Racism doesn’t have an expiration date.

Courtenay M.
Miami, FL

I live in a city where racism is alive and well. Many say “You’re in Miami, there is no racism”, or “People don’t treat people like that anymore,” and the most used response I hear is “Maybe it was a misunderstanding.” If someone mistreats you, how can you debate with them how they were treated? People can’t believe that regardless of the time and cultural changes, that racism still exists. I have had other individuals of other races tell me that I should deal with it, had supervisors instruct me to entertain it, and all the while I am wondering is anyone paying attention? You see, I am Black by creation and daily my skin confirms this. When I get up in the morning, I am unaware that someone is going to use the color of my skin to set up boundaries I spend most of my day trying to avoid. When I am assigned tasks at work, I am classified as “the Black Task Master,” Why? Well since I’m Black, I should participate in everything that is in the hood, has “Dreams Deferred” attached to it, Martin Luther King, and a host of other pretentious, subliminal messages that people speak while attempting to be politically correct. So what do you do? Do you learn to adapt? Do you try to ignore it? Do you let it fester like an open wound hoping to get the care it needs so you can heal and move on? I could, but what happens when in the forgetting, the reminder of what you have spent most of your life facing continues to erode your methodology the way hurricane surges melt away the Florida shorelines.

In Miami, the racism that exists is between the very groups that make up the minority majority. I find it sad and discouraging because no matter the shade of brown, we are all fighting against the same stereotypes that cause both groups to further separate than unite. It seems as if the Letter from Willie Lynch has crossed cultural lines and as a society those stigmas have presented themselves like squatters in an empty house. It has even infected our government and corporate venues where “mis-communication” is the justified reasoning from racist behavior.

I can go on and on regarding the racism I face. Some down play it not because they don’t believe its happening, but because they have responded in ways that have either come close or crossed the line of having racist views. Everyone has a story and just because it isn’t “your story” doesn’t mean the story has no validity. What is pink to you maybe red to me but in order to get pink, red is the undertone.

 

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