A good friend was attacked last week in a parking lot of an shopping center here in Sacratomatoville. She pulled into parking space and had gone to the rear of her car to get a few bags. A car backing out of the space to her right stopped and the passengers in the car began screaming at her. A woman sitting in the rear seat jumped out of the car pushed,slapped and spit on her.
She didn’t repeat what they said to her, which is just like her. In the 15 years or so I’ve known her , I have never known her to swear or say anything disparaging about anyone. She is Sikh and has lived in Northern California all of her life.
It was a common and sad case of mistaken identity.
Her husband said, she was called a terrorist and a few other choice words. He was angry because they as a family agreed to never go out alone. Their world has become more hostile, and not from just whites, they have been verbally attacked by blacks and hispanics. Attacks on members of Sikh community has been on the rise in resent months. Many are targeted because of turbans, many confuse Sikh with Muslims
I was sad when the call ended. I couldn’t imagine living in a state of awareness (I wont say fear-because that not what I sense.)
In 2016 America, their world and the world of Muslims was similar to the world of my parents and grandparents and other people of color, not too long ago. I remember the stories of the carte blanch abuse of people where my parents grew up, a child could slap my grandparent and recourse did not exist. It was a world where the Klu Klux Klan had political clout That’s a world I know nothing about, however with the resurgence of White Supremacy Groups, is history repeating itself?
I get angry when members or the Muslim community are asked to publicly condemn the actions of other Muslims. Most of the acts of terrorism in the country has been conducted by Christians.
I strongly believe most of our differences is borne out of ignorance. People need to respectfully talk about race. I understand the fear, talking is key to understanding. Its not an issue of agreeing ,its about understanding.
Being a very large black man has its advantages and disadvantages. My struggles are often with men, my extra large footprint intimates, especially white men. Which can be a disadvantage, potential employers who fear you are not likely to hire you. Now before you say ahhhh. I’m not a victim nor am I angry. I was WELL prepared by my parents who long warned me of the challenges that lie ahead.
What I find interesting is women. They seem to be less intimidated by my hue or footprint.
Naturally curious, I often talk about race. My family is multicultural and perhaps due to that. I’m not uncomfortable with people of different backgrounds and different hues. We all have a story and if you dare to listen you may discover similarities
On my nine to five , I briefly talked about race with with my new superior. I can sense he has minimal private interactions with people of color. I shared my professional challenges with him. I sometimes struggle with white males, who are often afraid ask questions or make requests. I later learn via management, some often say their questions go unanswered and their requests ignored. Fiction.
I could see he was uncomfortable, people often are, they are worried about saying the wrong thing and being misunderstood. I also sensed he didn’t completely believe what he was hearing. This ins’t his world ,he cannot relate. He may believe this is just another excuse or another complaint by a black man,perhaps I have a chip on my shoulder.
While I sometime struggle in my nine to five world. Being black and having a large footprint has worked to my advantage in my creative world. I cant spell celebrity and most people don’t know my name but I am recognized at meetings and conferences all over the country. I’m greeted with,” Hey, you”