Obama's recent impromptu speech on racism:
"You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago. And when you think about why, in the African American community at least, there’s a lot of pain around what happened here, I think it’s important to recognize that the African American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that doesn’t go away.
"There are very few African American men in this country who haven't had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me. There are very few African American men who haven't had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. That happens to me -- at least before I was a senator. There are very few African Americans who haven't had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off. That happens often.
"And I don't want to exaggerate this, but those sets of experiences inform how the African American community interprets what happened one night in Florida. And it’s inescapable for people to bring those experiences to bear. The African American community is also knowledgeable that there is a history of racial disparities in the application of our criminal laws -- everything from the death penalty to enforcement of our drug laws. And that ends up having an impact in terms of how people interpret the case . . .
"I think it's going to be important for all of us to do some soul-searching. There has been talk about should we convene a conversation on race. I haven't seen that be particularly productive when politicians try to organize conversations. They end up being stilted and politicized, and folks are locked into the positions they already have. On the other hand, in families and churches and workplaces, there's the possibility that people are a little bit more honest, and at least you ask yourself your own questions about, am I wringing as much bias out of myself as I can? Am I judging people as much as I can, based on not the color of their skin, but the content of their character? That would, I think, be an appropriate exercise in the wake of this tragedy."
— President Barack Obama
This is a discussion where people can air their grievances.
One of mine is this:
I was at the supermarket a while back and over in the back by the milk coolers was a black African family. I say they were black African because they were all happily talking in a typically African dialect among themselves in a sort of family unit.
I happened upon them and was not fazed at all in the slightest. In fact I was filled with excitement at the diversity and cultural differences in their clothes and language.
All of a sudden a white woman came up and looked over at me and said in earshot of us all. "Why don't you people go back to where you came from!"
It cut me to the bone. I backed away from her and walked away noticeably miffed by her coldheartedness and calloused demeanor. She looked at me as if because I am white I would easily perceive her remarks as acceptable. Also, looking at her appearance, I am sorry if I am stereotyping but she looked to me no better than white trash. What does white trash look like? I think I was looking inside and smelled nothing but stink and saw vile landscapes within.
This stuck in my memory for a very long time. I remember the smiles on the black people faces and hoped they did not hear or understand such hateful words. I am sure their English was better than my African.
Even today in remembering it I still get teary eyed.
Even further back in my life I remember when Fox News was on a hard campaign to denigrate the Spanish language. This was before I converted to an Obama loving democrat from a republican.
Fox News was playing all day how this New York restaurant owner had a sign up saying, "No English, no service". At the time I was a republican and I did not really see the dangers in such a edict. It was subtle but devious. Today I would refuse to eat at such a place.
Well I was at a restaurant and I heard these children speaking Spanish to their parents and it made me angry. I thought back to the Fox News how Newt Gingrich said Spanish was "the language of the gutter."
Fox News almost had made a racist of me!
One day my boyfriend was talking on the phone to his grandmother in Puerto Rico and he began to speak to her in Spanish. First off I did not even know he could speak Spanish. His Spanish was so authentic and pure because he was born in Puerto Rico.
Hearing him talk so lovingly and sweetly to her with words of such beauty something changed deep inside me. I found the old me before Fox News had bred their hate.
So I wrote this song in honor of this occasion... "Talk To Me In Spanish"
So the story goes on, I was at a different supermarket and I was in an excluded second aisle and in walked a Mexican family and the children were excitedly speaking Spanish. Suddenly this wave of beautiful emotion came over me and I began to joyfully cry. The kind of tears when you have found a lost child... I then realized I was in the right place again, in harmony with my fellow human beings.
As for English being the law of the land. It would be boring if the world was perfect cookie cutter people all identical, luckily, that is simply not the case.
There is perhaps some logic in immigrants learning English as a second language. I am trying to learn all languages, both old and new.. It is our diversity that requires the intellect to search the heart rather than the place of prejudice. Some people can change if they are not too far gone.
I will say it is worth the change. I refuse to be part of this division and even if I am being naive I feel social unity and acceptance, even reverence, of diversity is the way to a better existence.
I am just glad I had someone to show me the way to the place where I now exist. I have many more changes in my life to see through and it is odd to me that at 50 years, this old coot is still learning new things.
Please share your feeling here. I hope my words and music can relay the sentiment of my own experience.
The moral of this is, never let an isolated hateful experience obliterate the unity we all share in common. Bad happens... but just wait a while and good will SURELY overcome and vindicate a positive outlook.