Tuesday, August 4, 2009

MSG Speaks Truth

growing up in mississippi in the 1980/90’s racism was a way of life. in my experience it wasn’t something that was discussed because there was nothing to talk about. it just was. i never once had a classmate of a different race. i never had a teammate of a different race. i never had a neighbor of a different race. the only time i can remember this not being the case was when an asian family joined our church. at the time i didn’t know anything was different or if this wasn’t the case everywhere because that was all i knew. while i never heard anything hateful in my home, i heard it every where else. teachers at school would make it a point to say something degrading about black students and failing grades. at stores, i distinctly remember grown men making awful comments and at one point even pushing ladies down because they weren’t moving fast enough. i saw a lot, nothing like the 20 years before but enough to make you sick.

when you are a child you are taught to do one of two things when these things happen in front of you. either join in or keep your head down and walk away. never to stand up for what is right. because if you stood up for anyone outside the white race you were grouped with the people being beat down and you yourself were then pushed to the ground. i was never one to join in. i was the kid that kept her head down and walked away. and for that i am full of regret. i should have done something, i should have said something. but at the time i didn’t know that was an option.

i do believe that there is a part of you that is controled and formed by your environment. but only a part. i had every opportunity to be that person who joined in and believed the hate and abuse was what ‘they had coming.’ but there is a choice people have to make to understand right and wrong, to understand human suffering and to see that we are all actually just the same. luckily for me, i was taken out of that environment and i was able to see the difference. i was able to understand that this wasn’t just how it was. but i honestly believe that if i stayed in mississippi through high school i would still be that girl that kept her head down and walked away. because i had no one to show me how to stand up and fight against it. i had no one to show me that was an option.

although mississippi has come a long way since then it is still, in my opinion, not anywhere near being where it should be. and while there are no excuses for any type of hate, people have to be shown how to stand up to it. it is not mississippi’s fault or problem. it is every ones problem. it is up to everyone to say it is not ok and to stand up to it. every single time. no matter how slight or seemingly harmless. because until it is completely gone we are all at fault and we are all responsible for changing it."

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