You didn’t grow up in LA

Eileen Spillman
Wilsonville, OR

That was the line my husband threw at me whenever we argued about his burgeoning racism. I had grown up in a small lily-white town in Oregon where, he told me, it is easy to love all the races because they aren’t your next-door-neighbors. I hadn’t lived through the LA riots and had to barricade my neighborhood while they waited 3 days for police to show up. I had never had a gun pointed at my head simply for being white. I didn’t have to ride a bus to another school across town as part of desegregation. He knew more about history than anyone I knew, he read constantly, he was intelligent, artistic, musical, smart, funny, and … racist. I fell in love before I really saw this side of him and once I became really aware, I didn’t know how to counter his arguments. Not to mention he turned me on my head in regards to my own stereotypes of what a racist should look like. I knew in my gut he was wrong but he was right, I hadn’t had his experiences so I began to question myself. The thing I realized as I found my inner strength was that everyone, every single person on this planet deserves their OWN chance to show me what type of person they really are, not based on snap judgments. And even the guy who might be holding a gun to my head has a story, a reason, probably unspeakable things that happened before he got to that point and even that guy deserves a chance. In the end I couldn’t let our children grow up with his toxic diatribe and had to leave him, but I remembered that he too had lived through unspeakable things to get him to that point.

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12 Responses to "You didn’t grow up in LA"
  1. Cobra says:

    You are a disgusting human bean, selling out you children and their sanity.

  2. katie says:

    You can’t be serious. You destroy your family over this even though you state ” but I remembered that he too had lived through unspeakable things to get him to that point.”
    You are the reason this country is going (gone) downhill. Where did you get your relationship advice? Oprah? Dr. Phil? Basically you’re sayin, “there’s a part off my husband and father of my children that I don;t like, so I guess I’ll take the selfish route and destroy everyone’s life to satisfy some media programmed opinions to which I hold dear”.
    Even though you admit your former husband has experienced “unspeakable” things related to what you call racism and was “intelligent, artistic, musical, smart, funny” you blame him and punish your kids. I hope your children come to realize you sold out the family for some multicultural kudos and smugness.

  3. AConcernedBlackMan says:

    It sounds like the poor guy was given a racist outlook due to racism. Instead of trying to help him out with his hatred, you left him.

  4. Phil says:

    everyone has a story to get them to that point, but you ignore his story because you find it abhorrent,. how is this different to him, except his opinion is based on events and yours is because it’s what you have been told to believe

  5. Seigi says:

    Honestly… You claim that he “lived through unspeakable things” and yet you refuse to hear his side of the story? You left him just because you were sheltered and could not see for yourself why he was the way he was? It’s not called “racism”, it’s called “statistical correctness” if he himself has experienced it.

    I hope you live through what he had to go through, just because you refuse to learn from him.

  6. oyvey says:

    You destryoed your husbands life, your childrens future, and your own, all because your husband told you the truth?

    You are wrong, you are toxic, and you will never be the same again.

  7. You Suck says:

    You’re the perfect example of why America is going to shit. People getting divorced over minor issues thus creating disparity between their children and their parents.

  8. Anonymous316 says:

    Your hypocrisy disgusts me, Eileen. You’re willing to give someone who once threatened the life of the man you loved, but you won’t forgive him for forming an opinion as the result of his experiences?

    What, does “white privilege” erase your ex-husbands experience? You honestly think he deserve to go through that? Again, absolutely disgusting.

  9. oh lawdy says:

    These comments give me hope for humanity. The writer of this piece is bad and she should feel bad about being so bad.

  10. richsx09 says:

    I wonder if he would have felt the same way about all white people?
    If a white man had held a gun to his head for having red hair.

    One person’s act does not make one a racist unless the seeds of racism are already sown in ones soul. So many of you think that this woman should have stayed in the relationship and raised yet another generation of racist – amazing!!

  11. Sarah says:

    You want a medal for not judging someone for holding a gun to your head because your white? Afro people have their fair share to hate us for so they should get the medal of honor.

    • immabutz says:

      Pretty sure she was just talking about some of her own experiences, which is the whole point of this project, not looking for some kind of medal or recognition.

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