Statue of Liberty (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)
I remember prancing around on stage in some fifth grade extravaganza, singing “Aaaaamerica is a melting pot…” I think I was wearing a cardboard Statue of Liberty headpiece and stars and stripes of some sort.
Anyway, the song’s been stuck in my head since the election, and I’ve been wondering if maybe — just maybe — our nation might be entertaining the notion of pursuing its promise – strength through diversity.
Old White Guys’ Last Hoorah
I’ve been feeling hopeful about race relations. I mean, our African-American president has been elected twice. While conspiracy crazies and FOX News will no doubt find imaginative ways to insinuate, or say outright, that he didn’t *really* win, reasonable people know that this was no fluke.
Our president is a black guy, and I still think this is incredibly awesome. True, the white vote went for Romney in most states, but exit polls tell us that’s largely due to old white guys, which isn’t surprising.
They are seeing the America they used to know – the one where they were in charge – slipping away.
As Senator Lindsey Graham told the Washington Post, “We are not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long-term.” I guess Mr. Limbaugh isn’t doing his job.
God love them, but good riddance to those good old days.
Rush with his buddies
And Now For Something Completely Different…Or Not
How about we try something different? Let’s even go beyond “tolerance” and try for genuine relationships with people of different backgrounds than ourselves. How about that?
That’s where my hopeful head was when my friends and I arrived at a local Chinese restaurant this weekend. There were five of us, and I was the token white chick.
Here’s what happened: my friends were in front of me, waiting to order. I reiterate — I was in line BEHIND them.
The woman behind the counter pointed to me and said, “Let me help her first.”
We all looked at each other, puzzled, and then I said, “I’m with them.”
“Oh, sorry, sorry,” she said.
The first sad thing here is that it didn’t occur to her that we might be together. But what’s worse is that I’m fairly certain that if four white folks had been in line in front of an African-American, it would not have occurred to the server to take that last person out of order. My friends teased me, calling me “the special person,” and we all laughed about it. But it was not funny.
“Welcome to America, Melanie,” one of them said.
Calling Out Racism
This isn’t on a scale with the Colored drinking fountains and washrooms I remember in Florida when I was a little girl.
And it wasn’t as egregious as the time a guy at a Maryland Christmas tree lot tried to sell me a tree marked SOLD because the purchaser was “only a negro lady.”
But it sure feels the same.
We have a long way to go, but we can all help. Prayers are good.
And I just want to make a plea to my fellow Caucasians: keep your eyes and ears open. Speak up.
Don’t let people get away with this kind of “quiet racism.”
There’s no such thing as quiet racism.
It all screams, and we should all call it out.
Thanks for listening, and for hoping with me.
God bless our melting pot.