50 years of licit cohabition

I want to share two articles published for Loving Day.  Not just any Loving Day, but the 50th Anniversary of the legalization of interracial marriage nationwide Loving Day. Yay!  A lot has changed in 50 years.  And so much has not.  I think these two articles together embody that sentiment perfectly.  Sometimes it takes more than one thing 🙂

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The NPR post has actual audio (short and worth hearing) from the Loving v. Virginia trial and gives more details about the arguments in the case than I’ve ever encountered.  The New York Times Opinion Editorial shares short stories from current day interracial couples.  Find excerpts from both below.  Please click the links for full articles.

While “Illicit Cohabitation” is a great pull into the NPR mixed-media piece, the line from the trial that I find most fascinating is the one about psychological evils. The pro anti-miscegenation law argument that “these statutes serve a legitimate, legislative objective of preventing sociological, psychological evils which attend interracial marriages” really got my attention.  I wish I could say the statement is entirely unfounded.  But that is not true.  The statement is true, as is what he said next:  “Intermarried families are subjected to much greater pressures and problems than those of the intra-married and that the state’s prohibition of interracial marriage for this reason stands on the same footing as the prohibition of polygamous marriage, or incestuous marriage or the prescription of minimum ages at which people may marry.”  Ok, he totally lost me with polygamous and incestuous and statutory, but what came before that?  That is as true today as it was 50 years ago. And with everything that’s going on around here these days, there is no denying that.  That’s just the way it is right now.  What I hope we will all do is realize it wasn’t the marriages that needed banning, it was the society who’s psychology told it that there was a hierarchy to maintain and a gulf so wide as to never fathom crossing it.  And I hope we will see where the vestiges of those beliefs and laws still live in us and in our communities and that we will speak up for what is right and just and true. There is a lot of unraveling to be done. It shouldn’t have been so hard.

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It shouldn’t be so hard still.  The New York Times gathered stories that are current and honest.  I’ll be honest and admit that I only read the black and white couples because, while I’m being honest, Anti-miscegenation laws were primarily put in place to prohibit black people from marrying white people.  In order to preserve the master race.  And to prevent tragic offspring like me from upsetting the system with our all-encompassing, theory-disproving, potentially-unifying selves by just, you know, existing. But, I digress-

I think this can all be summed up with this quote from Jennifer, a white woman married to black man since 2001:  “I have learned that not only is “driving while black” a real thing, but also that riding with a black male will get you pulled over. I’ve learned to ignore disapproving looks from older white people in public places…I’ve learned that most people are tolerant, but that is different from being accepting. While we may have come a long way from the days of the Lovings, there is still a long way to go.”

To all the interracial couples before the Lovings and after the Lovings,

Thank you for your courage in the name of love while facing intense discrimination, judgement, adversity, and alienation.  Important steps toward waking us up out of the illusion of race.

thank you crystals

 

‘Illicit Cohabitation’: Listen To 6 Stunning Moments From Loving V. Virginia

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“Illicit cohabitation.”

“Psychological evils.”

“Racial integrity.”

It’s difficult to imagine how much the country’s language around race and interracial marriage has changed in the past half century.

But just 50 years ago, interracial marriage was prohibited in Virginia and 15 other states.

The Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Loving v. Virginia declared unconstitutional a Virginia law prohibiting mixed-race marriage. The ruling also legalized interracial marriage in every state.

Bernard Cohen and Philip Hirschkop, two young ACLU lawyers at the time, took the case of the Lovings — a black and Native American woman named Mildred and Richard Loving, her white husband — all the way to the high court.

Listen to six standout moments from the trial below, transcribed by the Supreme Court in 1967:

1. Cohen and Hirschkop asked the court to look closely at whether the Virginia law violated the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. If the framers had intended to exclude anti-miscegenation status in the 14th Amendment, which assures equal protection under the law, they argued that it would have been easy for them to write a phrase excluding interracial marriage, but they didn’t Cohen argued:

“Equal protection for Negroes”

“The language was broad, the language was sweeping. The language meant to include equal protection for Negroes that was at the very heart of it and that equal protection included the right to marry as any other human being had the right to marry subject to only the same limitations.”

 

Loving, 50 Years Later

This week marks the 50th anniversary of Loving v. Virginia, the landmark Supreme Court decision that invalidated state laws restricting interracial marriage. Recently, we asked readers to share their experiences about being in a mixed-race relationship. We received more than 2,000 stories in just a few days.

Many people expressed profound ambivalence about the categories that drove antimiscegenation rules, while they described how their racial identity — or how others identified them — continued to shape their relationships and their social interactions. Some wrote about the resistance they faced from family and society, while others celebrated the particular richness of their lives. Here are some of those stories.

BARB AND MATT ROOSE

Married: Medina, Ohio, July 18, 1992

‘Luckily we were young, bullheaded and foolish.’

BARB: I’m African-American and my husband is Caucasian. We married when we were 19 and 20 years old and we’ll celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary this year. We love that we get to celebrate such a milestone as the Supreme Court verdict celebrates a milestone too.

After we got engaged (which was mainly because I was pregnant) my then-boyfriend was asked by one of his family members: “Do you really love her or are you just trying to tick your parents off?”

We learned quickly that we couldn’t answer all of the questions that our families had. Luckily we were young, bullheaded and foolish, so we decided not to let other people’s issues with our marriage become our own. We had to focus on us. This meant that my husband had to sacrifice some of his relationships for a short season in order to marry me. Thankfully, they have since reconciled.

We made it a priority to make sure that our kids had friends of all races. Early on in our lives, we hung out with another biracial couple that looked like us, so that our kids saw black moms and white dads as normal.

As a couple, we learned to be upfront with each other about race. It didn’t start that way. Attraction led to confusion. Our life experience and cultural filters created a need for us to learn each other’s ways. Like, letting him, when he was my boyfriend, into my dorm room while I was relaxing my hair. I had to let him see me being fully me. Another time when my father-in-law and I went to a country music concert with his favorite artist — that was culture shock! But, it was the music of my husband’s experience and it helped me learn more about the people in my family.

It’s taken a long time to learn this, but we believe that our relationship is more important than one of us being right. We don’t want race to ever become a wall that divides us.

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ain’t been right

I know we’ve added many names to THE list in the year that has passed since Sandra Bland did… but I ain’t been right since hers was added.  And I ain’t been blogging neither, so I’m gonna start back there although there is so much fresh heartbreak to explore.  Please don’t assume that the others didn’t get to me.  That I didn’t feel a punch in the gut when Trayvon went down, when Zimmerman went free, when the music stopped for Jordan, when Eric couldn’t breathe, a wrench in my heart when Tamir was ambushed while playing in the park, when Freddie’s spine was severed on the “joy” ride, when no on was held accountable, when Alton was pinned and gunned down, or when Diamond’s little girl witnessed that horror from just a few feet away in the backseat- just to name a few.  I did feel it.  I do.

But Sandra Bland, man.  Sandra Bland was me.  And I ain’t been right since.  Sandra Bland was me, not only in the universal sense that because separation is an illusion and everyone is me and I am everyone, but because in the most practical, earthly, human, american way Sandra Bland was me.

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I love to drive.  Which is great because I drive a LOT for work. I love to drive fast.  And safely. Those things, too, are not mutually exclusive.  I am not reckless, I just like a little speed.  I like forward motion.  I like advancing toward a goal.  My dosha is clearly Pitta and once I have direction, I am off.  0-60 in no time flat.  That’s my approach in all things really for better or worse.  The way you do one thing is the way you do everything. As a baby I ran first, then walked, then checked out the crawling thing.  I was born this way.  It’s my baseline.  Various life lessons and my kundalini yoga practice have taught me the art and joys of savoring, of taking time, of being still… but still, I love to GO.

My anger has been tempered through these practices and experiences, too.  But, seeing as I am human and anger is a natural emotion inherently woven throughout the human experience, I still get angry.  And sometimes it happens quickly.  Especially in the face of perceived injustice.  In that intersection between speed and anger is exactly where Sandra Bland and I are one.

I have been pulled over.  It seems to happen in spurts with me.  Thank God there usually are long intervals in between.  When I was a new driver I got pulled over a few times. In the suburbs.  I always smiled sweetly and played dumb and drove away with a warning.  Maybe I really was dumb, not playing at anything,  because I had no fear in those situations aside from “I hope I don’t get a ticket” and “I hope my parents don’t find out.”  That was some kind of biracial white privilege induced ignorance, I guess.  Or maybe it was the era.  In the mid-late 90s we didn’t have cell phones at the ready, social media, incessant news reels.  There were no images in my mind of police brutality.  None that seemed extremely relevant anyway.  Rodney King seemed like a terrible one off.  I’d seen black and white pictures from the 60s, heard my mother’s stories about the dogs being unleashed on the black people and any “uncolored” supporters, but as far as I knew that was then and this was now and we were living in a world where a black and a white person made me… and I was having a pretty good life so…

Fast forward to my next set of traffic stops.  Four years ago.  So much hadn’t happened yet, so I was more upset by being made late to work and any fines that would be incurred than I was afraid for my life…but I was angrier.  I’d had more experiences in the real world.  I knew my “place” in the minds of the general white public and I was easily angered by the slightest whiff of prejudice, racism, or arrogance of any kind. Full of self-righteous indignation.  And one of those traffic stops in particular reeked of all of that.  But I’m pretty smart, and I needed to get to my appointment, so I kept my cool, took the uncalled for amount violations, points on my license,  and the fines and I kept on going.

But what if I hadn’t?  What if I had questioned why I was getting three tickets for a seemingly minor offense that was innocently fueled by a navigation system that kept changing it’s mind and suddenly called on me to exit the highway immediately from the far left lane?  What if I acknowledged what was really going on?  What if I allowed my bad attitude to match the officer’s?  What if I had “talked back”?  Thank God I’ll never know, but all I can think is: Sandra Bland.  Maybe that’s what would have happened.  And maybe it would have taken my white dad too long to get from the middle of the country to the east coast to come in and humanize me and validate my right to decent treatment as he was called on to do when I was in the emergency room with a broken neck.  And maybe I would be dead.

So, I ain’t been right since Sandra Bland because Sandra Bland was me.  In the past year I have noticed that though I generally prefer to drive solo so I can chant mantras as loudly as I want and I don’t have to worry about making passengers uncomfortable with my confident driving (I live and drive in NYC for goodness sake, I have to be confident), I prefer to drive with white people in my car.  Cuz like maybe if I get pulled over they can vouch for my character, or their presence will validate my existence, or… anything… whatever will save me from whatever might happen.  Sometimes when I see police cars on the road, signs of physical distress manifest quickly.  Three months ago I got pulled over for speeding.  I was speeding.  No need for self righteous indignation there.  But the sheer terror I felt in anticipation of the experience as I was pulling onto the shoulder of the freeway…it’s as frightened as I can recall ever having been.  The self-admonition I doled out when I realized I forgot to take off the bandana I was wearing to keep the frizz down til I got to work was harsh.  I have since forgiven myself, even though I got a ticket and not a warning.

It’s been exactly one year since Sandra Bland.  Looking around here I think, ain’t none of us been right since because look at how much is going wrong.  But I know that isn’t true.  That doesn’t feel true.  That’s the hurt and anger and fear talking.  And I hold space for all of that within myself, within us.  And I hold space also for the love and peace that can be found when tending to the aftermath of a broken heart.  A broken heart, is an open heart.  As a collective, we are not encouraged to have open hearts.  That takes courage and awareness.  And people who are brave and awake aren’t so easily influenced or scared into buying things.  #consumerism.

But here we are, a broken hearted nation.  A nation who repeatedly has broken it’s own heart.  And things have escalated to a point where more and more of us are unable to remain ignorant. Or silent.  I’m hoping we can make the most of this opportunity to lean in and nurture our brokenness into openness into oneness.

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Anne Lamott said: “Hope is not about proving anything.  It’s about choosing to believe this one thing- that love is bigger than any grim, bleak shit anyone can throw at us.”

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p.s. “i ain’t been right” is kind of a figure of speech.  if there is such a thing as “(al)right”, i have been it all along 🙂

 

multiracial family man

I was delighted to be interviewed by comedian Alex Barnett for his Multiracial Family Man podcast. I met Alex and his wife during the Katie Couric debacle of 2014. Not only do I like them because they are cool, funny people, but they remind me of my family of origin. That doesn’t happen all that often.

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I think we had a great conversation about race, interracial relationships, and the ever evolving multiracial experience.

You can CHECK it out here:

http://hwcdn.libsyn.com/p/c/5/3/c53470bfd6efc2e8/MFM_-_Tiffany_Jones_revised.mp3?c_id=8514010&expiration=1425994502&hwt=0a2cd49d00972f9ce2f6ffb01e43f568

or here:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/multiracial-family-man-ep./id969793342?i=337179665&mt=2

mr family man logo

And if you want more Alex Barnett, here’s a link to his website where you can read his blog posts and enjoy his stand-up: http://www.alexbarnettcomic.com.

the twins

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The “Black and White” twins are all over everything I’m seeing on the internet. The trending of the story brings the opportunity to gain more awareness of what we think race is, how we allow it to influence our identity, and (hopefully) how it all really just makes no sense.

I can’t figure out what prompted the interest in this particular set of twins this week. I’ve been hoarding articles about black and white twins for years. It bothers me that when they say “Black and White twins”, they mean one of each. Below is the actual title and opening sentence of an actual post about Lucy and Maria:

Biracial Twins: Sisters Belonging to Different Races:

I’ve heard that the odds of having a set of biracial twins belonging to different races is one in a million. One interracial couple somehow beat those odds…

Um, yeah… it is actually impossible to have a set of biological biracial twins who belong to two different races. If we’re playing along with the notion that there is a race other than human to belong to in the first place, these biological fraternal twins are of the same race(s). But, even the twins themselves seem to have adopted the skewed perspective:

Lucy says,

Maria loves telling people at college that she has a white twin. And I’m very proud of having a black twin.

I may be analyzing too literally, but the simple truth is that these sisters look different. They are of different phenotypes, not races. Their skin color (which is real) is different. Their race (which is not real) is the same. Me being me, I read their title of “black and white twins” like: They are “biracial” so they are black AND white. Both of them are both of them. And both of them have mostly white genes if we’re gonna keep on fractionalizing people into halves or whatever.

Let’s see what the way we talk about and consider these pairs can help us break our rigid notions of race and identity.

First, the biology. How does this happen? Something that stood out to me when reading about most of these sets of twins is that in the case where one parent is biracial and the other is white, that is not clearly stated. I think that’s because people are still unclear on how to process us realistically, but they can’t just say “black” because the half white part is a major detail in the equation.

In the case of the Aylmers it is stated that:

The girls’ nearly opposite features can be traced back to their racially different parents. Their mother, Donna, is half-Jamaican while father Vince is white.

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Ok, so Donna is half Jamaican and half white although they don’t make define the other half. Leaving her even more un-whole.  Disappointing to me, but no surprise since most people still think of black and white as mutually exclusive.  Stories like these help us to shift those deeply ingrained tenets in ourselves.  If we’re gonna look at this truthfully, Donna is technically half white and half black.  Vince is white. So how racially different are they? Not very, I would argue.

In most of the other cases the mother is white and the father is black.

There’s one instance where both parents of the twins are biracial with white moms and black dads.

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Twins Kian and Remee with their parents Kylee Hodgson and Remi Horder who both have white mothers and black fathers.

So here’s the scientific explanation:

Million to one odds:

The odds against of a mixed race couple having twins of dramatically different colour are a million to one.
Skin colour is believed to be determined by up to seven different genes working together.
If a woman is of mixed race, her eggs will usually contain a mixture of genes coding for both black and white skin.
Similarly, a man of mixed race will have a variety of different genes in his sperm. When these eggs and sperm come together, they will create a baby of mixed race.
But, very occasionally, the egg or sperm might contain genes coding for one skin colour. If both the egg and sperm contain all white genes, the baby will be white. And if both contain just the versions necessary for black skin, the baby will be black.
For a mixed-race couple, the odds of either of these scenarios is around 100 to one. But both scenarios can occur at the same time if the woman conceives non-identical twins, another 100 to one chance.
This involves two eggs being fertilised by two sperm at the same time, which also has odds of around 100 to one.
If a sperm containing all-white genes fuses with a similar egg and a sperm coding for purely black skin fuses with a similar egg, two babies of dramatically different colours will be born.
The odds of this happening are 100 x 100 x 100 – a million to one.

Taking all of those maths into account, this family is super duper special:

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Big sisters Hayleigh, left, and Lauren Durrant, right, hold their new siblings Leah, left, and Miya, right. Scientists say the odds of their parents, Dean Durrant and Alison Spooner, having two sets of fraternal twins with strikingly different skin tones and eye colors is ‘one in millions.’

Now on to the sociology. Honestly, I’ve always been a little worried about the darker twin when I contemplate how they experience the world.  Because the world will experience each of them differently and sometimes that must manifest in drastic ways.  As a child I was frequently in all white environments and I know first hand how it feels to be valued less than your fairer complected peers.  Frankly, as an adult I am frequently in mostly white environments and sometimes the same vibes are flowing.  But as an adult I know better than to take that personally.  As a child not so much.  That might sound sad, and sometimes I was, but because of those circumstances I learned to see beauty and value in places generally thought to have none.  That is a gift.

So anyway, I was worried about the “black” twin because I thought they’d be having similar experiences to mine and thinking, “But I’m really just the same.  We’re TWINS for God’s sake.  Why are we exempt from the same regard as all the other twins in the world?  And why am I getting the short end of the stick.  Unfair.”  I was also concerned that it could cause a rift between the twins and rob them of the twin bond which I always thought would be so fun to have.

Turns out I was wrong.  According to the interviews it seems that the lighter twin struggles more and there are no traces of a lasting breach between them.

The Aylmers

twin <3

(Of her childhood) Red-haired Lucy said her pale complexion had prompted speculation that she’d been adopted: ‘My classmates used to ask if I was adopted because my siblings are all quite dark.

‘It was pretty hard, it went on in secondary school and it wasn’t very nice.’

The impact this has had may be gleaned from this recent post on her Facebook page:

…thank you so much for all your lovely comments about the way I… look. I’ve never had so much confidence. I’ve gone from spending 3 hours covering up every inch of what I naturally look like before I left the house for as little as 2 minutes. To now wearing next to no make up with my natural red hair…

James and Daniel Kelly

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James (left) and Daniel Kelly, twin brothers

When Daniel and James went to nursery aged three, the twins’ skin colour plunged the family into controversy. “They were at this very politically correct nursery, and the staff told us that when Daniel drew a picture of himself, he had to make himself look black – because he was mixed-race,” says Alyson. “And I said, that’s ridiculous. Why does Daniel have to draw himself as black, when a white face looks back at him in the mirror?  Daniel had one white parent and one black, so why couldn’t he call himself white? Why does a child who is half-white and half-black have to be black? Especially when his skin colour is quite clearly white!”

Primary school passed without colour being an issue: but…everything changed when they went to secondary school… the racism they encountered there had a huge effect on them.

It all started well, says Alyson. “The school was almost all-white, so James was unusual. But it wasn’t a problem for James – it was a problem for Daniel.

“The boys were in different classes, so for a while no one realised they were related. Then someone found out, and the story went round that this white boy, Daniel, was actually black, and the evidence was that he had a black twin brother, James, who was right here in the school. And then Daniel started being picked on and it got really ugly and racist, and there were lots of physical attacks. Daniel was only a little kid, and he was being called names and being beaten up by much older children – it was really horrible. We even called the police.”

“I was really bullied,” cuts in Daniel, his face hardening at the memory. “People couldn’t believe James and I were brothers, and they didn’t like the fact that I looked white, but was – as they saw it – black.”

It is interesting that it was the white twin, Daniel, and not the black twin who was on the receiving end of racism…”Those kids couldn’t stand the fact that, as they saw it, this white kid was actually black. It was as though they wanted to punish him for daring to call himself white,” she says.

“I started to notice how angry Daniel was getting at school, how people were provoking him and how he was getting hurt,” says James. “And when he got pulled in fights, I went in too, to help him. I didn’t want to see my brother being treated like that.” James does not look like a kid who would end up in any fight: but, when his brother was up against it, he weighed in – and, says Alyson, the bruises and cuts they both came home with told their own tale.

They’re a straightforward, outspoken family, the Kellys: all they’ve ever wanted for their children is a fair chance in life. And if their youngest twins have made anyone think twice about their preconceptions about race and colour, they don’t mind that in the least. “It’s good to challenge people on race and sexuality and other issues where there’s prejudice,” says Alyson. “If knowing my boys encourages anyone to think a bit more deeply about how we label people, then that’s just great as far as I’m concerned.”

Amen to that Alyson.  And thank you!

In terms of the impact on the family in general, in every interview both the twins and their parents recount that they had many experiences in which in one way or another (sibling to sibling/parent to child) no one could believe they were related and they had to prove it and other similar nonsense.  I’m a big believer in “a family should be something you can see just by looking at it” because I know how it feels when that is not the case.  I don’t know how to describe the feeling.  It’s jarring I guess.  It disturbs the foundation of a person.  Of a family.  And for what?  By what merit?  At the expense of whom?

I say:  For nothing.  Based on no true merit.  At the expense of all of us.

while i was away

besides hoarding articles, traveling too much for work, and evolving into a more holistic version of myself I had a fantastic time chatting with Heidi and Jennifer on the Mixed Experience podcast while I wasn’t blogging over here.  Y’all know I love me some Heidi Durrow.  She’s not only been a wonderful friend to me, but an inspiration as well! Oh yeah, there’s also that riveting novel she wrote called “The Girl Who Fell From the Sky.” Such an important novel.  Period.  And in terms of the mixed experience it, like Heidi, is a true gem.  Here’s the interview if you’d like to listen.  I’ve been told it’s pretty good.  I also further explain why I had to take a break…again.

heidi and me

The Mixed Experience Podcast

i had no idea

…that Louis C.K. is Lynda Carter kind of mixed!!  No wonder he is so authentic and astute in the funniest of ways.  Not because he happened to be born Irish and Mexican.  Nor because his mother went to the University of Michigan.  It’s more about wisdom born out of experience or something like that.  When your experience and your self image do not match the one projected onto you by the world around you, you have the opportunity to observe things from a more neutral space.  One in which nothing is really as it seems because, as the main character in your life story, you are not as you seem.  So there’s a kind of duality to the experience that has the potential to lead you right into the oneness of it all.  Simply because the duality doesn’t work.  It doesn’t make sense.

The same scenario could also afford one the opportunity to go bat shit crazy.

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Louis C.K.: I’m an Accidental White Person

The comedy superstar reveals how coming to the U.S. from Mexico shaped his artistic sensibility

APRIL 11, 2013

Where does Louis C.K.’s off-kilter comic vision come from? Turns out the answer may be “Mexico.” C.K. was born in Washington, D.C., but moved to his father’s native Mexico at age one – he and his family didn’t move back to the U.S. until he was seven or so. “Coming here and observing America as an outsider made me an observing person,” C.K. tells senior writer Brian Hiatt in the new issue of Rolling Stone. “I grew up in Boston and didn’t get the accent, and one of the reasons is that I started in Spanish. I was a little kid, so all I had to do was completely reject my Spanish and my Mexican past, which is a whole lot easier because I’m white with red hair. I had the help of a whole nation of people just accepting that I’m white.”

“Race doesn’t mean what it used to in America anymore,” he continues. “It just doesn’t. Obama’s black, but he’s not black the way people used to define that. Is black your experience or the color of your skin? My experience is as a Mexican immigrant, more so than someone like George Lopez. He’s from California. But he’ll be treated as an immigrant. I am an outsider. My abuelita, my grandmother, didn’t speak English. My whole family on my dad’s side is in Mexico. I won’t ever be called that or treated that way, but it was my experience.”

what did i just do?

This right here…this is everything.  And right on time because I need a little hope right now.

102 year old Rosa Finnegan checked herself.  And though what she discovered left her feeling ashamed, she shared it anyway.  Nationally.  Nothing braver than that.  The self examination and the sharing alike.  And while I admire her and have teared up each time I’ve read the story, I can’t help but think “Damn, it took 100 years for her to ask herself ‘What did I just do?'” I am so not judging Rosa here.  I think she’s a hero. Not exaggerating.  I also understand that the racial climate into which Rosa was born in 1912 was much more “extreme” for lack of a better word.  Perhaps Rosa had much more racial bullshit to sort through than those of us born half a century or more later. So what’s our excuse?

I gotta say here, too, that Rosa isn’t a hero to me only because she was willing to explore her racial prejudice, but because she was willing to explore an aspect of herself that most of us would catalog as “bad” and then scramble to cover up, deny, suppress, ignore, or whatever.  So many avenues to attempt this kind of escape!  But the only way to freedom from this age old entanglement is through the honest investigation, the acceptance of what is found, and the willingness to shift to more holistic perspectives and behavior.  Without judgement, shame, or attachment.  Sound easy?  It is and it isn’t.  What do you do when you notice that someone isn’t white like you, black like you, mixed like you, straight like you, gay like you, rich like you, poor like you? How are your actions dictated by these observations? And are those really the things that define a you?  That define any of us?  I think not, but we sure do spend a lot of time identifying ourselves and each other by such measures.

At 102, Reflections On Race And The End Of Life

Rosa Finnegan celebrated her 102nd birthday on Wednesday. She was born in 1912 — the year the Titanic sank. She stopped working at 101 and now lives in a nursing home in Massachusetts. Time has gone by fast, she says.

Below are excerpts from Rosa’s interview, reported and produced by Ari Daniel and Caitrin Lynch.

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‘Not One Bit Different From Me’

Let me tell you something that happened to me here two months ago. It’s going to be a little hard to talk about this because I’m ashamed of myself, in plain English.

One day, they came and asked me if I’d like to move to another room. And when I was taken to the other room, I saw Ada, a black lady sitting there in her wheelchair with her oxygen tank beside her. And we had a nice little chat and I left. But first thing I noticed was that she wasn’t white, like I am, which is the thing that stopped me from moving into the room with her.

And when I got back to my own room, I sat there and I said, what did I just do? Rosa, you’re not a nice person at all. I felt very bad about that, so every time I went by her room, I would go in and sit and talk with her. And I met all her family. There was always someone there from the family to be with her. If she had some cookies or candy or something, she’d always say, here, have some of this. I felt kind of warm every time I went in to talk to her. And we got to be friends.

When it comes right down to it, she is not one bit different from me. She believes in the same God I do. She has children, grandchildren. And one day, one of the aides came to me and said, Rosa, do you want to go in and talk with Ada, she’s very sick and I don’t think she’s going to make it. Well, I went in and I did the best I could. She was sort of semiconscious and I leaned over and said, hi, Ada, how are you doing? And I didn’t get any answer. And her son was sitting there. And I said, if she should come to a little bit, please tell her that I was here and that I’m thinking about her. He said, thank you, I will. That night, she passed away. I haven’t got over it yet.

Even as old as I am, you think you’re not prejudiced but all of a sudden, you really find out you are. How stupid I was. Because before you know it, it’s all over. Thank God, I had a chance to really get to know this wonderful woman.

The reporting of this story was supported by the Olin College Faculty Summer Research Fund.

heart energy burst

whatever happened to

the KKK?  I mean I know they still have rally’s and such, but to me that seems more similar to a Civil War reenactment than a gathering to further a cause.  As if they’re remembering the good old days when they had an influence.

So what happened to put the torches out?  Did skinheads take over?  Neo-nazis?  White Supremacists?  Are those simply politically correct terms for the KKK these days?  Not exactly.  Apparently the Klan got caught, convicted, and executed.  Once.  And the one time that happened, they backed off.

The legacy lives on however.  Maybe if the hoods and cloaks hadn’t been hidden away we wouldn’t be so shocked by the actions of Dunn and Zimmerman.  Or by the juries who could not bring themselves to name those actions murder.

kkk jesus saves

Here’s the case that supposedly stopped the Klan.  According to the internet, there are some who didn’t get that memo.  Seems as though we’ve taken a few steps back, unfortunately.  In this post-racial age, we don’t get convictions.

 Henry Hays and James Knowles were arrested.  Hays, convicted, was incarcerated in the Holman Correctional Facility in Escambia County, Alabama, while on death row. He was executed in the electric chair on June 6, 1997. The Associated Press reported that Hays was Alabama’s first execution for a white-on-black crime since 1913. Hays was also the only KKK member to be executed for the murder of an African-American during the 20th century. U.S. District Court Judge W. Brevard Hand sentenced Knowles, then 21 years of age, to a life sentence.  He avoided the death penalty by testifying against Hays at trial.

Donald v. United Klans of America

Popular Name:

Michael Donald Lynching Case

Shutting down the notorious United Klans
Nineteen-year-old Michael Donald was on his way to the store in 1981 when two members of the United Klans of America abducted him, beat him, cut his throat and hung his body from a tree on a residential street in Mobile, Ala.

Angry that an interracial jury had failed to convict another black man for killing a white police officer in Birmingham, the Klansmen selected Michael Donald at random and lynched him to intimidate and threaten other blacks. On the same evening, other Klan members burned a cross on the Mobile County courthouse lawn.

The two Klansmen who carried out the ritualistic killing were eventually arrested and convicted. Convinced that the Klan itself should be held responsible for the lynching, Center attorneys filed a civil suit on behalf of Donald’s mother, Beulah Mae Donald vs. United Klans. In 1987, the Center won an historic $7 million verdict against the men involved in the lynching.

The verdict marked the end of the United Klans, the same group that had beaten the Freedom Riders in 1961, murdered civil rights worker Viola Liuzzo in 1965, and bombed Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church in 1963.

The group was forced to turn over its headquarters to Beulah Mae Donald, and two additional Klansmen were convicted of criminal charges.

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19 again

Basically, I never want to hear about post-racial America again.  And I hope no one is left wondering why I would spend so much time and energy talking about race since things “are so much better.”  Because they aren’t.  We’ve just gotten comfortable pretending that they are.

Today would have been Jordan Davis’ 19th birthday.  Happy Birthday, Jordan Davis.

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I don’t know what else to say about it right now.

This lady did:

How Keeping Our Sons Safe Makes It OK for Whites to Be Racists

BY: 

The Jordan Davis case led some parents to give their kids “the talk.” But doing so absolves white people of their responsibility to unlearn stereotypes that scare them.

The slaying of 17-year-old Jordan Davis by a white man who didn’t appreciate his taste in music had some black people scrambling to give black boys “the talk” about how not to scare white people into shooting them…a lot of black parents who love their children are probably repeating it. I understand it.

But I don’t like it.

I don’t like it because as practical as it is, it inadvertently feeds the notion that black youths, and black males in particular, ought to capitulate to racist whites in order not to suffer at their hands.

And any white man who believes that black kids ought to turn down their music because he doesn’t like it, even if they are only sharing the same parking lot for a few minutes, isn’t seeking respect.

He’s expecting submission.

Any white store owner, or night watchman, who expects a black youth to take off his hood because it scares him, even though that black youth has no plans to do anything scary, isn’t asking for respect but for his irrational fears to be coddled.

Most of all, I don’t like it because we’ve been through this before.

In the 2002 book Remembering Jim Crow: African Americans Tell About Life in the Segregated South, Charles Gratton recalled his mother’s instructions when she sent him to the grocery store. She told him, “If you pass any white people on your way, get off the sidewalk. Give them the sidewalk. Don’t challenge white people.”

Similarly, many black people who grew up during Jim Crow times remember being told not to look white people in the eye and to avoid doing things that might get them hurt or killed for being defiant or, as they would say back then, uppity.

A refusal to turn down music or take off a hoodie could translate into being uppity for whites like Dunn, who believe that black youths—who, like many of their white counterparts, are grappling with awkwardness and immaturity—owe it to them to suppress their attitude.

They don’t.

I get that it’s important to give black youths the advice they need to be able to live to fight another day, as Guns and others are doing. But we cannot forget the importance of fighting conditions, such as Florida’s “Stand your ground” law, that feed the idea that whites like Dunn can get away with fatally shooting a black youth like Jordan because he and his friends didn’t comply with their request.

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Jordan Davis’ friends

We cannot forget, because something is horribly wrong when, more than a half-century after legal segregation ended, when we have a black man sitting in the Oval Office, Jim Crow-era instructions are being revived to protect black youths. These instructions have little to do with young black people being respectful to white strangers and everything to do with them being submissive to whites—with black youths giving white strangers permission to cling to fears about blackness by not being so, well, black.

And when we make black youths solely responsible for not frightening white people with their music or their style of dress or their swagger, we absolve white people of their responsibility to unlearn the stereotypes that are scaring them.

Jesse Williams (Grey’s Anatomy, The Butler) did too:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UL5awaQNNQE

i’m sorry but, no, they aren’t atlanta black star…

…They are biological parents of black and white children (if we’re going to identify by race) seeing as biological means they share the same DNA.  Doesn’t it?  Or does race really just mean status, leaving biology out of the equation altogether?  In that case, I guess the children are black because that’s how the world will perceive them whether their famous white parent is around or not.  Until all of that changes 😉

8 Famous White Celebs You Didn’t Know Were Biological Parents of Black Children

February 13, 2014 | Posted by 

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Bob Dylan

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Mick Jagger

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Ellen Pompeo

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Justin Chambers

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David Bowie

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Peggy Lipton

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Chris Noth

Robert-De-Niro-Children-600x321Robert DeNiro