When I was in grade school at Stanley Elementary in Tacoma, each year I would bring my class photo home. After the second year photograph my mom would comment about me always having my photograph taken standing next to a tall black girl named Virginia.
We were always arranged by height. We were the tallest in the class, so we ended up standing next to each other. Virginia was a nice person, but she didn’t read very well and I was a voracious reader, so we weren’t friends.
I couldn’t figure out why Virginia was such a bother to my mother. It was only years later that I put two and two together. I was born in Nevada, Missouri where my mother and father grew up. In visits there I only saw white people.
It wasn’t until I heard stories of my dad and uncle hunting squirrels and rabbits together after World War II that I understood. They sold the dead animals to a black woman. The word black wasn’t used. In her later years, my mother had a friend named Mary who was black. She loved her dearly, but when talking about her, she whispered the words “She’s black.” I would just shake my head and say, “I know . . . I know.”
“For 175 years, the Smithsonian has embraced the notion that America’s shared past and present shape its collective future.”
I agree with the Smithsonian’s reasoning that our history of race and racism touches nearly every American. “All Americans have race, culture and traditions; all Americans inherit a complex racial past and live in a world shaped by its legacy.” I find the fact that many of our states forbid the teaching about race and its history, which really seems to be a counter-productive path on top of our latest census showing a downward trend of people declaring they are white.
“The first summit, on the topic of race and wellness, will be held on August 26 at 7 p.m. ET.”
For more information, please visit – Our Shared Future: Reckoning with Our Racial Past – Summit.
nan peele says
Thank you for continuing to draw our attention to a history we have been hiding in our country. A documentary named “13” produced by Ava DuVernay and released in 2016, buries us in the painful information many have systematically and strategically kept from us. It is not easy to watch. Don’t expect to “enjoy” and free yourself from our ignorance.
Don Doman says
While we can’t always glory in our past, we can often learn from it. Thanks for sharing.
p.s. You should enjoy my upcoming article on disAbilities coming up in a day or two.
KM Hills says
She “didn’t read very well … so we weren’t friends?” Hmm…
We all have a lived experience when it comes to race in America and I found this to be a more interesting perspective.
I do appreciate you sharing your perspective and am glad we all have the Suburban Times to have these discussions.
Don Doman says
Thanks for commenting and thanks for sending the info video on slavery. I wouldn’t be surprised if slavery had roots even before civilization. I hope the Smithsonian summit reaches out to people and promotes a greater understanding of race and acceptance.
Thanks, again for reading and commenting.
Dan Fannin says
Honesty is clearly the best policy. But, so is comprehensiveness and transparency. America is not the only country with a racial disparity background (past and present). It is ubiquitous and frequently involves other races. It is not unique to black people. I believe we sub optimize our opportunities to make progress when we focus only on race. Education, poverty, culture, religion all play a role. I would love to see a more honest effort beyond focusing on race.
Don Doman says
Spreading the information about the summit by the Smithsonian, is not the focus of my life or experience, it’s just one more portion of concern. Thanks for sharing and thanks for reading.