Before the age of 7, I was a tow headed blue eyed white child. My parents and I lived at the end of the runway of executive airport in Sacramento Ca. It was a mixed neighborhood of blacks, hispanics, whites and more. This was 45 years or so ago. My best friend was named Tete and her family was hispanic. I started sleepwalking and I scared my Mom pretty bad by leaving the house one night. I don’t remember if I had made some sound or not or if she was just awake, but for some reason she looked for me and found I was missing and the front door had been left open. I guess she freaked out pretty badly and found me outside walking down the sidewalk, going to my “friend Tete’s” house. They kept the doors in the house locked after that. I still remember some odd dreams I had while we were living in that area, and I remember Tete and her family with fondness.
My other best friend whom I walked to and from school with a few times was a young black girl the same age as I was. Sadly, I cannot remember her name although I think it was Tracy. I was only 5 or 6 years old and we only did this a couple of times. The following story will give you the reason why. When we would walk home from school her house would be the one we got to first. On this day her big brother was outside in the driveway with his bike. As we approached her house and him, he scowled and looked at me with hateful and angry eyes. I didn’t know what to do when he started yelling at me and balling his hands into fists as if he wanted to strike me. Keep in mind I was just a small child who hadn’t been exposed to anything violent or angry before. He called me a white devil and that if I didn’t get out of there he was going to beat me and my little white a**. My friend looked at me and grabbed my hand and said you better run home. So I did. I think that was the last time I ever walked home from school without my Mom. It didn’t save me from my next door neighbors though. You Honky. My next door neighbors child sure wanted me to know what they thought of me. Honky child, white devil thats me.
When I was 14 my Grandmother took me to Hawaii with her to visit my biological father, her son. He had left my mother and I years before, I think I was 3 or 4 when he left us to go there and my Grandmother wanted me to finally meet him. It was a very nice trip and I enjoyed it there immensely. It is truly a beautiful place. I met my father and he seemed like a nice man, I got to play with my half siblings and they were great! Much younger than I but so sweet. My stepmother was a full blooded native Hawaiian with beautiful dark curly hair and a kind smile. This trip would not prepare me for my next trip when I was 16. This trip I was a little older and a little wild. My mother had actually sent me to “stay with my father” and I was very upset about it. I missed my boyfriend and all of my other friends, it mattered not that I was in “paradise”, I had been made to go and I was not happy. I found some local teenagers to hangout with and so I would walk to and from the town along the main road. One day I was walking down the road, on my way home I think, when a car went by with some older young people in it who were screaming at me. “HOWLIE GO HOME!” “Howlie?” I thought to myself what is that? My father would tell me that it was a derogatory term for a white person. Howlie child, that’s me.
I wouldn’t experience any other racial slurs until I was an adult and in a grocery store parking lot. I and my friends son had driven his truck to the store and I was attempting to back out of the parking spot when this car zipped behind me so fast I had to slam on my brakes. That scared me so bad I gave a little honk on the horn. The young woman in the car proceeded to scream at me and tell me she would beat my white ass and something about my nasty white ass truck,(maybe she would drag me out of it?) which wasn’t even my truck but I guess that doesn’t matter. What matters was the fact that I was absolutely dumbfounded and horrified and in complete disbelief that someone of color would act like that and speak that way given their history. I called her a racist witch. I shouldn’t have but at the time I wasn’t thinking clearly even though she clearly was a racist.
Why am I writing all of this down? Why am I telling you this? Can I hope that in some small way this will give people something to think about. Another way to perceive a different aspect of race. Another facet of something that sadly just won’t seem to be left behind and left to the journals of history.
I would never ever address or condemn someone because of the way their human body looks. Be it race, hair color, shape of their body or head, whatever. My mother brought me up teaching me that at the very core of our being that it is wrong to judge or condemn people based on something that is so innate and completely out of their control.
Their inner being was fair game though according to Mom. This is how we learn who to be wary of. Who to walk away from and who to stay and love. We make these decisions based on how someone makes us feel, how our inner selves responds to them.
Violence and cruelty are another matter. They have nothing to do with race and are wholly and completely a part of someone’s character or ideology and the core of their being. Your color matters not if you wear a badge or a mask and want to hurt me, or if your someone who wants to burn the world down… You’re a threat to me all the same.
Love and steadfast peaceful perseverance will be the only way to change the world without damage. Love.