This last weekend, my wife and I decided that we wanted to take our daughter (who is 21 months old so almost 2 years old) to a pumpkin patch. And not just pumpkin patch, a legit one where we walk out into a field and cut one off the vine. We didn't want to just go somewhere like a church who has a bunch of pumpkins they got shipped in and set out on a field. So we Google'd and found one that was about a 30 minute drive away and had other activities like a hay ride and a corn maze. Fantastic! And before getting to the story, the end result was we had an amazing time. We got 5 pumpkins, bunch of pictures and some really great strawberry lemonade! And let me apologize if I start rambling and get off subject, this post is very emotional to me in a time where I am constantly emotional about my surroundings.
Where we live is Northern Florida (Gainesville, home of the UF Gators) and it gets country real fast here so driving 30 minutes we got to gravel roads and such. No biggie, I grew up driving on dirt roads but one thing I really hate is seeing all the Confederate flags people fly here. Why is that important? I'm white, my wife is black and therefore my daughter is mixed. Seeing these flags all around (and in town too) makes my wife uneasy which makes me uneasy.
On our way, we were just a couple miles away from this farm, when my wife said something that really upset me. She said, "I don't know about this, I don't feel comfortable out here. It really sucks that we don't feel comfortable going somewhere." And she's right, it does really suck so I told her since we are almost there that we should drive up to it but if she isn't comfortable, I won't turn in and we'll go home. This is something I hadn't had to deal with myself until her and I started dating almost a decade ago. And it's not just in our heads, we've gotten a lot of stares with disgusted looks (maybe they all have resting bitch face maybe?) and we have even been yelled at (can remember walking down town St. Louis and a chick yelling at me that I should be ashamed of myself).
And now we live in a town in the south where in a couple days an extreme racist (Richard Spencer) is going to give a speech just a couple miles away. We are in a state that has a motto of "The Sunshine State" but is very liberal with gun laws so it's nicknamed "The Gunshine State" and people flying the Confederate flags are definitely the kind that love their guns and would go down fighting if anyone tried to take them away. So we are in an area where we have armed racists that aren't shy at being racist towards us.
Before I got together with my now wife, I didn't have to deal with this. Since I never saw it (I lived in Missouri in an area that was predominantly white) it didn't exist. So it's shocking to me that in 2017, racism is still a big thing. And to make matters worse, we have a president that is ok with being racist and religionist and even sexist which only emboldens those groups. So now I live in an area where people feel like it's ok to be racist. So when people tell me to give Trump a chance, I'm sorry but you don't understand a lot of what goes on even if you think you do, you don't. I don't think I wouldn't either to be honest.
There was a story my wife told me that this young kid, who was mixed, was walking and a few teenagers in a car started following him and yelling racist things at him. Luckily it was just words but that does leave scars and here I sit, a father of a mixed little girl who's favorite phrase is "Thank you." I fear for her, I fear she will have this adversity that I never had to deal with, never thought of. This is the world these kids are having to grow up in and it's not a southern regional thing, it's everywhere! It's like my daughter has to win the lottery just to grow up without being attacked (physically or verbally) and that's no way to live.
I don't think a lot of my friends and family think about this and still support Trump with how he is, how he doesn't denounce outward racists. I know they only want us to be happy and I'm sorry to relate this story with Trump but he is seen as the President of the Racist States. You have no idea the mental drain we are always under when we go out together and that's indefinite.
How would you like to walk around where you have to look at people to see who is a threat? There was a time in a grocery store here where we were in the produce. I had my daughter in the cart with me but my wife went away to grab something. A white male approached her and he looked like he had a few screws loose. I see that and my eyes don't leave my wife, my hands did not leave my daughter and I started going to my wife as quickly as I can. I have to treat people like they are guilty until proven otherwise in the produce section because the one time I don't could just mean something happens. I'm not exaggerating this, we get looks and comments made towards us. Maybe I'm overreacting, it's possible but I'd rather overreact than under-react and let something happen.
So before you say that racism isn't a thing, it very much is and this is a white guy saying this about white people. Making racist jokes even if they are only joking is still racism. Saying certain words even if it's not in hatred is still racist. If you see racism, it's not ok. You should always stop it if you can. There is no ok if you do not condone racism. If you voted for someone that is racist, you support it; there is no, "I support other things but not his racism."