Sunday, November 6, 2011

Bye bye Racist!

I used to have this secret fear that deep, deep down, way inside of me was a racist!

yep. It was my skeleton in the closet.

Well, recently I decided to drag it out and really examine this fear...

I'm Black, married to a White man. That automatically should say, I'm not racist right? However, I am so weary when it comes to friends. With my husband, I can run around, we play, we chase each other, we laugh, have discussions and I feel perfectly fine -no thoughts of color.

When I'm with friends, I wonder if they are truly my friend. We can have discussions and I feel like a whole person when I'm around them. Oddly enough, alot of these usually were married to Black people or dated them or had some sort of "badge" that shows they are okay with Blackness.

Some I know they are not truly my friends. Some are my friend as long as I stay shut. Like a good little girl. As long as I just receive and not put out anything of my own (basically, as long as I work towards my inevitable implosion).

After a while, If i'm not careful, this can make me turn passive aggressive. Then I have to avoid those "frenemies" so I don't do or say anything wrong. If it still goes undealt with, then I get more outwardly nasty or make snippy remarks which I hate!!!

Anyway, thank G-d I am really good at avoiding the frenemies.

Nevertheless, I just wanted to meditate on it a bit. I have found that if a person has actually dated and/or married a Black person, then that makes me more receptive to them if they are White. But also, if they are into kabbalistic or mystical things or if they are into "different" cultures other than their own culture that also relaxes me. Some how, if they are Black, i seem to be less inhibited already. I can have opposing views from them, but we can still go to the shuk together, be around each other for Shabbat, etc. I can even show effection and care more readily...

Some months ago, I bunch of friends -all White, when together to hang out in the park. It turned into a fun water fight, but somehow I just could not participate. I wanted to. But something held me back and so I stayed with the other ladies who didn't participate for whatever reason. The ones who didn't participate were the ones who viewed themselves as the "spiritual leaders" of the group. I didn't participate, not because I thought I was "up there" with them, but because I just wasn't sure of their true grit, in-the-trenches, friends til the end, friendship. I just wasn't sure if their friendship was real or not (nothing to do with hair). And its usually the heads that I avoid or tend to have the most problems with. The 'little people' usually not so much.

Anyway, based on all this, I don't think I'm a racist. Even the Israeli army discovered that having two Ethiopians in a brigade was more effectively positive than just one. Its a funny need.


יונה אברהם said...

Shalom Miriam,
This was a very interesting post,because I also feel a dualness when I am with Black people or Jewish white people.Basically I don't trust whites and they have to prove to me that they aren't racist to get close to me,whereas with Blacks I start off being open to them no matter what religion or where they're coming from.

I don't feel it's racism though,but I know I am very watchful about whites.The latest thing that has come up with me is that I told a Black Jewish woman I know that I never talk about Blacks to whites(Jews)and never speak against Jews to Blacks,even when I have negative things I want to say.I am protective of my people(s) and sure I've slipped up a couple of times and one of them happened recently.

I had been very into the Dark Girls documentary and mentioned the subject to an Israeli lady that I see on a regular basis.She had never heard of colorism and was shocked.I immediately regretted saying anything,although I've often talked to her about racial things and because she is a secular Jew she has a lot of very liberal beliefs,which coincide with my own.I had to explain to her that this lighter/darker war was alive and well all over the world and wasn't some Black American thing.

The reason I told the Black Jewish lady was because we have the same doctor here and he knows we are friends,when in reality she is a frenemy.He told me that she'd told him that her family in the States was bad mouthed and talked about because there were Jews in the family by other Blacks who were jealous of them.I didn't know what to say because I'd heard that already from her.It never occurred to me that she would tell someone white,because it's a negative thing to "brag" about.I knew she was very different from me in regards to keeping negative Black stuff among ourselves,but this bothered me.

So I had to let her know that I didn't tell white folks negative things about Black folks,or things that reflected badly upon them and I certainly wouldn't tell Blacks anything negative about Jews,and I've certainly experienced some things.She didn't respond and I know there are people who'd say "what's the problem if it's the truth"?.

Well as you well know there is truth that has ramifications far beyond what we know,and I don't have the problem of having to articulate every thought or feeling that I have.What's the point?

Miriam said...

יונה אברהם

For the longest i feared i was a racist lol.

Look at what racism and its aftermath can do!

But yes its not easy to bear all. Once i opened my mouth to some one just to criticize something about Israel's politics... o boy! the whole hatred came out of that person. I had to leave. So yes its really not so simple to just bear all as America encourages (i think).