When we gather at the dining room table it always amazes me what seems to creep into the conversations while we eat. Last night we talked about “race”, “racism”, and “the human race”. The conversation got me to thinking afterwords because we raise our children that there is one race on planet Earth and that is the Human Race. Why do we raise our children not to look too closely at race? Because a person’s race should have nothing to do with what kind of person he/she actually is. I like to call it breaking the race stereotypes.
The history of my beliefs is based on my own life experiences. Yes, of course, I understand that what works for me doesn’t work for others in every situation, but they are my developed personal beliefs that I try to live with. Meaning? When I was younger, 7 to be exact, my parents decided not to be married any longer for reasons I would not learn until after the death of my father when I was a teenager. When my mom got re-married we moved from the Black Hills of Rapid City South Dakota to the southwestern side of Houston Texas out in the suburbs. Up until that point in my life my interaction with other races was limited to white people and Native Americans (Cheyenne & Lakota Sioux). I had never met anyone of any other race until we moved to Texas.
My step father was, by definition, an open racist and homosexual hater. Growing up we would hear anything and everything negative about what he doesn’t like. Over time one gets brainwashed into believing the way he believes. However, in my defense, growing up a redneck helped me learn that people are people and their race or sexual orientation was not a precursor to certain behaviors. Although, if one watched the news too much one would here that the blacks, Mexicans, Asians, and homosexuals were destroying Houston bit by bit with their crime and cultural influences. I would regularly be in trouble with my father because we disagreed about his racist and homophobic views. I didn’t want to be any part of it so when I could I always made sure I would distance myself from it, people are people, we all belong to one race in my opinion, the human race. Sometimes it made life at home interesting and somewhat difficult, especially after my dad died, he was still stuck in the hippie mentality of love, peace, and rock & roll.
Soon enough after high school I was married to my high school sweetheart and going into the United States Air Force. The first lesson every single person learned when we got off the bus for AFBMT (Air Force Basic Military Training) at Lackland AFB in San Antonio Texas was that we were in the military now. There were no races, no sexes, and the only thing we were to see from each individual from this point forward was that this person was camouflage and an Airman in the United States Air Force. I appreciated this new way of thinking a great deal, it really made sense. While in AFBMT we were all equally worthless maggots. After AFBMT people tend to go back to their old ways, the ways that they were raised, they would group themselves together based on race it seemed more often than not. In the careerfield I chose it was taken many steps further, we were AMMO up and above everything else. AMMO was a brotherhood that I am still finding out this very day is built on the platform that we are who we are but we are always part of the AMMO brotherhood. my first daughter was born while I was in the Air Force so she wasn’t bombarded with all the race bullshit that civilian born children would be bombarded with. She was now an Air Force Brat.
After the Air Force I found myself back in Texas. I was lured into great riches from my father who was a concrete contractor at the time. He was busy and needed help in the “family business” and I was unemployed so the job sounded good. Due to where we live, most of the skilled labor in the construction arena were of Mexican decent. My father treated them like shit, treated them like dogs, treated them like they were less than humans. I couldn’t stand it in the past and I couldn’t stand now. I hoped as he got older he would mature and mellow out a bit, but I was wrong, he was still a bitter old white man who believes that if you aren’t white you aren’t worth a shit. I didn’t last long, not for obvious reasons, but because he decided to retire and close the doors of his business he had been doing since the mid 70s. He had a good run, made some decent money, and wanted to retire. So be it.
Life continues, right? It did. I also re-married after getting a divorce. My new wife came with a little girl, barely 1 1/2 years old at the time we met. I would find out over time that her ex is quite a racist as well, reminds me of my father in many ways. Now, over time he has tried to rub off on my daughter, yes, my daughter, I am her dad, he was but a sperm donor. But, she wasn’t raised that way, she wasn’t raised to hate a person based on their color. My son, he as well, has not been raised in that fashion. All of my kids see it daily at school, work, and with other families of their friends. But they know that treating people like shit based on color is a choice and they choose not to be that way.
I want my children to see that we are all humans, we belong to the human race, there isn’t anything else that matters, period. Of course, as they get older their influences will change and all we can do is hope we raised them right and in a manner which is comfortable for them to accept. It is sad to see but racism is still strong here in the United States. But nowadays I need to sit back a bit and look at who is being the racist. Just because a person is white doesn’t automatically make them a racist. I know, what a concept. Listen to the music today, listen to the news, listen to the politicians, and listen to your neighbor, racism is alive and well. I fear it may never go away because too damn many people are getting famous and getting rich because of racism. Racism isn’t the answer, being a human being and being part of the human race is what is important.