My Skin Will Never Be Black

I worked with an older black woman for about 6 years. She was the same age as my mother. We became friends, I would consider us good friends. We still keep in touch. During the down times at work, she and I would have long conversations.We talked about our lives, our outlooks, politics, and shared stories. We laughed We got crossways a few times. But they were few.

I grew up in the Riverside area of Fort Worth. I’m not sure what it was like in the 50’s and 60’s. But when I was in the fourth grade in 1971 (I think that’s the correct year) desegregation began. I remember meetings and things like that before it happened. But when the busing started that Fall, I don’t remember any big problems. Of course I was in elementary school. It might have been different at the high school. But from my viewpoint and because of the way I was raised, it was just a new school year. Joining us was a new group of kids. They looked a little different from us, but they were kids just like us. Most of those new kids continued on to middle school and then to high school.

The lady I worked with went to school in Dallas during the 50’s. I don’t want to tell her stories. Those are her’s and I could not do them justice retelling them here. She had a happy childhood and a wonderful family. But she was black and she remembered things happening that were confusing to her as a young girl.

She loves me and I love her. She told me that when she came to work, she felt at home and she felt comfortable. But she very adamantly told me, on more than one occasion, that when she walked out that front door to go out into the world she knew she walked out into it as a black woman. She said she couldn’t walk into some department stores without feeling the eyes of the white salespeople watching her. They were watching her simply because she was black. She told me that no matter how much empathy I had. No matter how much I thought I might understand. I could never understand, because when I walked out that front door I walked out a white woman. Those little talks about that particular aspect of the difference of color made a big impact on me.

I miss her. I miss her openness and her viewpoints. I miss her daily friendship.

During the last seven years, I’ve read a lot of crap. I don’t think that everyone who disagrees or dislikes the President is a racist. But there is a group, a rather large group, who feel animosity simply because he is black. I’m not talking about politics. I’m not talking about Democrats vs Republicans. I’m talking about good old fashioned, American racism.

Being a white American has it perks. I hear and am subject to some of the disgusting comments simply because people don’t feel the need for a filter around me. I’m fortunate that nobody in my immediate family feels this way. But I do have family members outside of my immediate family that I have heard or seen comments that they have made. Not necessarily about the President. But about anyone that is not white. That is what bothers me.

I didn’t make any resolution this year. They are a waste of time. But I want people to feel the need for a filter around me. I have a tendency to remain silent, to simply walk away. I don’t want to do that anymore.

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