Wednesday, March 08, 2017

We have a new President that I find - disconcerting at best, frightening at times. Whether he openly admits it or not, he identifies strongly with the 'Alt-Right' and their xenophobia & racism. This should be troubling to all Americans. I find it especially troubling because sixteen years ago my wife & I adopted an African-American infant girl. She has been a blessing. But this post is not about the joy she brings, it's about what she has to endure on a daily basis just because of her race. I believe a few anecdotes will best illustrate that. So, here are just four of the many indignities she had to endure over the past year:

My daughter was eating lunch at school and hears one of her peers (a 'friend' in the loosest sense of the word) saying 'We have the pit bulls to keep the blacks away' (he may have said nigger, I don't know, I'm being kind.)

We were visiting my wife's mother in a home for the aged. My daughter, wife and my wife's mother were talking. An older white gentleman says to my wife(trying to joke?) 'This one looks dirty, you better take her home and give her a bath'.

My daughter had a (white) substitute teacher. The teacher took the role then says 'Will the following people raise their hands and keep them up'. He calls out about 5 names, all of which belong to black students. In fact, only one black student, a quiet bashful girl does not have her named called. My daughter asks: 'What was that about?'. After some prevarication the sub says: 'The regular (white male) teacher says these are the trouble-makers'.

My daughter plays soccer - she plays forward, either center or wing. She hates playing defense so she rarely gets called for any fouls. She had a half-step on the defender for a one-on-one with the goalie and was inside the box. The (blond, white) defender is harassing her, in fact grabbing her enough that BOTH coaches think that it warrants a penalty kick. But no, the ball gets away because of the defender's (non-)foul. My daughter, a little disgusted, throws her arms up and forward (AWAY from the defender). The defender loses her balance and goes flying and - hurts herself. My daughter stops, turns around and starts walking back to her team since there was NO whistle. But wait, the referee decides there was a foul after all. My daughter has in fact earned a red card!

I'd like to offer my take on the red card. My son played soccer for 12 years, I watched almost every one of his games and I don't recall ever seeing a red card - on anyone. I remember my son got one yellow card as goalie and he deserved it (he deliberately and obviously knocked down someone trying to intimidate him after he fell on the ball.) I did not keep track but I do not think I saw more than one or two other yellow cards - I can't remember any. I pursued the red card with our coach & the Athletic Director for about 2 weeks. I never had any contact with the ref, but by the end; while he did/could not retract the red card, he was backing away from it. Was it racist - I have no doubt. But I am also convinced the ref didn't think it was - at least when he issued it. It was an ingrained belief that the black girl must have hurt the white girl because 'Blacks are violent'.

If you find these stories appalling, please join me in turning our country back toward it's stated goal of freedom and justice for all.