I was all prepared to end my blogging hiatus with a post about my pampered pooch-Soon hee, however,
I ‘ll have to save that for another day. As Soon hee and I were a few blocks from home and concluding our 3 mile round trip walk, a not so funny thing happened.
While approaching the crosswalk, just before our turn, I heard
My response, “excuse me?”
This time, the words were crystal clear “where is the weed at?”
It took a moment for me to adjust myself and I asked him to repeat his question
“where is the weed?”
Me: Um, I don’t know
Him: What, am I in the wrong neighborhood?
Me: Perhaps (long silence) why are you asking me?
Him: I just thought you would know
Me: Why would you think I should know?
Him: I just thought (moment of silence) everyone likes weed
Me: not me
After this exchange, we both continued in different directions. As I got closer and closer to home, I found myself asking the all too familiar question that many with rich melanin skin ask themselves each day, “did he just assume I’d know because of my complexion” By the time I arrived home, I was sure that he was just being ignorant-but why? As soon as I walked through the door, I cleaned my pup’s paws, gave her pumpkin water and made a phone call to my significant other. I explained to him what’d just occurred, His response “You know that guy was just messing with you right?” I replied, “I kinda figured he was being ignorant.” This guy must have thought he was going to ruffle my feathers, instead, I decided to ask him why rather than dismissing him altogether.
My brief exchange with this individual signifies the ignorance of stereotypes and racist undertones that continue to exist today. It’s not a matter of joking around, such questions come from a deeper place. Instead of continuously ignoring that racism/ignorance and unjust stereotypes are a “thing” of the past, we must acknowledge that it still exists and at the very least, a melanin rich person must push past such stupidity each day. It goes without saying, that this curious, “weed-searching”, passerby is what many consider the face of America-as he was Caucasian. I think the events of last year, last week and even yesterday are screaming to us, THERE IS A PROBLEM WHEN IT COMES TO RACIAL RELATIONS IN AMERICA!
There is a common expression, it goes, “my only sin is color of my skin” and unfortunately it continues to ring loud and clear. When will others learn, stereotyping a person because the color of their skin is NOT okay? Refusing to acknowledge a person or having a dislike for anyone simply because they are from a different culture or racial group is NOT okay. One does not have any control on the culture or ethnicity they were born into any more than any of us can control death or taxes. So if you find that you have been guilty of any of the above-STOP it. You are a part of the problem. There is good news though, reconditioning your thinking, searching for new language, adjusting your attitude, dismissing stereotypes, removing hatred from your heart, and opening up a sincere dialogue with a person of another race, will likely crush every presumption that remains. Stop being the problem, stop being in denial that “we are living in a different era” and become a part of the solution. At the end of each day, no matter how much many think we are all different, one commonality remains-we are all people and we want to be SEEN for WHO we are and not for what others ASSume us to be be.