After reading my article titled, Mislabeled, a very good friend of mine, Sindi Claypool, shared a very heartrending story about her experiences with racism, or reverse racism as we normally refer to it.
Sindi has given me full permission to share her experiences. I pray that the message of her stories sink into the hearts of readers and that they will understand how racism affects people on both sides of the table.
A true story as told by Sindi Claypool
Some people call it reverse racism, but racism is racism. Reverse racism would be love and acceptance no matter your skin color.
When I was 16 I heard about a history class that I hadn’t yet taken. It sounded fantastic. It would tell me the bits of history that I had never heard before and, being a history lover, I was super excited to sign up for the class.
When I sat down in the class I did see I was the only “white” person in the class, but I didn’t really register that this would be a big deal. I mean, it was Black History, I assumed black kids would be very interested in their own history.
When the teacher entered the class and sat behind his desk, he looked up and I saw he was startled, surprised, when his eyes met mine. He asked me, “Do you know what class this is?”
I said, “Yes, Black History.”
“Why are you here?” he asked.
“To learn Black History.”
“Why?” He asked.
“Because I believe there is a big gap in the history I’ve learned so far and I want to learn the rest.”
“How many people here want this student to stay?” No one raised their hands.
He looked at me poignantly, “Do you feel like a speck of salt in a pepper factory?”
“I feel like the only white person, but I’m okay with it if you are.” I replied.
“How many want her to leave?”
Every hand went up.
So I left.
Three years later I was in the hospital and I saw a girl from school. I asked her, “Hey, aren’t you Brown Sugar from Vanden High School?”
She said, “Yes, but my real name is Cheryl.”
I said, “I always admired you, you were, are, so beautiful and talented.” Her nickname was from a dance troop and singing group she was in at school, very popular in the 70’s.
“I admired you too, you were so fearless in school.” I thought she meant the several fist fights I got into. “I mean, you sat in that class and took all that hate and still wanted to learn about our history. I wish I hadn’t raised my hand. I think it would have been awesome if you had stayed.”
We spent the next 24 hours gabbing like school chums and young mothers stuck in a room together. I never saw her again, but I was grateful for all those conversations, especially that first one.
Here is another true Story as told by Sindi Claypool
My neighbor and good friend was a deaf white girl with bi-racial children. We became good friends really quickly, me knowing a little sign language and her an avid lip reader. We both had 3 children around the same ages so there was also that in common.
I took her to town one day to go grocery shopping. We were in line when she remembered a forgotten item. I took her baby while she ran back to get the item.
While she was gone some old white woman walked by me and gave me such a look of disgust. I actually looked down to see if my boob was hanging out or something! She was judging me because I was holding a half black baby.
I guess I thought we were living in an enlightened age because I was shocked! I had to bite my tongue. I was fighting with my angel, I wanted to give her a big piece of my mind. However, I know when you give a piece of your mind, you lose a piece of your mind and they gain nothing.
I asked my friend if she saw a lot of racism because of her kids. She rolled her eyes and signed “much, much”. It really hurt my heart. I almost cried. She had to hug me, console me for the hurt done to her daily.
Open Your Hearts
After reading Sindi’s stories, I hope the hearts of many would open up as people realize we are all God’s children. Our Father’s greatest gift to us is love and one of His desires is that we love Him, of course, and that we love one another.
John 15:12 says:
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
I am thinking that in actuality, we are all brothers and sisters. We have the same Father, which makes us a family. And as a family, we should look out for each other and take care of each other in the way a family should.
Today’s Video: We Are Family (WSM Compilation Edit)
Artist: Sister Sledge
Writers: Nile Rodgers, Bernard Edwards
Licensed to YouTube by: PEDL, Sony ATV Publishing, Kobalt Music Publishing, Warner Chappell, LatinAutor - Warner Chappell, BMI - Broadcast Music Inc., UNIAO BRASILEIRA DE EDITORAS DE MUSICA - UBEM, SOLAR Music Rights Management, and 7 Music Rights Societies
My mind started reeling at the recollection of a conversation that happened about 33 years ago. The conversation started with a young black male labeling me to be a racist. In that moment, I had to tort back with, “You’re calling me a racist? Really? I am a black woman married to a white man and you are calling me a racist.”
It is not the first time I have been mislabeled, and while I have moved on beyond previous character labeling botches, this one sticks with me. Why? I don’t know. I think it is because it kind of hurts my feelings that someone would think I, Marlene Bertrand, judges people by the color of their skin.
To continue with the story let me say, this black man said yes he was calling me a racist because I did not marry a black man, and so by default, I am racist against black people. Well now, doesn’t that just beat all? Isn’t that stretching the concept of racism just a little too far? I mean, really?
Today I am thinking out loud about racism and what it really means.
What does the dictionary say about racism?
I went to Dictionary.com for the answer. Here is what it says:
"A belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human racial groups determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to dominate others or that a particular racial group is inferior to the others."
Given the definition of racism, I am pretty sure I am not a racist person and I thought sharing with my accuser that I was married to a white man would secure my standing. It did not. This man was determined to take his accusations to the grave, maintaining that I was a racist to my own race. How am I to walk away from this racism argument a winner? I admit, I had to look at him sideways to see if he was pranking me. Was this a joke? No, he was serious. Sadly, there are people like him everywhere.
People throw accusations around like they are a piece of penny candy. Penny candy is cheap and anyone can afford it. I call people who go around accusing people of this and that, Accusation Artists.
What is my definition of an Accusation Artist? To me, an Accusation Artist is someone who, without legitimate evidence, and relying on nothing more than their own gut feelings, without rhyme or reason, randomly accuses people of things.
I think it’s unfair to lump everyone into a group accusation based upon the color of their skin so that suddenly, everyone with that skin color represents all the people of the nation who have that color of skin.
Don’t people know that skin color is determined by a person having a different level of melanin in the skin? It is not a basis for classification. It is simply a DNA thing.
But, let me move along with my thoughts.
I have to tell you that I am highly offended by the kind of classification and labeling that suggests that because I have more melanin in my skin that I am destined to be some predetermined person. The truth is, I am a self-contained individual. I do not represent a class of people. I represent me. I do not identify myself or others by their color of skin. I identify people by who they are – individually. And, my experience in life suggests that, for the most part, other people also identify people individually, as well.
Encounter With Racism
Have I encountered racism? Yes. There have been several times I have run into people who did not know anything about me, but chose to disrespect me specifically because of the color of my skin.
Here are two incidents that stand out most prevalently in my mind.
We Are All People of Color
We are all Gods people. Do you think God chooses by color, which He is going to love? I don’t think so, friends. To God, who made us, we are all pleasant in His sight. He made us in multiple of colors and, like any Father, He expects us all to get along nicely.
Let's read Acts 10:34-35
I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism, but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.
Unless we are God, we have no business judging and labeling people. We are just a bunch of people from all across the nation, of all colors, living in the same world.
Like a bowl of fruity cereal, color does not matter. Each bite is a mouthful of delicious fruit flavor. Friends, we come in many colors, shapes, and sizes, but when we come together for one another, we make up a fabulous nation.
Forget about the past. Burn all of the nastiness, just like my husband and I did with the note some sad individual tried to use to shake up our world. Let us put all the nastiness behind us and start a new, lovelier chapter in our life… a life where color does not matter… a life where color is just another shade of beauty.
I am generally a quiet person, but at times, my thoughts run deep and wild. Most of the time, I keep my thoughts to myself, but sometimes, I feel the need to shout it out! These are just my thoughts and opinions, which may or may not be the same as yours.
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