Tuesday, March 16, 2010


I've been thinking about this post for quite a while - since Vegas, to be exact. I wasn't quite sure how I wanted to address it, but I knew that I just had to write something about it. For those of you reading who don't know me personally, I am not a prejudiced person and I can't stand to see discrimination in action - ethnic origin, religious preference, gender, etc. You don't have to agree with someones religion or their gender preference, but discriminating against someone because of this is pathetic. My daughter was married to someone of Hispanic origin and my son is married to someone from Taiwan. None of my children really see "race" as an issue when deciding to date someone or not. The color of the skin makes no difference; it's what is inside that matters to them and to me.

Color - trying to understand why "black" individuals refer to themselves as African-American. Yes, their ancestors probably came from Africa but many did not. There are other countries where they might have originated from. Since I am predominantly Caucasian, should I say that I am "European-American" since my ancestors most likely came from Europe? Some of my ancestors came from here (Cherokee and Mohawk Indian), so am I an individual of "European-Native American Indian-American" origin? What a mouthful. My grandchildren are very mixed so what are they? "Chinese-European-Native American Indian-American" and "Hispanic-Aztec Indian-European-Native American Indian-American" seems a little much to put on the census form.

Race - I can't stand the word "race" when used in conjunction with ethnic origin. We are all part of the "human race" so asking someone what race they are implies that they are something other than "human." Why can't we identify ourselves as someone of XXX ethnic origin and not XXX race?

Back to the discrimination....
I have heard "African-Americans" say that they are still victims of discrimination and I never could understand why they would say that. I'm not saying I was denying it happened, but I had never seen what they were talking about so I assumed they were just being overly sensitive. That perception has changed because of a minor incident in Las Vegas.

I was standing in line at Criss Angel's show waiting to get Ron and I some refreshments. The lines were terribly long and no one wanted to stand there for 30 minutes or longer. This cute "African-American" couple came up behind me and asked where the end of the line was. I said I was currently the end of that particular line, but there were three others they could choose from. They all looked about the same, so they stayed in my line. We chatted a bit and then they were looking at a menu and I was just looking around. This tall "Caucasian" guy came up behind me and asked where the end of the line was. I pointed to the couple behind me and said, "They are the end of this line."

He just stood there - between me and the other couple. I wasn't quite sure what to do but after 2-3 minutes, I looked at him again and said, "They are behind me in line so you'll need to get behind them." He looked down his nose at them and decided to change to a different line. I was frankly amazed. I really felt that he only left the line because I said something twice. If I had been silent and not stood up for them, he would have continued to stand behind me and cut in front of them.

Granted, that's not a big discrimination, but it did open my eyes to the fact that although this is a slight instance it is indicative of bigger things that they face every day. It does not excuse actions on their part to retaliate or act in an inappropriate manner but it does make me see things in a totally different light.

I have mixed race grandchildren. I don't want them to be the victims of the same type behavior as they grow up.

1 comment:

vaspillman said...

good for you! I am glad you spoke up! its better to speak up than regret it later. I have seen people act like that before, and it really is awful...I have seen it in regard to class, perceived "wealth" or lack of it...and in race. Its ridiculous...and its ugly, and very sad to see. good for you...its nice that you stood up for them...would be nice if all would be so brave.