My first memory of racism, well, my first realization of racism, happened when I was a young child. My little friend was black, and I had never thought a thing about it either way. Our families were close friends, like family, with one another. That is all I knew about it. At some point I had heard a hurtful word that people use to descibe black people. My dear friend, my brother and I, were having an argument, and she was called that word. I, ashamedly admit. Wow did we get a lecture that day, and it was well earned and well learned. We were just children and we didn't come up with that word on our own. We were influenced by someone else. That's how these things happen, and way to often.
I am happy to say, my friend and I, along with the rest of our families, still to this day, are, each others, chosen family. All of us, consider one another our brothers and sisters now. I'm so thankful, we were taught by word and example, that we are all equal and important, and to be thankful for one another.
Later on, when I was a preteen, I lived in a different community. It was a small town with a nearby oil company. It was a small town area, but with a big oil boom, a lot of people had moved there for work. I remember happily, that in school, we had several black and hispanic and white children there. I loved it. Even though I was shy a lot of times, I always enjoyed being friends with others, and at that school, I was treated that way too. I know there were probably underlyng tensions there. I guess. But, thankfully, I was oblivious to them.
I was a kid. It was the early eighties. Life was simple. The only kids I didn't really like or think well of were bullies, and thankfully they were few and far between. I only really heard one hint of racism that whole time, and it brought me down a little, but I certainly didn't dwell on it. At the time, I just let the remark go in one ear and out the other. A bunch of us kids were outside, I was visiting with one of my friends. She was hispanic. We were becoming very good friends. She was just a sweet as could be, I was very happy to have her as my friend. While we were visiting, some other hispanic children came up and really seemed astonished that we were happily chatting with each other. I didn't realize at first, that there was any sort of racial issue, there at school, or in my life at all. Not until my friend explained to this little group, that I was good, that it was ok to visit with me, that I was fun, that I wasn't like a lot of the other kids were. It made me feel good to hear these good things about myself; I felt the same way about her . But, I realized that my friend and the others of her race, or nationality were not always respected and well treated by others. As I share this personal experience, I remember, going with my Grandpa to buy a bed, from I believe it was someone he worked with in the oil fields. We drove up to the house, and I was Grandpa's little shadow, so I tagged along with him. The man and his family were so sweet to me, and I remember we had a nice visit. Later, I remember my Grandpa talking, I believe to our household about how sweet the family was, and what a shame it was that some people were unfriendly with people, just based on the color of their skin. My Grandpa talked about how happy he was, that I cared the same about people, period. That made me so happy.
The experiences, such as the ones I have just shared with you, deeply ingrained in me, the desire to always be the same way, for the rest of my life. That is what I strive to do, and hope to do.
For the rest of my life.
I am so thankful that there are a wide array of colors in the human race. They are all beautiful. Every single person is unique, and that is wonderful!
It means a lot to others, when we show them respect, dignity and love. This is not a hard thing to do at all. It's free of cost and does so much for others, and ourselves.
Respect, dignity and love! Be happy and help others be happy too.