This is in a nutshell my views and opinions of not so much the world, but of the “Land of the Free”, the United States of America that we live in. I unfortunately as a child learned quickly that I was different than all my peers. I grew up in Clyde, Ohio which is a small town that is still to this day is predominately a white city. It started to set in when I started school and realized that I was different than everyone else except my sister who was two grades ahead of me.
See, I was raised by my grandparents on the Caucasian side of my family for reasons unrelated to the Hispanic ethnicity of my father’s family. My mother had never married my father and the step-father that she chose to have my two half-brothers with was a violent man towards his step-children. Actions that are still under question caused my grandparents to step in and file for full custody of my sister and I, and had no trouble doing so. Unfortunately my mom and brothers were left in that sort of situation and not till I was older and questioned it did I know why things were the way they turned out. After realizing the circumstances I see now that it was for the better of the two of us, I just wish the rest of my family could have gotten away also. I’m sorry to say that the older of my two brothers passed away in a vehicle accident almost one year ago, God rest his soul, but the younger of the two has been blessed with beautiful twin boys that are now four years old and smarter than ever.
Now that there is some family background I will get back to the part when I noticed a difference. My grandparents insisted that all their children go through a Catholic Grade School, so with that it already narrowed class size down to twenty to thirty students per grade. Now in school the color of my skin wasn’t much of a factor, at least not that I actually heard. Matter of fact I think my diversity made me more appealing to the teachers to teach me, and also helped a little with the lady folk. Outside school on the other hand the public school students were not afraid to voice there opinion. I heard all kinds of different terms used most memorable being mexi-billy, due to the fact that I grew up in the country. Luckily I had quite a few of kids my age that lived nearby way out in the country, conveniently, who sometimes made fun but reassured that we were still friends and it was just harmless bull-shitting between us. As close friends give each other shit, that’s just what we did to avoid boredom out in B.F.E.
That was my childhood in a quick summary, and it was actually a pretty well rounded one, except for the sheltered ness of the conservative catholic upbringing. All that aside I enjoyed my childhood while I was in it. Although there was always those questions about my parents in the back of my head that I would just have to wait till I was old enough to figure it out for myself.
I am now twenty-six with a beautiful girlfriend that has two children ages nine and eight from her previous relationship and one of my own on the way. Although I consider the two mine since I’ve been there for more than half their lives and love them as my own. I do believe that its love that makes up a family and not just blood, regardless of color, race, or gender preference.
Now since we’ve all been together we have moved from Clyde, a small white powered town, to Sandusky, which is a little more diverse, to Huron, another small predominately white town. When I asked my nine year old daughter about the population difference between cities and schools they’ve attended she answered me “What difference” , she is unaware that color is a difference yet. She sees it as being a boy or a girl, you’re just born that way, and that’s wonderful to hear as a parent. One thing that does come into play in her life is the aspect of being one of the smarter kids in the class and shying away from raising her hand to often, afraid of being called a know it all or maybe worse. This idea coincides with an article I found in the Sandusky Register titled “Classmate’s criticism stuns smart student into silence.” This was actually a Dear Abby letter from a teen that was shun from answering teachers questions in class due to classmates criticism, this is an awful prejudice to use against someone and instead should be promoted.
Now, on to my father, now 45, who was of Hispanic descent growing up in Clyde. He went through up to his tenth grade year of school until one day in science class the teacher asked a questioned. At first called on him, and when he hesitated to give out the answer the teacher spat out quote, “you wouldn’t know the answer anyway your just a stupid Mexican!” This as you could guess was the last day of his school career. Of course a meeting was arranged and the teacher was made to apologize, but it just wasn’t enough, he had humiliated him in front of twenty five other students who still would have thought it was fine to use such racial slurs.
Now other the other side of the story was my mother who was white but also a woman. She stated when asked that it was just assumed men were more likely to prosper while women were to grow up to be housewives or possibly receptionists. She was the oldest of my grandparents children and also went to a catholic school where sex was a “hush, hush” discussion between students and wasn’t a topic for public discussion and definitely not at home.
Now she has traveled all over the U.S. working and says the discrimination is still at its best. Mostly in bigger cities, which you wouldn’t think due to the vast amount of cultures. She has came to the conclusion that no matter what its you, yourself who needs to make a name for yourself and not expect things on silver platters regardless of color, race, or gender.
Unfortunately racism and prejudices are things that are always going to be right around one corner or the other. Just like Tim Thomas in our first reading “A Year of Trouble” he might not have been doing anything at that moment but by running he showed suspicion and being a known traffic offender he made the officer perceive that maybe there was more going on at that moment. It’s tragic that it did end up the way it did in a casualty but according to the past and the area the officer thought that he was in danger, at least I hope.
All wrapped up all these issues that have been discussed definitely will need to be worked on and polished for the rest of human existence. Hopefully it all comes around full circle when eventually everyone’s all the same color due to interracial couples, and no one can then point the finger without four pointing back at them.