Sunday, July 1, 2012

My Grandparents Racist Past

My consciousness of racism in society was non-existent until 1st grade. I'm half-white and half-black. My biological father (AKA "Sperm Donor") is a light-skinned black while my mom is white. My skin tone was smack-dab in the middle of theirs. (Nowadays I'm barely tan. The entire white side of my family is darker then me!). Skin color was something that I never paid any attention to until one day on the playground when a girl my age called me a nigger. That was when I learned the proverb:

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.

It was about eight years later when I learned of one of the numerous divides between my mom and my grandparents.

My mom ran away from home at 14. Her parents, my grandparents, had an unspoken rule of her not allowing to date anyone of color. This would be an easy rule to follow because she grew up in an inherently racist white town, population 20,000 (??). I use the word inherently because there were zero people of color. My grandparents had virtually no contact with blacks. They didn’t hate them per se. People of color were just deemed inferior; they were "The others". When my mom ran away, ironically, she hooked up with a person of color. When that relationship ended poorly, she clung to another African-American who she eventually married. From these two relationships my mom had three children (a sister - 18 months older; brother - 2 years younger). All three of us were 50% black!

The three of us is what ultimately cleared the scales from my grandparent’s eyes. It was easy to be racist when the people they were directing it towards lived a couple hours, if not, a couple states away. But when my grandpa had to babysit my older, colored sister and I, while my grandma rushed to the ER to watch my mother give birth to her third, colored grandchild - COLOR DIDN'T MATTER.

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