The One With All The Quotation Marks

“Hey, hey, Cinderella, what’s the story all about? I get a funny feeling we missed a page or two somehow.  Oh, Cinderella, maybe you could help us out. Does the shoe? Fit you now?” ~ Suzy Boggus

Even as a kid I knew Cinderella was a bullshit story. Don’t get me wrong.  I was a believer.  A gap toothed wide-eyed little naif.  Fairy godmothers and magical mice? No problem. BUT, and this is a big “but”, there is no way on earth that a girl in a big-ass ball gown, wearing high heels – glass no less – could go barreling down those stairs like her head was on fire and her ass was catchin’, lose a shoe, and not do a full on face plant.  Un uh.  Not buying it.

This is how my mind works.  I will buy the big picture, the wild stories, and the absolute ridiculous. And then one little thing, one offside stroke, will bring it all crashing down. 

When O.J. was first charged with the murder of Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman I was convinced he was innocent.  Not because he was a good guy.  I didn’t have an opinion one way or another.  But because the news said that he got from Brentwood to LAX in 11 minutes.  Un uh.  Not even O.J. can get to LAX in 11 minutes from Brentwood.  Hell, you can’t get from LAX to LAX in 11 minutes.  As it turns out, they had the time wrong on a certain drive through trip. 

As the trial wore on I became convinced by the facts presented that he was indeed guilty.  But the “race thing” bothered me.  I never bought that he was set up because he was black.  Because in the mind of your average racist there are “black people” and there are “celebrities”.  O.J. was a “celebrity. ” On one occasion Nicole Brown was at the gate of their home, beaten, bloody, screaming for help.  The police were called. They were white. She was white. They asked for his autograph.

I have been hearing a lot of talk lately about “reverse discrimination”.   This is one of those terms that  have never set right with me. Like “hot water heater”.  As my mother always says, “If it’s hot, we wouldn’t need to heat it, now would we, dear?”  The correct term is “water heater”.  And the correct reference to discrimination is, simply “discrimination”.

According to Websters:

dis·crim·i·na·tion –noun 1. treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit: racial and religious intolerance and discrimination.

Note that there is no reference to minority vs majority, black vs white, male vs female.  If you look at someone and see a group rather than a person, well, there you have it.  Have I ever faced discrimination as a white person? Sure.  As a woman? Definitely. As a Democrat? A heterosexual? A blonde? A Yankee? A Saint’s fan? Yup.  Is this the same thing people of color face everyday? Not by a long shot. 

The defining difference is that I can look at these occurrences and know they were isolated incidents with idiots and jackasses.   I can do this because discrimination is not a part of my daily life.  It is not a part of my history.  My government may have once said I needn’t worry my pretty little head about voting but it never said I was 3/5 of a person.  That I could be bought and sold and have my children ripped from my arms. I have never  had to see a postcard with a picture of my grandfather hanging from a tree while children picnicked in his shadow.  I have never had anyone assume I spoke German because I have Germanic features, nor stop me on the street to ask for proof that I didn’t just sneak in from Denmark.

As recently as 1972 Mississippi still kept separate record of “white marriages” and “colored marriages”. This I saw with my own eyes when I happened to  glance into an open storeroom at the Rankin County Courthouse in Raymond, MS.

We know what we have lived.  What are parents, grandparents, friends, and lovers have suffered through. 

There are plenty of people who don’t like me.  They don’t like my attitude, my sense of humor, my politics (there are a lot of people who don’t like my politics), my taste in footwear, whatever.  And yes, there are some who don’t like me just because I am white.  I know this.  But to compare these small matters to what African-Americans, Latinos, Asians, Arabs, Native Americans, and countless others, have suffered at the hands of this nation is akin to bitching about a headache to man who just had his head crushed by a boulder. 

If you are thinking, “That’s old news, times have changed”, think again. Just this month a lawsuit was filed in Pascagoula, Mississippi, by a Mexican woman who had her  two day old child taken from her arms and given to white strangers.  She spoke little English, (nor Spanish – she speaks Chatino, an indigenous language in Mexico.), was denied a translator even though a cousin volunteered, and was then placed under a gag order to keep her from going to the press.  Just this week I had a “friend” post a rant on Facebook about “black muslim reparation” referring to our president, (aaannnd, click, “unfriend”). Just today I had a clerk look right past the young black man in front of me and ask if they could help me.  I said, “No, he was first.” and I left. Then, of course , we have , Ross Barnett Reservoir, Jefferson Davis day, and Confederate Rememberence month.  Times may have changed, but there is still a long way to go before any white person can start screaming about discrimination.  

PS Jesus wasn’t white, just sayin.

~ by D.L. Graves on August 22, 2010.

One Response to “The One With All The Quotation Marks”

  1. […] I’m going to share this link because I need to. I’ll say right now that I’m not going to get into a discussion about […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: