I am 75% black and 25% Cherokee Indian. My father is black brick layer from Mexico, Missouri and my mother is half black and Cherokee Indian from Macon, Missouri. When asked what race I am on informational forms I use to say black because there was no opinion for multiracial people until 2000. As far as my ethnicity goes, I’m a little confused. Even though I am black, I’m not African nor do I practice any African culture. I am part Indian but I have no ties to the native culture either. So I can only conclude that I am of American ethnicity.
Growing up as a kid I was naïve to race for the most part. Up until I was eleven years old, I can’t remember being singled out because of my color. It wasn’t until Jimmy, the white boy from up the street told me he couldn’t invite me to play basketball in his backyard because he parents didn’t like blacks; that I even realized that racial issues even existed. I guess after that event I began to open my ears and make sense of my father’s scaling words, “The White Man ain’t gonna give you s*** for free. You gotta work twice as hard to get everything.
Anytime my sisters and I didn’t do our homework or misbehaved in school we got the “white man speech. ” Born in 1955, the year Rosa Parks was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama for not giving up her seat for a white man, Emmett Till was killed by a white man and the Civil Rights Movement was being set in motion, my dad had a different view of racism than me. I could see how his views reflected a world ran by white men with no promising future for any other race. By no means was my father racist, he had white co-workers that came over the house all the time.
I don’t think that his goal for us was to dislike them, he just wanted us to know that we were born into disadvantage because of our color. I started out my high school years making friends with many different races and ethnicities. I was a part of many different school programs that threw people of every walk of life, like the Multi-Cultural Choir. I treated everyone the same but had my thoughts of disadvantage always hanging over my head. I thought the Chinese kids were smart and just as rich as the white kids with their cars, expensive clothes and popularity in and out the school.
Although everyone seemed to get along I believed most of them looked down on us blacks. I came from a family of “hand me downs” and rode the bus to school as did most of us black kids. My thoughts were never confirmed by anyone’s actions or confessions. Our school was a melting pot and every race had there rich, popular and athletic share. September 11th happened in my senior year of high school. Even with all the knowledge being stuffed down our throats, no one could understand such a heartless act. There was a different vibe in the hallways when Arab kids walked by.
Jokes were made, racist threats were made, and “rag heads” became the names to mostly anyone who looked like them. I didn’t take part in the bullying but I was mad at “these people” that terrorize America. I finished out that year with a sense of paranoid thinking. What was gonna happen next? Who they strike closer to my home next? I would say this event definitely opened my eyes to the political size of the world. Years later in my adulthood I have continued a relationship with people of every color and ethnicity. I have learned that no one can take responsibility for their race’ behavior.
There is no particular behavior that is tied to just one race. Every race has its criminals, people living in poverty, rich, famous and so forth. I’ve seen my share of suicide bombers, school shootings, serial killers, homeless people, and the rich and famous. We all at the end of the day are human beings. We all have the same God given right to be who we want to be. Some have to work harder than others but we can work together as a team to change that. We can help provide the future generations a world where race doesn’t exist.