Thursday, February 25, 2016

We're Not White and I Need to Keep It Real

I was just flipping through channels last night when I chanced upon the ABC show 'Blackish'. It's a sitcom but last night's episode tackled a serious and relevant issue in American society.

Race. And Hope.

I won't and can't get into the details of the episode since I didn't see it in its entirety. Suffice it to say that the topic was on police brutality and race discrimination, and how parents should socialize their children given this atmosphere. 

Do we shelter them and protect their innocence as much as we can and keep the belief that the system still works 'most of the time'? 

Or are we being better parents by teaching them the painful truth that we, as a society, are still not as evolved as we'd all like to think when it comes to accepting differences, accepting change and practicing authentic equality?

The clip below says it all. Sadly, I admit that I felt exactly the same way as Anthony Anderson's character here when he spoke about how he felt during President Obama's inauguration in 2008. I was elated, proud and most of all hopeful. But my feelings were also undeniably tainted by fear. As I watched our President on television that morning, I was secretly praying to God that he be protected, that he be allowed to serve this country safely...that he be just kept alive. 

To have those prayers, to still feel that way and have that kind of fear is something I'm not proud of. But it's real. It keeps things real for me, reminding me that, in as much as I'd like to raise my child with the belief that race or skin color no longer matters, I know that's still not entirely true. When, in the subdivision where we live, I see banners or car stickers in support of a certain political candidate known for his racism and xenophobia, I ask myself how safe my son really is. 

Can you really blame me if I still believe that there are far more things I still cannot take for granted in daily life than the typical white person? We're simply not there yet. I continue to hope. But I also owe it to my son to keep things real.

I hope you can take the time to watch this brief clip from 'Blackish'. #BlackishABC


  1. That is so powerful, Joy. I get it. I wish I knew how we ran off the rails so badly in this 21st century. The bigots were always in the closet. My uncle was a klansman in GA. It comes from ignorance and I don't think I've ever seen more ignorance openly shared in my entire life. But, we have to speak to it and keep the light shining on it as brightly as possible. I do believe there are more good people than bad in our country.

  2. Joy, I watched the episode and was moved by it. I know that I come from white privilege, but I was married to a Chinese man for 19 years and we have a beautiful daughter. Early in our marriage, I got hate-filled phone calls. That awful experience was a good life lesson to me. I wrote about it years ago. As I reread my blog post I was heartened to realize that the world has changed a bit since I wrote it. Here's the post and remember this was just a few short years ago before marriage was legal for my gay friends.

  3. I live in an extremely homogenous community in a middle class house, with my white as milk family. One of the greatest gifts I was able to give my kids was moving abroad to Morocco where my kids got a small taste of being the minority. Although, it was still chock full of privilege and can't duplicate the experience that other races have here in America. But, I hope the experience stays with them and makes them more empathetic, truth and justice seeking adults.


Let me know your thoughts!