So, like pretty much everyone else on the planet, the internet has become a normal part of my life. First thing in the morning, I get a cup of coffee, check on my sleeping kids, throw in a load of laundry and then check my messages. With a click of a button, I can check my email, look at the latest Fail Army videos, scroll through the newsfeeds…and not just those here in America…thanks to Facebook, I can see what someone’s having for breakfast halfway around the globe. The internet, while lately has become an addiction for many, does have it’s perks. I mean, let’s face it, we’re a nosy bunch! And we’re very good at chit-chat. We have a need to communicate. It’s a basic human need. To be accepted, to be loved, to be coveted by others. And it really doesn’t matter what the topic is. I’ve seen some pretty stupid stuff roll through my newsfeed….and of course….I click…..
But nothing stirs the pot MORE, than an article with a headline that reads one of two words: Black or White.
Boy…those words really get us going don’t they? There’s just something about them. Those words that divide us. Those two words that boldy point out our differences. Those two words, that you just KNOW will involve over 1000 comments in the comment boxes on Facebook. And it’s always 1000 people defiantly screaming….”I’m not racist” or some other random dribble.
Reflecting back into my childhood, I sat for over an hour this morning (yes…I know…I’m shocked too, that I was even able to sit down that long). I was trying to remember the first time, that racism…just as a general term, actually entered my brain and had any sort of meaning.
As a child, I spent four years in foster care. With kids coming and going, color never stood out in my brain. I was in care from the ages of 4-8….later adopted at 8. And at that age, color isn’t even on the radar. As a child, I saw other children…period. We lived in a largely diverse city and we had no shortage of foster kids. And with each one, there was a new playmate.
After my adoption, I went to live in a small, predominantly white, town. Still, color wasn’t at the forefront of my brain. I was a kid and color was just flat out, never a topic. Not because it was avoided, but it just wasn’t even on the radar.
Tea parties with my dolls, riding my bike, grades etc…that was about it. While I’d never seen my family interacting with anyone who was/is black, (and I’m not saying African…I know plenty of black people with ZERO ties to Africa. Nope….not African…I’ll bet some of you didn’t even know that not EVERY black person living in America has an African heritage. And if you didn’t….might be a good time to buy a map and learn all the continents and countries….meanwhile…zip your overly PC sarcasm…this is my article). It wasn’t done on purpose. There just wasn’t anyone black in our town. Seriously. And my parents hadn’t gone out and decided : ‘Let’s go a buy a house in a town without black people’….They were both BORN in that town. They just flat out grew up there...and decided to stay.
Flash foward: At some point, we moved out to the country. My dad often spoke of raising animals and having a large garden. And while we never got to the animals part, we did get the INSANELY large garden. He spent endless hours driving his tractor and plowing the field. My highschool was located…well…pretty much out in the middle of NOWHERE! Literally surrounded by cows and corn. Again, it was predominately white as well. Actually, I only remember one black student. She was an exchange student. And just do to that fact, everyone was completely falling all over themselves to be in her inner circle. They were awed by the foreign language she spoke, the fancy jewlery and the clothes that she wore (imagine that…she was from South America…not Africa...just sayin). Still, the word racism, had not yet entered into my head. Aside from social studies and talks of slavery, spoken to us by our teachers, it was never brought up. We were told: “It’s all in the past”….bla bla….moving on. And that was it.
After graduation, I did an extensive amount of traveling. Still young, the newspaper was of ZERO interest to me. I couldn’t have cared LESS about the current events. And still, racism did not exist as anything other than a word in a social studies book. It just wasn’t brought up…I had bigger problems. Like that cute guy sitting over by the self-help section, 3 tables over….OMG! Did he just look over here?!?!?!
Then…it happened…small things at first. When I applied for my first job, they asked me to check a box saying what color I was…or my nationality. It was actually confusing for me the first time. I’m strongly Native American (at least that’s what my adoption papers say. Actually, my fathers side…….. yet on my mother’s , mother’s side, their name is O’Quinn and completely Irish. So, for my first job application, I checked both! They probably thought I was nuts. (And PLEASE don’t refer to me as IRISH NATIVE AMERICAN…seriously….just plain ole American will do…thanks) And I promise I won’t hold it against your unborn child, who may or may not, have a distant relative…long dead…who may have owned a Native American. And you in turn, please don’t hold it against me, if my distant relatives…(probably pissed that a white dude was trying to take over)…may or may not have burned down a house, or some crap like that, of one your long lead relatives…seriously…fair is fair.
Anyway, moving on…….
As time went by, these little boxes became part of every single form…EVERY single one! Doctors forms, school forms, job forms, etc…EVERYTHING required me to check a box. A tiny little box that said: ‘hey…you…you aren’t like THAT person or THAT person or THAT person. It was an endless supply of boxes. Hey…if you like boxes…I got news for you….there are plenty out there! The IRS, the banks, colleges, insurance forms…take your pick…they’re yours for the taking!
But the boxes hadn’t quite spelled it out for me yet. Sure….they had required me to literally put pen to paper and separate myself from half the population….but that hadn’t really run it home yet. No…not yet…..
However, the news….oh yeah...the NEWS!….They didn’t just a hit a home run…they knocked it out of the park.
As I matured and started giving a crap about the current state of affairs…the news headlines never failed to point out the COLOR first and then the issue at hand. Always in big bold print. And it never said ‘WHITE man steals this or that’. Of course white men stole crap. But the headline in those cases, only read ‘MAN steals crap’. But you can bet your rear, if it was a black guy…it said ‘BLACK MALE does yada yada yada’.… Those sure were some attention grabbing lines, weren’t they? And prior to the internet, there was ZERO way to comment….nobody said anything….because who the hell would listen and where the hell would you write it???? And now it seems all we hear about, is white on black crime…..oh the irony. Is flipping the bigotry really the only way to end it?
As we’ve blasted straight into the Jetsons and info is just a fingertip away, it’s no longer a once a day headline. It’s HUNDREDS of them. Depending on which Country, State, County, City or Town that you follow on facebook. And if you REALLY fricken love it and can’t get enough of it…you can follow ALL of them. Just click LIKE! And in an instant, YOU…yes YOU TOO can follow every fricken newspaper on the planet! Or maybe you don’t even want real news….maybe you’d prefer to read ‘naked ole Harry’s’ news. You know, the guy typing from a room in his mom’s basement, while munching on ho-ho’s and cereal. I hear that guys pretty good! Loaded with conspiracies and a wealth of ‘never passed the 8th grade’ knowledge.
Today’s headlines, don’t EVEN MATCH THE ARTICLES! It’s nuts! But without fail, if we see ‘black’ or ‘white’….we WILL click on them.
What do you mean? It’s not interesting enough? Well…don’t you worry your pretty little head. Those journalists know just how to make it REALLY interesting! It’s actually really simple….
Just write a headline...
like the one I just wrote at the top of this article.