I saw a news story recently that made me think about moments from my own past.
My own experiences with racism.
The news story was about a black actress that was detained by police and accused of being involved in “Lewd Acts” with her white boyfriend. I know that there is always more than one side to a story, so I am not promoting one side or the other. I am just going to share the experience of my own that this reminded me of.
My family is mixed.
I have 2 “half” siblings. I put the half in quotation marks because I have never considered them as “half”. My mother raised us and kept us very close, despite our age differences.
These are my siblings. I’m the gorgeously pale, sun reflecting beauty in the front, my beautiful little sister is behind me and our handsome older brother is behind her.
Check out this gem.
Aren’t we adorable?!
Ok, now back to the story.
I don’t remember exactly how old we were, but it was before my younger sister was born. I think I may have been 4 or 5 and my brother was 11 or 12. My brother had taken me to the park, like he often did while mom was working. We were playing and having a great time. I went down the slide and my skirt rode up on my belly and my underwear gave me one of the biggest wedgies EVER! My brother, helped me out by fixing my clothing and comforting me. We did not know it at that moment, but my brother caring for me deeply upset someone. Upset them enough to call the police and tell them that a black boy was trying to hurt a white girl at the park.
The police showed up. Grabbed my brother. Grabbed me and began to ask what the boy had done to me. I started crying and saying, “Nothing! He’s my brother!”. My brother tried to explain, but they wouldn’t listen to him. The police took us both from the park, in separate cars, to the police station. I was terrified!
I don’t know why they wouldn’t believe us. I don’t know why they wouldn’t listen.
My brother called my mom and she ended up at the police station having to “prove” that we were siblings.
It was a scary time. I was taken from my brother, who while mom was working, was my protector and they wouldn’t listen to me. All they wanted to hear was “what he did to me”. They didn’t want to hear that he was my brother and that he didn’t hurt me.
Growing up in a mixed family has taught me a lot. I have also seen a lot of change and tolerance come about for interracial families. In fact, my family continues to grow and change in diversity. It is just a solemn reminder, when I see stories like this one, that it is still a battle. That it is still not fully accepted. That racism is still present in more ways than one.
I raise my children with tolerance. My kids are part of an inter-racial, inter-faith, inter-sexual orientation, blended family. They know one thing. Family is family.
I hope that someday more people will know that one thing too.