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Speaking up against racism

 
pollinator
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Honestly, I'm not sure how to. I live in a really white area. I myself had no idea racism was such a thing until I met my husband, who is not white. Now, working for a criminal defense attorney I've seen law enforcement in my own area do terrible things to people who aren't white. A lot of confidential stuff I can't talk about but let's just say they know they did wrong. It's still happening A LOT. To the point where I warn my husband before he goes out with his friends, who are all white, and discuss with his friends what to do if my husband is approached by the police. I am petrified for my son, who has no idea he's different from his million white cousins.

Our city has had no protests, certainly no riots. Everyone here is completely unconcerned as far as I can tell.

I don't know what to DO about it though. I really don't. I don't know that there is anything I could say or do that would change anything here.

How are other people feeling about this whole thing?

Is there anything a white person like myself can do to help?
 
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The only thing I know that white people can really do, is not tolerate racism, at all, in any form.  That means, the "joke" that is "kind of" racist?  Call them out.  The snide remark?  Call them out.  Usually making someone feel embarrassed for being an asshole works.  Not always of course.
 
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Play the innocent.
When someone slips some racist innuendo into a conversation, ask; "What does that mean?".
When someone uses a coded 'dog-whistle', ask; "what do you mean by that?".
When some one causally refers to a stereotype ask for specifics: "Which one is a drunk?"
Keep asking until they realize how stupid they sound.
Don't be smug, preachy, etc. Be innocent, like I don't understand your language innocent.

They will either be forced to be blatant in their racism, or they will be embarrassed by it.
Unfortunately, learning is often painful for people.
You will be resented for making them learn something about themselves.
The people who thank you later will be the people you want to associate with.
 
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Trace Oswald wrote:

Usually making someone feel embarrassed for being an asshole works.  Not always of course.

I'm not convinced that embarrassing people teaches as well as focusing on the 'action' or 'words' would do. Saying something more like, "Racist jokes are rude" or "I consider that remark racist, how about you think of a more polite comment to make?"

There's a lot of anger in the world right now and huge pressure to want to believe that "people like me are the only acceptable friends/neighbors/co-workers. We need to focus on teaching by example - hiring people of colour, hiring women in non-female traditional jobs and vice versa, hiring people of different sexual orientations. We don't get to choose what colour our skin is, what sex we were born or what country we were born in. Welcome all flavors of people into your home and into your "friend" circle, and keep the ones that show kindness and teach those that don't how to learn kind, respectful behavior.
 
Trace Oswald
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Jay Angler wrote:Saying something more like, "Racist jokes are rude" or "I consider that remark racist, how about you think of a more polite comment to make?"



That is exactly what I meant by calling them out and embarrassing them.
 
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as I get older (and realize I know less and less) one thing that becomes clear is that everyone is on their own journey. I can think of things I used to believe and say that now I find abhorrent. I was lucky enough to come into contact with people who made me think about these things, in such a way that I chewed them over and grew in response, because my first reaction on learning that I believed something hurtful was to be indignant and push back.
Some people never get past that (like my family...). Some people will never be interested in altering their choice of words or way of thinking in order to make things right, and that stinks, but I try to focus on making change where I can- respectfully but also firmly. I work with words, so I try to keep up on how language can be conscious and helpful rather than hurtful. I learn things constantly, and I try to help other people learn too.
I also recognize I have a lot more to learn, since I grew up in a system where inequality and injustice were carefully fed for hundreds of years. The is a lot to catch up on and no quick, easy answer.
My daughter is grown but one thing we did together in the homeschool portion of her education (she went to normal school here in Brazil but I homeschooled her in English and US history... it was important to me that she understand what being American means, even if she, like me, has spent most of her life abroad) was to read "A Young People's History of the United States" by Howard Zinn together.
https://geekdad.com/2014/10/young-peoples-history-of-us/
This review above really represents our experience- "some chapters led to more questions than answers", particularly. I had what most people would consider a darn good education, and yet an awful lot in that book was still a revelation. If you have kids 10+, it can't hurt to show them the perspectives of other people who were important to the construction of our country.
 
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I have unfortunately never yet managed to change someone's racist opinion by confronting them directly.  That usually leads to a heated debate with no one changing their mind. I occasionally at least shut down the conversation by saying something like "that's not my experience, here is what I think". But I dont think I have ever managed to change someone through confronting it. Not particularly satisfying.

I wonder, Elle, if you could confront it indirectly ? Could you send around an email or something (you know the local politics far better than I) and start a discussion about  "how do we make sure this never happens here? How do we make sure the world never knows the name of our town for something like this? What can we change?" I dont know how to phrase it, and it's a difficult question to ask, but I think it might be a more important battle to fight than no win battles with individuals.

I think reducing racism comes with experience, common ground, respect, and empathy. Meeting and working closely with many people from other countries, areas, and backgrounds has made me a significantly more thoughtful and less ignorant person, and really helps to see people as people, not as groups.
 
pollinator
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One thing that those of us who are white or from the dominant culture can do, is read and listen.  A frequent complaint from people of color is that when they describe their experiences, white people disagree, or "explain" how it wasn't really racist.

There is an organization with chapters in most regions of the US called "Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ)."  It is an organization of white people who have decided that it is their responsibility to educate themselves about racism, rather than calling upon people of color to do so.  Many people of color are exhausted from the task.  Here is a list of readings by a SURJ chapter near me.  It will be uncomfortable, and eye-opening, to read.

There are groups (quite possibly none near you, Elle) who teach anti-racism.  Much of the early work is on letting go of the shame many of us white people feel when confronting our failings or limitations in combating racism.  But the groups also teach non-scary ways to be an ally to people of color, people of marginalized sexual orientations or identities, people of minority religions, and so forth.  Really super-helpful.

Here's the reading list link:

http://lostriverracialjustice.org/reading-list/

Other resources:

https://www.resmaa.com/books  

A free online course!

https://culturalsomaticsuniversity.thinkific.com/courses/cultural-somatics-free-5-session-ecourse



 
pollinator
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I like this chart.

racism-riot.png
[Thumbnail for racism-riot.png]
 
Tereza Okava
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Something I learned a long time ago that fits in with that great image is to try to avoid my natural human tendency to answer with a "but," and instead try to use "yes, and". It's not always easy, but it often makes you think.

SURJ is awesome, I am so glad it was mentioned. There is also a good group of texts out there right now, I know my university is having a read-along of "How to Be an Antiracist" by Ibram Kendi, and even if you can't get it there are plenty of things online reviewing it and sharing the main idea. You know, for you to read in all your spare time, Elle.
 
pollinator
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My daughter is having a very hard time with this all right now. She is racially mixed and from the moment her son was born she was terrified of losing him because of our racist society. She lost him anyway, not to racism, but the grief is still there. Where we live now is predominately white, and she is struggling to get her friends to understand where she is coming from, but, to be fair, they are willing to listen, and are already changing their minds and attitudes. So many people here have just so little exposure to anything different, so little diversity.

I agree with much that has been said by others. Speak out, don't laugh at those jokes. Don't allow police misconduct to go unpunished.

I'm not really at a point in my life where I can join in the protests, but I contribute to bail funds, provide a safe haven for those in need.

 
elle sagenev
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I have started and it's anxiety enducing ya'll. I've had some friends posting things on Facebook that aren't very nice. I've just scrolled past before. I don't get political on social media. I don't argue with people. I've never seen the point. (permies is the exception because Paul and moderators have done a nice job making this a safe place and ya'll are amazing)

Today I replied to one of the posts. I replied mother to mother. Her saying she won't teach her son to see color. Me saying me either, but that doesn't stop people from seeing his color. Then she posted about how she doesn't feel guilty being white and if anyone had a problem with it to remove her. Shocked, was I. I don't feel guilty being white. I don't think we need to feel guilty to feel compassion and empathy.

People!

 
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Similar words have been said before:
I don't see color so why are you blocking the road and protesting, I am in a rush to go to a restaurant.
I don't see color so why are you bringing extra to my football game on TV while I drinking a few beer. with all this half-standing, half-kneeling saying that you don't feel like you got full freedom from the 'British/oppressors'. I feel like I have full freedom so I fully stand and salute, showing lots of respect.
 
Catie George
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elle sagenev wrote:I have started and it's anxiety enducing ya'll. I've had some friends posting things on Facebook that aren't very nice. I've just scrolled past before. I don't get political on social media. I don't argue with people. I've never seen the point. (permies is the exception because Paul and moderators have done a nice job making this a safe place and ya'll are amazing)

Today I replied to one of the posts. I replied mother to mother. Her saying she won't teach her son to see color. Me saying me either, but that doesn't stop people from seeing his color. Then she posted about how she doesn't feel guilty being white and if anyone had a problem with it to remove her. Shocked, was I. I don't feel guilty being white. I don't think we need to feel guilty to feel compassion and empathy.

People!


I have been thinking a lot about what you said. It's a really hard question. And yeah, people get so offended.

Taking a stand truly is difficult. Its exhausting. I admit I am not anywhere near as good or consistent at doing it as I should be. And I feel nothing I do is ever enough, and sometimes I wonder if it's worth trying.

In the last year, I hear started speaking up when I am offended on social media, if the person sharing is someone I know and respect. It's hard. I havent lost any social media friends yet, but it may have been close. Occasionally they take it down, and i noticed one person i spoke to a few times has stopped sharing those kinds of memes. Sometimes, I think I do it not to stop them or change their minds- but so the OTHER  people seeing the thing dont think everyone thinks it's ok. I try and remind people about humanity, and empathy, and tend to write fairly long (no surprise, for me) posts about WHY I feel a certain way.

I often find people demonizing some other position, and then write, even if I dont share the position an explanation of WHY people might feel that way. I think we need to remember people, and that people have different experiences that lead to different beliefs, and a lot of awful beliefs come from a feeling of fear.

In public- it's a lot harder. It's definitely even more anxiety producing. For good friends, it's worth more effort to figure out and question the source of the belief (what is causing the fear, usually).

I am so lucky to work in places where one (bad) sexist remark, one racist remark, one homophobic remark, can and will get you fired. It's rare, but it's a line people know not to cross. A lot of job sites I work at are associated with Impact Benefit Agreements with first nations, and require mandatory training on sensitivity and the local culture to be there on your first day. I really do think it makes a difference.

I see Canadas politics going down the same drain as the US where neither side is willing to respect and hear the other side out, and it terrifies me. I have been comparing the current world (not just North American ) situation to either the fall of the Roman Empire, or the rise of fascism/communism in Europe and WW2 for the last 5 years or so. It terrifies me. So its worth speaking up about, despite the discomfort.

I find myself stuck in the middle- defending  (to both sides) rural/construction/trades workers and city people, responsible gun control, environmental regs and resource projects, urban/rural divide, western/eastern divide, etc etc. Trying to find common ground, and explain things totally out of others experience. Pleading for moderate thought.

For racism, i am also working to be less unconciously racist myself. I find it helps me become less racist to consciously not refer to people as "that black person" "that native person" "that Muslim person". I refer to them as Name, who is from X. So my coworker Hani, who is from Iran, instead of my Iranian coworker, Hani.  Our polar bear monitor, who is Inuit, instead of our Inuit polar bear monitor. It shifts the focus from the group to the person.  Its subtle, something I am trying to do in everyday conversation, and I think it helps me. And if it isnt relevant to the conversation, I drop the term entirely. So unless I am specifically talking about Iran or immigration, for which Hani's Iranian background matters, he is just "my coworker, Hani". I am far from perfect though.

Its exhausting, but I truly believe if we dont fight for understanding, for empathy, to bridge the divide, our society will fail.

Your friend- who says she does not feel guilty to be white. That's fine. I am not either, and I would rankle at the suggestion she should be. But that's an arguement that misses the point. The point is not to make people embarrassed to be white, but embarrassed to be racist. The point is to make sure that people of other races can be  proud and unafraid too. My suspicion is that she DOES feel guilty when she sees these things, and, rather than confront that guilt, she turns rejects the thing that makes her uncomfortable.

I sincerely wish you luck in your efforts Elle. It's not an easy thing to do. I really hope, by the time your son is an adult things will have changed for the better.
 
Jay Angler
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I was just looking at a computer news feed and a headline "Lego donates $4M, Ben and Jerry’s vows to ‘dismantle white supremacy’ amid George Floyd protests". I will admit I like Lego and my kids like lego and although it is plastic, we've got lego that's over 30 years old, so at least it's plastic that lasts!

But that headline got me thinking about how subtle discrimination can be. I did a google image search for "Lego people". This Amazon hit for a "grab bag of 10 lego people" led me to this page: https://www.amazon.com/slp/lego-people-figures/wxyo94nqht264ht  
and an overwhelming majority of "caucasian lego people".
I had to scroll down to this set "Community People Set for Exploring Roles and Responsibilities by LEGO Education DUPLO" to find non-caucasian characters. So if we want our kids to "explore roles and responsibilities" they get people of different skin tones, but if we just want our kids to play, the role model they get to play with is pretty much determined for them. This is the kind of subtle discrimination which happens in our society repeatedly and in more ways than just colour. Finding a "boy" doll for my son was a struggle, but my mom found a cloth one and being a sewer, I sewed poor "Tim" a penis - he just didn't look right without one! What if we'd needed a black boy doll - that would have been a tough call in our overwhelmingly white community at the time, but son is 25 years old now and I don't  think it's changed much.

So what I'm pointing out by this is that if we want our children to change, we need our environment to change. Yes, I see far more people of colour in advertisements today than 30 years ago, but how often is the lead character on a TV show not white. Side-kicks, yes! Bad-guys, definitely! Heroes, harder to come by. Let's speak out about changing that! Children's attitudes are far less set and children often think outside the box, so let's start getting better ideas in their heads, and maybe that will help change older mindsets.
 
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I like all kinds of people but i have some questions, it could be this world is crazy, but maybe it's just me because i am a white male. There is not a lot i can do or am willing to do about that. If you don't like me for that reason that's no problem to me.

1 What is racism exactly? Is one allowed not to like people of a certain colour, or is that considered racist?
2 Why is it often assumed white people are the only racist ones?
3 Is it racist when someone accuses religious people of color of homophobia, even if the religious books clearly state homosexuality is wrong?
4 Isn't it separating by and in itself saying i AM a Christian/Jew/Muslim/Paul Wheatonist, when it is nothing but a matter of the mind one HAS? Isn't separating at the root of racism?
5 If it's not up to my race and gender to decide what racism is because we don't experience it, which people have the final say?  

I am not expecting answers, because racism just is such a confusing subject, it's a thing the human mind tends to do, brushing over questions we don't like, decide we are the "good" ones and lump everybody we don't like in the other category, them evil racists. Which is separating in itself and the basis for discrimination.
 
 
S Bengi
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Hugo, to tell the truth I am a christian and not only do I think that following Jesus to be superior I feel like it is the only way/truth. Also some of my best friends are Atheist/Muslim/Sex before marriage/sex outside of marriage people. I think somewhere in the good book it said let the wheat grow with the weeds. Don't I let the rain and sun equal fall/bless everyone Christian/Hindu/Atheist/etc. I will be the judge on judgement day not you so put down the .....

So at no time does my friend being an Atheist means that other people can burn him at the "stakes". Or that he shouldn't get a job being a manager or flipping burger or whatever job. It doesn't mean that he should be harassed at the store.

And yes like you I am not gender blind or color blind in the literal sense. I can visually tell if you are a female/male or if you are non-white (or at least most of the time). But I am not going around thinking that a woman can't be the VP/Director at work just because she is a woman or because she is brown and I am not going to subject myself to the horror of having a non-male/non-white boss.

And yes it is racist to say that everyone from France/Nigeria/China is stink/evil/bad and they should all disappear and I hate every single one of them even the babies. In fact lets hurt them.  Now it is perfectly fine to say I dislike hate eating frogs/pigeon/pork/raw fish or whatever is culturally normal for said group to eat, but to shame them or violently hurt them is wrong.

Racism isn't just the extreme of running over non-white killing them. It's as simple as saying, I am not going to show you houses for sale in the neighborhood with better school, cheaper gas, etc. Because I don't want you in my neighborhood. Or I didn't think that you like permaculture/farming because your people were forced slave farmers. Or wow you are did that/you are educated thats normal for superior white people, great job in actually doing this.

There is also the other statement of: white females were able to quickly catch up to white males in a generation or so in the 70's. They had their 'privileged' white male father pay for them to go to college, to help them with school work, to set them up with an internship (not flipping burgers), and to connected them with Mike from the golf course who is the North American regional manager for ....... So why is it that black women or black men can't do the same, and catch up.
 
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I work with children. For me it is NEVER to let a "judgmental" comment (be it race, sex, whatever) be said without it being questioned.

Stupid Chinese driver; fag; Muslim terrorist...I first ask what they "mean" - often they are repeating words with no concept of what they are saying. Then I correct the phrasing, not all Muslims are terrorists, so yes, you can use the WORD terrorist, just not coupled with the word Muslim; you can say a particular action or behaviour IS stupid, but the place of origin is insignificant. Why is being "queer" or "gay" or a "fag" used to denigrate? Why do you think it is "okay" to be mean or nasty just because someone is different?

My goal is to teach them to THINK about what and how they say things; to understand WHY how it was said is mean, hurtful and unnecessary. I give examples such as "is it okay to say all people with blue eyes are...."? Then why is it okay to say "all black people...". This, to me is the key. Racism and intolerance is TAUGHT, either with or without intent. So for every intolerant comment, we must deal with it IN the moment, and show the wrongness and the "why" of the wrongness, to stop it in it's tracks.

We must NOT let offhand comments go unnoticed, it MUST be addressed, if only to show we, personally, are not "okay" with it. With something as simple as voicing, kindly and politely, that something makes us uncomfortable, we show we will NOT tolerate it. Do we change the other person, fundamentally, perhaps not, but we do cause them to think, and if out of respect, they comply, that is one more person THINKING before they speak. I believe with time, by doing something as simple as changing speech, we will change hearts; by making them aware, perhaps they will "see" more clearly.

We all have strengths and have value, I say focus on the positives, instead of perceived negatives. Ignorance breeds fear, fear breeds hate. We break down the ignorance, which limits the fear and by that action, we learn to love and value those that may be "different" instead of demonizing and hating.
 
Stacy Witscher
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Catie George - I really appreciated what you had to say about language. I think that this goes so much to unconscious racism. My daughter's ethnic heritage is unclear to many who meet her, and a common question she gets is "what are you". The inhumanity in that statement is very telling. I'm sure that many don't think about it, and mean no harm, but it is unkind.

I, personally, don't expect every white person to take on the responsibility for the whole world's racism, but I think it's good to take care of our little bit that we see. And if nothing else, acknowledge that others experiences might be different.

As my daughter likes to remind me, I'm non-complaint with law enforcement, and while my experiences have not been good (beaten and hogtied as a minor), I'm still here to talk about it. Had it been her, that's unlikely. It's a scary thought.
 
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The book "White Trash" which I've mentioned other places gives a much different perspective of America than I have found anywhere else. I think it provides a _very_ important concept tool when one tries thinking about class and race. If the first 30 pages don't grab you, skip it.

The OP asks "what do I do". Seems like there are some very good thoughts and suggestions above. My own is that we need to govern ourselves. Actually _do_ it. That means not dropping out of politics, but staying informed, discussing the local scene and trying choose leaders and elected officials (those can be distinct) which are 1) honest; 2) will open up public information of all types and keep it open; 3) capable. Obama was smart and capable in that order, IMHO. I would suggest that capable and then smart is a better priority, but whatever. Probably never get to those split hairs. It means (as above) not just letting casual badness slip on by un-noted. That little badness goes on to become a real evil. It means responding to what we see, as much as possible. Don't pretend "that" didn't happen. Respond - somehow. One think I try to do is not allow certain talk in my presence. I will leave, often after saying why and allowing a short window for communication. If people want to discuss, well ok. But usually people just want to justify and push back. Waste my time? Forget that. I will not put up with some things. Time to go.

A point that may reach some people: I admit I haven't viewed the video myself - way back in school I had some experience with this type of person, I think, at least from what I gather from others' comments on the video. I doubt viewing it will help me chart a better path.  So perhaps I'm jumping to unwarranted conclusions. But. If I were discussing those police I would point out that cop and his buddies would likely do the same to anybody, any color. It might take slightly different circumstances, and Black persons would be _much_ more in danger than, say a White person,  but what went down was the act of a very sick person and I don't think the sickness is specific to Black people. In my experience, what people do to one other, they will do to anybody - strangely enough up to and including themselves. So something else one can do in a perfect homogeneous  community is consistently push for openness and training and oversight of the police. Community policing. This will truly be a long row to hoe, and it's surely not for just anybody. But it's pretty simple and clear what problems exist and what needs to be done. It just takes a LOT of intelligent persistence over a very long time. Deep roots.


FWIW
Rufus
 
elle sagenev
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Rufus Laggren wrote:
A point that may reach some people: I admit I haven't viewed the video myself - way back in school I had some experience with this type of person, I think, at least from what I gather from others' comments on the video. I doubt viewing it will help me chart a better path.  So perhaps I'm jumping to unwarranted conclusions. But. If I were discussing those police I would point out that cop and his buddies would likely do the same to anybody, any color. It might take slightly different circumstances, and Black persons would be _much_ more in danger than, say a White person,  but what went down was the act of a very sick person and I don't think the sickness is specific to Black people. In my experience, what people do to one other, they will do to anybody - strangely enough up to and including themselves. So something else one can do in a perfect homogeneous  community is consistently push for openness and training and oversight of the police. Community policing. This will truly be a long row to hoe, and it's surely not for just anybody. But it's pretty simple and clear what problems exist and what needs to be done. It just takes a LOT of intelligent persistence over a very long time. Deep roots.


FWIW
Rufus



I don't know that I agree with you. We are in the middle of something at work which I can't really talk about but names have been coming across my desk. A lot of them I thought were white. And then they'd show up with their records and lo and behold, every single one was Mexican. All these names and not a single white one. So I don't know that they will do it to anybody, I think the rage and bullying is directed at particular colors and it's sanctioned by those with authority.
 
elle sagenev
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Hugo Morvan wrote:I like all kinds of people but i have some questions, it could be this world is crazy, but maybe it's just me because i am a white male. There is not a lot i can do or am willing to do about that. If you don't like me for that reason that's no problem to me.

1 What is racism exactly? Is one allowed not to like people of a certain colour, or is that considered racist?
2 Why is it often assumed white people are the only racist ones?
3 Is it racist when someone accuses religious people of color of homophobia, even if the religious books clearly state homosexuality is wrong?
4 Isn't it separating by and in itself saying i AM a Christian/Jew/Muslim/Paul Wheatonist, when it is nothing but a matter of the mind one HAS? Isn't separating at the root of racism?
5 If it's not up to my race and gender to decide what racism is because we don't experience it, which people have the final say?  

I am not expecting answers, because racism just is such a confusing subject, it's a thing the human mind tends to do, brushing over questions we don't like, decide we are the "good" ones and lump everybody we don't like in the other category, them evil racists. Which is separating in itself and the basis for discrimination.
 



My husband doesn't bring up that he's not white. He doesn't point out racism. It's me. I'm the one who gets mad. Furious actually. I know how I am treated. I know how my parents and siblings are treated. I know that how he is treated is not normal. Not normal at all. He doesn't know that. It's all he's ever known.

Racism is when a new Mom has her infant son at the mall and a woman comes over and asks to see the baby. I have 13 nieces and nephews so this scenario is one I've been a part of for years but this, this is my baby and I couldn't be prouder of how beautiful he is. She looks and is shocked. She looked straight up at me and asked me how I got a colored baby. Her exact words, "How did you get a colored baby?" That's what she thought when she saw my beautiful infant son. That's racism. It's racism when I sign my children up for school and put "white" under their race. They are white. I'm white and I'm half of them. Plus, to be honest, it kind of amused me to put them as white. There was nothing other than my own personal amusement that had me check that box. Then I get the registration paperwork in the mail to verify it for accuracy and my children are not registered as "white". Why? Why would the school feel the need to change that? I'll tell you why. Federal funding. Having my kids registered as something other than white increases the diversity of the school which increases federal funding. Why is federal funding for diversity a thing? Why is that even needed? Because even the government knows people who aren't white are disadvantaged in America and they are trying to throw money at it so it'll go away.
 
Rufus Laggren
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> at work
Elle, it sounds like an interesting situation. Not sure I envy you. <g>

>disagree
Well... Let's disagree, then. But there are dozens of pieces to this situation that we have not considered or mentioned. What do you say about sick (emotionally) people viz their attitude toward prey? Perhaps you'd agree that they go for the weak and "safe" targets? I submit that _that_ is what makes Black people targets - not their color. Color serves to unify and identify "them" as targets. Targets of slander, targets of violence, targets of every type. And yes, sanctioned targets. Remove the "easy" part of it and all a sudden Black people are in a different place.

If you mean the cop was motivated by racism in the sense that he had lost sight of the origins of his decisions and now just relies on the "keys" - ie. color - and jumps straight into action... That I would agree. But that's not the underlying  source and  motivation for his actions. Skin color is just the green light.

IMHO, Black people were _PUT_ in their present distorted position for a political and economic purpose. And I _don't_ mean they were made slaves, I'm talking afterwards, starting after the Civil War and maybe 30 years earlier. Vested powers needed a scapegoat to divert and misdirect a mob that was, in many cases, worse off than Blacks. Racism is an intentional political creation, driven by mis-information an expediency, that has  taken on it's own life because so many people feel the need to have something to blame, someone to piss on. Black skin makes one of the most easily identifiable, most obvious, distinguishing marks on a person. Us/Them White/Black can be comprehended by the most stupid (er, challenged) person alive. Thus it's the most useful, easiest tool, for demagogues. The pathologies and emotional twisting then followed once a victim, a scapegoat, a target had been created and offered up. Intentionally, for a purpose.

I hope you smiled at the bigot and said something like "Why, sister, we asked God for the baby in the usual way together. We rejoiced unto the Lord in  our bed and it was AMAZING, FANTASTIC. We're hoping the Lord will give us another baby if we keep rejoicing unto Him together just like we did for this beautiful child here! Aren't God's ways wonderful with these incredible bodies He gave us and commanded us to rejoice unto him with?." <GG>

And don't I have a brutal turn of mind. But willful sadistic cowardly stupidity pisses me off...

Hope work works out for the best. With all those mysteriously-White Mexicans. Take it very slowly, correctly, conservatively. Test the waters. There might a a lot of money involved somewhere up or down the line.


Regards,
Rufus
 
Stacy Witscher
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elle - I'm so sorry that you had to go through that. People can be so clueless. All we can do is move forward and don't let the turkeys get you down.
 
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elle sagenev wrote:
Racism is when a new Mom has her infant son at the mall and a woman comes over and asks to see the baby. I have 13 nieces and nephews so this scenario is one I've been a part of for years but this, this is my baby and I couldn't be prouder of how beautiful he is. She looks and is shocked. She looked straight up at me and asked me how I got a colored baby. Her exact words, "How did you get a colored baby?" That's what she thought when she saw my beautiful infant son. That's racism. It's racism when I sign my children up for school and put "white" under their race. They are white. I'm white and I'm half of them. Plus, to be honest, it kind of amused me to put them as white. There was nothing other than my own personal amusement that had me check that box. Then I get the registration paperwork in the mail to verify it for accuracy and my children are not registered as "white". Why? Why would the school feel the need to change that? I'll tell you why. Federal funding. Having my kids registered as something other than white increases the diversity of the school which increases federal funding. Why is federal funding for diversity a thing? Why is that even needed? Because even the government knows people who aren't white are disadvantaged in America and they are trying to throw money at it so it'll go away.



Oof. And your just so vulnerable, yet ready to pounce on anyone when you're a new mom. I had a similar experience in the grocery store in the US, and I was not prepared at all. "How cute! your baby is beautiful! Boy or girl? Did you get her from Korea?" "Nope, I got her from my uterus."

The poor lady looked so embarrassed and apologized ready to run away, but I decided to teach the moment...I said it's ok. Her dad is Japanese and my blonde hair and blue eyes are recessive traits so she doesn't look much like me. She went on to explain that her daughter adopted from Korea, so that's where her mind went and whatever...It was a nice interaction. Objectively, my daughter and I don't look related, so it didn't bother me apart from someone, in my mind, dismissing all the effort  and hard work I had just put in to a pregnancy and birth. Hence my on the spot answer "from my uterus".  

And thinking back, anytime we met someone new as a family, there was a whole conversation of how much my sister and I look alike, what parts look like our mom or our dad, I look like my dad, my sister looks like my mom, in great detail this new person would evaluate our relatedness. So on the one hand, it wasn't strange for someone to comment on how much I look like my family, but it was the first time the comment was that we didn't look alike at all.  I was proud to be told I looked like my parents, and here was a stranger telling my daughter that she doesn't look like her mom. How would that make her feel?

On the way home, I thought, wait a minute, should I have been more offended? And I realized I have no experience with the biracial/multiracial world. I am totally white and grew up in a mostly white setting. And my husband is totally Japanese growing up in a mostly Japanese setting. Shit! We were both ignorant and ill prepared to navigate the tricky landscape that our daughter will find herself in!

I didn't even know what words were acceptable or offensive. My own grandmother called her an "oriental princess" once; I knew that wasn't acceptable anymore. It's Asian now Gramma! What rock is she living under that she is still using that word? The rock right next to mine I guess. I know she didn't mean it negatively, and accepted words change all the time. It's hard to keep up when you aren't exposed to the conversation.

Luckily we live in the internet age. When I got home, I promptly googled "what to say when someone asks about your biracial child". I found that even if you are the only one in your town, there are many people like you in the world sharing their experiences and coming together over the internet. My search returned "Are you their mommy or their nanny" from a site called mashupamericans. I liked the tone of the writers and the information has been helpful to ease my mind and feel more prepared as a parent.

Another helpful article "How to talk to your mixed race kids about race" It covers some common questions kids get asked about their race and some ways to respond. For people whose kids aren't mixed, I still encourage you to read it and talk to your kids because they might be the ones asking "what are you?" without thinking how that question might make someone feel. This article also mentions a "Bill of rights for racially mixed people which reminds kids or anyone that it's ok to be who they want to be, to be themselves. It also illustrates what multiracial kids are led to believe by others or society. Most of this bill of rights seems obvious and goes without saying for people living as the majority, so it's an interesting glimpse into just how different a minority's experience can be.

You might like to join a private facebook group for mixed race/ multiracial families and parents. I was going to link one, but there are actually quite a few. You could maybe find one closer to home than you think. I joined one for foreigners raising kids in Japan. It's really helpful and reassuring to connect with other people in your same situation and share experiences and resources.
 
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If you're able, please peacefully protest with us.

Learn about the organized protests and see if there is something you would like to do - it doesn't have to be protesting itself, but if there isn't sustained pressure put on police departments, government, and corridors of power, nothing will change. https://blacklivesmatter.com/about/

If you are not a person of color, please read how BLM requests allies to act, and read BLM's initiatives that go beyond the the United States. It is a global movement for freedom, liberation and justice. https://blacklivesmatter.com/resources/

We need allies. We do. We all have stories from slavery to the present day. Every generation of my family has stories. My grandfather was almost lynched for marrying a white woman in Lackawanna, NY in 1943. My father is still routinely stopped by the police in his own neighborhood - my father is 79. My son has been stopped while walking from the train station to his apartment. He was coming home from class, and they wanted to search his book bag. He knew that he could legally refuse, but he didn't. He had to do a cost benefit analysis - stand up to the police who wanted to perform an illegal warrantless search and place his bodily security in danger or let them search his bag. He let them search his bag. He cried when he told me. He was angry and humiliated.

While I was raising him, I told him, "There are people who will look at you and think they know you. But they will have no desire to get to know you. I'm sorry. It's wrong, and it kills me to tell you this. But this is racism in America, and we're just too brown."

Cell phone images have made allllll the difference in the world. Not enough people believed our fear of police brutality and/or the extent of such fear and brutality until they saw it. And saw it again. And saw it again. And we continue to see it during the peaceful protests. This fear is like a type of tinnitus - it's always in my mind buzzing while I try to live my life.

Think about the 75-year-old protester in Buffalo who was shoved by an officer in riot gear. He fell, hit his head, was unconscious, bleeding from his ear, and the police continued to walk past him.

These things break my heart. I shouldn't have to tell my son to surrender his civil rights because if he doesn't, it could cost him his life.
 
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"We don't have to manifest love, in fact, we cannot manifest love.  All we can do is see beauty and react to that.  Through that, we will be a vessel of love and we will pour love through ourselves, not because we know how to love but because we can recognize beauty."  
Dr Zach Bush
I think that even more than speaking up, recognizing beauty and having true reverence for life second by second (whether our own life, the lives of our racist friends...which I honestly have the most difficulty with, or all of the people of color we find in our lives) is where we start (and end).
And even though it often seems the easy way out, we can support change from the sidelines.  The National Lawyers Guild is AMAZING (personal family experience), Equal Justice Institute too, and welovelakestreet.com for direct aid to small businesses in Minneapolis (my youngest lives there, it is a beautiful place and worth investing in).  Follow Shaun King on social media since he seems to have eyes and ears everywhere.
 
Cris Fellows
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Beth Johnson wrote:

If you are not a person of color, please read how BLM requests allies to act, and read BLM's initiatives that go beyond the the United States. It is a global movement for freedom, liberation and justice. https://blacklivesmatter.com/resources/



Beth, thank you for the resources and more importantly your life and shared stories.  We will continue to do all we can to make this a place where your son can be safe and unafraid and supported.  ❤❤❤  Cris
 
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I was born in Florida. I am also old enough to remember segregated bathrooms, drinking fountains and dining areas. Racism as an overt act is far more destructive than mere words.

What goes for 'racism' these days is a far cry from the dark days of Jim Crow. Lambast as you wish, but I would hazard I have the mileage on most here.

ACT: treat people as you would wish to be treated.

May your life be fulfilling.
 
Beth Johnson
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john mcginnis wrote:I was born in Florida. I am also old enough to remember segregated bathrooms, drinking fountains and dining areas.



My father as well (except for the Florida part). He and his brother were boy scouts and were on a trip with other troops. The bus stopped at a restaurant in Texas, and he and his brother were forced to eat in the kitchen while white scouts ate in the dining room portion of the restaurant. Racist treatment of that sort turned what was a good time for them getting to know scouts in other troops into a defining moment in their lives. My father and uncle were publicly humiliated, and they had to get back on that bus with the other scouts.

The police stop my father when he is driving in his neighborhood because he doesn't look like he belongs there. He has to sit patiently while part of him dies inside every time he is stopped. He cannot not say anything or do anything that could possibly be construed as uppity. He doesn't even ask why he has been pulled over. White people threw bricks at him when he walked to high school. This is in Pennsylvania.

No one is throwing bricks at my father, but the police are still pulling him over. As a human being, both are dangerous to his physical and mental health. Knowing that these things and others have happened because he is black has scarred him for what remains of his life.

If my son looks sideways at a police officer who has stopped him and wants to search my son's book bag, his life could be in danger if he declines to allow the officer to do so even though it is within my son's Constitutional rights to refuse to acquiesce unless they have a search warrant. The police are peace officers. They have a duty to protect and serve. My child has another good 60 years left to live. He has another 60 years to be afraid of the police unless we do something now. I have another good 30 years to be afraid for my son. This is about more than toilets and water fountains. It's about life. It's about liberty. It's about the pursuit of happiness, the ideals that our foundational document, The Declaration of Independence, says all share. That all men are created equal. We're not there yet. I'm hopeful that we will be soon. I'm hopeful that I will not have to see another video of another man dying in the street calling out, "Momma! Momma! I can't breathe."
 
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I think that relationships between people groups from different parts of the world would be better off if we saw that as the only distinction; we look different because our ancestors lived in different places, adapted to the conditions, and were more or less genetically isolated from other groups. We act or sound different because of the cultures we grew up in. The tones of our skin aren't related to our value as people, they're related to better survival in certain geographic regions. Darker skinned people tend to come from near the equator, and have better built in protection from sunburn, and possibly skin cancer than lighter skinned people. Lighter skinned people tend to come from areas farther from the equator, and can better produce vitamin D under the less direct sunlight.

I know that it is only noticed by a few people, but whenever I have to fill out anything that asks my race, I skip to "other" and write in "human". Now and then someone will mention a legit medical reason for the question: people group 'a' are more susceptable to disease 'x' than people group 'b'. I tend to answer that with "My skin's kinda pink. All of my known ancestry came from europe. Write whatever you think you need to."
 
Hugo Morvan
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Elle, that's shocking, i feel for sad you, very strong example. What an idiot lady in the mall. It's especially shocking because you are in a 100% love mode and someone pulls you out with such a stupid question. Which shows you how insane this world is. And then you are left with the shock people can be so different from you. All children are beautiful and lovely. And here is this lady who cannot get over the shock the baby has a different appearance to what she is used to. Heartless. Unlike you! Who loves your man and child. You're full of heart. Good for you!

I hope you can find a way to give that anger a good place.
People like the idiot in the mall are detached from themselves.

I don't think being angry at them is going to re-attach them. Only themselves can heal themselves.
Experience will have to do that.
She'll have to come to realize, that people are the same by experience.
If people are labeling you as racist and making you feel ashamed about your thoughts you're only going to be more detached and nervous , you can't have an experience that really heartwise shows you, people are fundamentally the same.

Raising your son as a normal loved kid will open hearts everywhere.
 
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Elle, the gal who looked at your child and asked that question was rude, although I assume she was also surprised, which really doesn't excuse it, but might mitigate it some.  

I love to look at babies in stores, etc.  Most are beautiful, but I have seen a few that were downright ugly.  When that happens, I lie!  I smile and tell the woman how beautiful her child is, mentioning eyes, grin, something.  To do otherwise will hurt the poor woman's feelings needlessly.  

I am against people being treated poorly because of how they look, although I admit when I was young, I had a strong preference for dating good looking women.  

It seems to me there is a strange double standard going on here as far as racism goes.  An organization for minority people is ok, even desirable.  A similar organization for whites is racist.  A club for boys or men is sexist, but one that is for women is fine.  Seems to me, what's good for the goose is good for the gander.  We need a single standard of behavior for everyone and expect people to meet it.  We don't have that at this time.  

I had a strange experience today.  On a family text, one of my nieces was proudly telling how she had got a security guard fired at her work because she found out he had joined a "racist" organization.  I was horrified, this sounded way to much like 'thought police' to me.  He hadn't commited a crime or done anything wrong, from her description, other than joining an organization she didn't approve of.  Maybe I should have asked more questions.  Instead, I was stupid and really pissed her off by saying "I used to belong to a very sexist organization, but in those days the Boy Scouts was considered a good group.  Maybe I should be fired also."  Now I wonder what terrible organization he joined, but I don't want to stir that pot again.  The term racist in my mind has been applied to so many inocuous things, as well as truly horrifying, that I don't even know what it means anymore.

Later another niece mentioned that it was ok for minorities to be prejudiced because they aren't in power.  That niece is married to a really good guy from China.  The smug self righteousness attitude of my nieces bothers me.  

Another of my nieces, who is native american had a awful story of police sexual assault on a friend of hers.  I believe her.  Stuff like that happens and should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.  

My personal view is that folks are folks.  We're pretty much the same, with pretty much the same motivations and needs.  There are assholes and predators in all groups that I've been around.  I've lived in a few areas where whites were the minority, and it wasn't fun when I was the object of obvious dislike and discrimination because of my skin color.  I moved from those areas.  I personally prefer to be with people who I feel I share commonality with, whether it be blood relations(although that may be changing with my nieces), general attitude, interests, belief system, etc.  The fact that they look like me is a ways down the list.  

I don't feel a need to atone for the sins of my ancestors.  That way lies madness.  You can't change the past.  The perpetrators and victims are all dead.  Everyone has been oppressed by someone, somewhere in history.  Nobody liked it.  Many of us are more mixed than we realize.  I figure the longer we perpetuate the vivid memory of the bad treatment, the longer we will remain separate groups.  We have removed racist and sexist laws (with the exception of a male only draft, which is going away soon) and tried to make things even under the law, with the major work done over 50 years ago.  It actually seems to me we are having more problems now than we did 40 or 50 years ago, and you can't tell me there is more white racism now than there was then.  I feel like much of the current trouble is generated by mass media, looking to generate excitement and a story.  I've noticed that eventually for most of these big brouhahas after months of breathless race baiting, the story comes down to someone acting in a relatively reasonable manner, that spiraled out of control, often caused by the victim, who turns out to be a criminal.  This is reported briefly, in a page 3 kind of way.  What remains in the public memory is the story trumpeted for weeks or months.  I mentioned a couple of these cases to my niece, but even though she lived in the general area of one event, all she remembered was the dominant story.

If people want to dislike someone, I figure their free to do so.  Their loss.  Not everyone will like you, or treat you politely.  Sad Truth.  It is of course uncomfortable when someone is rude.  But last time I checked rudeness violates only social laws, not civil ones.  If we insisted on polite behavior, most of this would go away, but then we get the question, who's polite behavior.  My general rule is to not make the other person uncomfortable or embarrassed and act in a general pleasant, agreeable manner.  It doesn't always work, but it's the best solution I have.  If someone is rude, I will not generally call them out on it unless they are far out of line, because I view that as rude on my part.  If your clever enough, you can probably teach them.  I am not.  
 
john mcginnis
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Beth Johnson wrote:

john mcginnis wrote:I was born in Florida. I am also old enough to remember segregated bathrooms, drinking fountains and dining areas.



My father as well (except for the Florida part). He and his brother were boy scouts and were on a trip with other troops. The bus stopped at a restaurant in Texas, and he and his brother were forced to eat in the kitchen while white scouts ate in the dining room portion of the restaurant. Racist treatment of that sort turned what was a good time for them getting to know scouts in other troops into a defining moment in their lives. My father and uncle were publicly humiliated, and they had to get back on that bus with the other scouts.



What happened to Floyd should happen to no man. That was not police work but an execution. The fact that both men knew each other from security work leads me to believe that there was more in play here than a counterfeiting charge.

As to the police. Well I have had my fair share of bad experiences with them.



 
Rufus Laggren
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Elle and Beth

Here's some links to an interview and its transcript which may mean something to you and your son. The interviewer is not my favorite, but I think her guest on this show puts forth some important concepts. Also, his book may worthwhile. The guest and author is Resmaa Menakem.

Here's the audio download. As in all things internet, I recommend downloading it to your device, whatever, if you decide it's worth anything to you. The internet is emphemeral:
https://dts.podtrac.com/redirect.mp3/cdn.simplecast.com/audio/857601/85760130-020c-4d30-8e15-26c5c451394f/6f29a44d-b40a-4932-906b-01c9de87ab72/192/resmaa-menakem-notice-the-rage-notice-the-silence_tc.mp3

Here's the source page for that link and it includes a "listen now" button.  This show is at the top of the list right now - now sure but it may bump down in coming weeks:
https://onbeing.org/programs/resmaa-menakem-notice-the-rage-notice-the-silence/#audio

Here is the link to the transcript:
https://onbeing.org/programs/resmaa-menakem-notice-the-rage-notice-the-silence/#transcript

I think the audio might be better in this case because content "goes in" a little differently that way and this particular stuff could benefit from a little less analysis and theorizing.


Regards,
Rufus
 
john mcginnis
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One other minor point on the whole matter and then I will say no more.

When I hear 'We have a collective responsibility to stamp out systemic racism....', I cringe. First its all the rage with the corporate set as something to add to their check mark on their social justice page. That alone should make one suspect on the matter. But what really irks me about the whole thing is the 'collective responsibility' bit is the implied sharing of guilt. Stalin was quoted -- "a single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic". So if we all share the responsibility we are all a little less racist? Balderdash.

We each, alone are racist in some manner. Owe up to it the best each of us can and manage it the best we can. Racism is an individual act and can only be handled in that manner. Keep in mind racism isn't just about color. I was taught never judge a man by the clothes he wears. That tomato farmer in torn overalls this year is next year buying Cadillacs cash and that is a fact.

Over and out.
 
elle sagenev
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Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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Mick Fisch wrote:
It seems to me there is a strange double standard going on here as far as racism goes.  An organization for minority people is ok, even desirable.  A similar organization for whites is racist.  A club for boys or men is sexist, but one that is for women is fine.  Seems to me, what's good for the goose is good for the gander.  We need a single standard of behavior for everyone and expect people to meet it.  We don't have that at this time.  



I guess my view on this is that minorities desire groups to support each other through challenges I'd wager most white men do not encounter. I know I've joined women's groups and my husband really just can't relate to the challenges of having a uterus. Minorities look for organizations where they can share their experiences and try to collectively bring about change. Without getting my post flagged I'd wager to say it's unlikely a lot of the white people in the world have needed that. When white people want change, they just do it because they're in power.

My son has a bunch of encyclopedias by year from National Geographic. My daughter was looking through it and asked me why there hasn't been a woman president yet. A question a white male won't have to ask. Just pointing that out. And no, guilt isn't needed.

Like I said, I don't feel guilty for being me. I've had an easy life. I don't feel bad about that. I am also able to look outside of myself. I don't need a white support group because I just don't.

I've been pulled over a lot. (I speed ya'll) I've never been afraid while being pulled over. I've never been pulled over for absolutely no reason. I always deserved it. My husband has different experiences. He does get pulled over for no reason. The one time he deserved to be pulled over I was shocked at how much his ticket was. I get tickets all the time and I didn't even know they could issue them that high.

I see the reasoning in your post a lot and at one point in time I probably would have agreed with you. At this point I've just seen too much to think like that. There are different American experiences and they depend a lot on your color and gender.

Oh and religion. Man the somewhat but yet not amusing stories I could tell about flying with my spouse. He seems to be a chameleon. When we are flying they are pretty convinced he's an Arabic terrorist. I've watched TSA agents literally run down the terminal to do "random checks" on him while we were waiting in line to board. His brother looks even more Arabic than he does and that poor guy can't fly without a million security checks.

Again, my husband never says anything about this. He doesn't point it out or complain. This is NORMAL for him. I'm the angry one.
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