video expresses I understand in the same way that I know how to tie my shoes! She did not change her identity but rather she embraced who she is.
The professor with the photographic mind caused me to read the dictionary. I would read the dictionary and comic books. The Bible was not in my childhood.