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White Woman and Black Man

As a baby boomer, Denise and millions of others are becoming senior citizens. She explores what it means to be over 60 today.

Racism is not Patriotism

Racism is not Patriotism

Current Events

I don’t usually write about the current events of the day or anything political because I don’t like the arguments and tension it creates. But in view of current happenings, I can’t really stay silent any longer.

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Black Men Are Men Too

I am a white woman in a black man’s world. Thirty-four years ago I married a wonderful Christian man who just happened to be black. His kindness and generosity, his love of his fellow man, and his Christian values won me over. I got to the place where I didn’t see the blackness as much as the radiant soul within. Even with his many human faults (don’t we all have them), he is to me, the embodiment of what a Christian man should be. He reads his Bible every day, gives to the poor, teaches kindness, and not just marries people (he is a pastor) but also keeps in touch with them to make sure they are navigating the rough seas of marriage.

Okay, I’m not all that sheltered. I do see that people look at his blackness and not his shining goodness. My own family members, in the beginning, were against my marriage, one stating, “if only he wasn’t so dark”, as if that would make a difference to them. One commented that they feared he would bring around “his spear-chucker friends” to rob them. That’s what the white community thinks of black people. What they don’t know is that the black community thinks that way also. Among the many friends and relatives, I have come into contact with, many (dare I say most) judge each other on the “shade” of darkness and give favor to the lighter-skinned among them. Have the white opinions rubbed off on everyone so badly?

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Love and Peace

In the 70s. we thought we had arrived. We thought we were so enlightened and that this race thing was overcome. We had transcended the hate into a world of love and flower power. We must have all be high. It isn’t gone. It only went underground and stayed silent, breeding more hate in the dark so that by the time it resurfaced it was colossal. The monster has grown beyond anything we thought we defeated in the late 60s and early 70s. The monster is back in charge of things like the military and police. Is it any wonder that George Floyd can be crushed like he were not a human being?

I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.

— Martin Luther King, Jr.

Family Gathering.  I am bottom left.

Family Gathering. I am bottom left.

The Monster of Racism

This monster has always been here. I saw it in small ways even in a liberal state like California. Once my husband and I stopped at a store before heading on a long trip. He rushed in for drinks and snacks while I waited in the car. That’s when a red-neck cowboy-type man came to my car window and started berating me for my choice of husband. He was typical. He wore a big silver belt buckle and cowboy boots and Stetson hat. He said, “aren’t their any white guys you can go out with?” I couldn’t help myself. I was stunned and cornered in my car with him towering over me. So I said, “are you asking me out? Because I’d never go out with you. Just look at you!” And I turned my face away trembling. He could have reached in and hurt me. He could have hit me or something. He could have gone into the store and found my husband to hurt him. Fortunately, he walked away.

That is racism. That man didn’t look at my husband and see a man. He saw a black man. He didn’t look at me and see a black man’s wife. He saw a white woman “who should know better.” We must learn to look beyond the color and see the person beneath.

We are still pulled over because there is a black man driving a nice car. We still have to explain ourselves when walking along the street. For the most part, the police in our area are considerate and genuinely concerned for the welfare of all. It is a shame that that is not the case everywhere and with all police.

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Racism Against Chinese Americans Too

When the coronavirus began really taking hold in the US around March, and the president called it the Chinese flue, my dear friend told me she was terrified. I didn’t see the problem right away. I don’t see her as Chinese. She told me it had already begun. Her Chinese American friends and family had been targeted on the street by angry white men (and some white women) as “carriers.” One woman with a 5-year-old son were waiting for a bus when a man came up to them and spit on them. One of my friend's sisters was beaten up on the street in front of her two children by two brave white men, telling her to take her disease back to her own country. She is a 6th generation Chinese. This is her country. That, my friends, is racism. They were targeted for no other reason than the way they look. Don’t tell me that there is no racism in America. If you think that, you are deluded, shelters, or have sand in your hair.

Racism is still with us. But it is up to us to prepare our children for what they have to meet, and, hopefully, we shall overcome.

— Rosa Parks

It Takes Video Footage

So what is new? What has caused all the outrage? What has made people wake up and take notice? Was it the actual footage, video that cannot be refuted? You had to be a witness to realize it is here, alive and well in the USA? I could have told you that ages ago. We have a long way to go. We have had video before. What about the actual bodycam footage of the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in August 2014, unarmed with his arms in the air? What about the footage of Charles Kinsey in Florida shot in the leg. He was a behavioral therapist trying to contain an autistic patient in the street. He was laying on the ground with his arms up when he was shot. Come on America, how much footage do you need? I could state so many others. What about Ahmaud Arbery who was jogging outside of Brunswick, Georgia in February, when he was shot three times and left dead in the street. He wasn’t shot for jogging, he was guilty of jogging while black.

And so George Floyd’s name is added to a long list of names that have suffered from systemic racism in this country. It is a list that should not exist but it does. My husband’s cousin is on that list. We don’t even know much about what happened to him. We are told it was his fault, that he was resisting arrest. But then we are always told that, now aren’t we? Was George Floyd resisting arrest? Did he deserve to die in the street like that? The law wouldn’t allow you to treat a dog like that but a black man… well, that’s okay. When, Oh Lord, will justice prevail?

Do we only care when one has died?  Fallen?  Crushed?

Do we only care when one has died? Fallen? Crushed?

Final Thoughts

The outrage over these continual unconscionable acts in not only right but long overdue. Imagine if, through no fault of your own, you had been born black. You cannot trust those who have sworn to “serve and protect” because they only swore to serve and protect the whites. All the rest are on their own. Is it any wonder that we are more than outraged in a nation with the high sounding principles of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? I would love to hear your thoughts. Be forewarned if you are belligerent, argumentative, or unreasonable I will delete your comment.

Comments

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 13, 2020:

Peggy Woods,

Well said, my friend. I agree that we had no choice. I remember watching and educator on racism ask an audience if every white person in the audience would please stand if they wouldn't mind being treated the way black people are. No one rose. Then she said that that told her that we all are aware of the difference in treatment and none of us would like it if it were done to us. Therefore, we cannot claim ignorance or that they only get what they deserve if they are wrong-doing. No one deserves to be treated that way. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on June 13, 2020:

There is an old native American saying that references walking a mile in my moccasins with the meaning of understanding. None of us has a choice to be born with the skin color we wear. It has been apparent now for centuries that to be born black carries an undue burden when it comes to being treated equally. That is a simple fact that would be hard to refute.

What we are going to do about that is up to everyone's conscience. Lawmakers need to do the right thing, and so do we when it comes to selecting them. If everyone lived by the Golden Rule, that alone could make a huge difference. Who would voluntarily line up to be treated as George Floyd, and so many others have been treated? I dare say no one in their right mind!

Thanks for sharing your personal story. As you wrote, the timing is right. May God bless you and everyone in this fight for equality.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 11, 2020:

Ann Carr,

Thanks. I don't usually have the presence of mind either.

Blessings,

Denise

Ann Carr from SW England on June 11, 2020:

No, I wouldn't have said that because I wouldn't have had the guts or the presence of mind to think about saying that. It's the sort of thing I'd think of later and wished I had said it! Bullies like that don't know what to do when challenged and I think that's why he just walked away.

Well done you!

Ann

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 10, 2020:

Ann Carr,

Really? Would you have said that to him? I still think it was more foolhardy than brave to talk to a guy I don't know like that. Thank you for your kind words and encouragement.

Blessings,

Denise

Ann Carr from SW England on June 10, 2020:

It is so sad. There is so much blindness when people do not talk, listen, understand, but just look at the picture and assume all sorts of untruths. I think the leaders have a duty to teach by example (I'm saying no more on that score!).

You are brave to speak out when your conscience asks you to - it's a difficult thing and we are afraid of backlash, but there are times when we have to. Your story is hard-hitting and that's what's needed. You have courage to share it and I respect you all the more for that.

Let's hope things improve but that it's done with forethought and love rather than violence and anger. Btw, I loved your answer to the cowboy! That took guts!

Ann

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 09, 2020:

Dora Weithers

My dear friend, I'm glad you think I addressed the issue with some intelligence. Sometimes I worry that I'm not saying enough and other times I wonder if I've said too much. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on June 09, 2020:

It is a shame that we have to prepare children to deal with racism. Yet, blessed are the parents who do. Thank you for sharing your story and for emphasizing our need to love other human beings. There's the positive way to go forward.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 08, 2020:

Mary Norton,

You are so right. It is a terrible disease; worse than coronavirus. I have been infected just like everyone else. I just fight against it, which is all that makes me different from the overt racists. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on June 08, 2020:

Sadly, racism is still alive and it is in us as well. The events now is a call to elevate our consciousness and expand ourselves so we can be more inclusive.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 08, 2020:

Devika Primić,

It isn't everyone in the US but those ugly racists cast a big shadow and appear to be great in number. The non-racists are more numerous but they want to stay quiet about the problem and not get involved. It's the anti-racists that are making the changes and marching mostly peacefully. They are all too few, I think. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 08, 2020:

Linda Rogers,

What a sweet spirit you have. I can feel the love of God in your very words. I'm glad you think this may actually change things. Maybe it will. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on June 08, 2020:

Hi Denise I am South African and I know from personal experience what it is like to live in the era of racism. As much as everything has changed racism will not disappear. People still fail to see themselves for who they really are because of the way others see them. Looks like to me most of U.S.A still has an issue with people of color and that is a shame.

Linda Rogers from Minnesota on June 07, 2020:

I am incredibly grateful that you had the courage to go out of your comfort zone by writing this important article. I actually live in a suburb of Minneapolis which is near where the tragedy happened to George Floyd. I hope & pray that we take this death to finally make real changes in fighting racism. My niece and nephew have been joining in on the peaceful rallies since George Floyd's death. It's a beautiful thing to see all the diversity in these protest rallies. I believe George's death will not be in vain & that we will use it to make real change. God Bless for sharing your experiences as a white woman married to a black man. Loved how you handled the man who came to your car. You are one strong, brave woman. #BlackLivesMatter #AllLivesMatter

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 07, 2020:

Linda Crampton,

I do hope it begins now. There is more awareness than before but I may just be overly optimistic. Change is hard and many resist it. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 07, 2020:

Linda Lum,

Truer words were never spoken, my friend. God did not intend for this to be but we are in a fallen world. If only hearts would change. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 07, 2020:

DreamerMeg,

A very good point. Respect is so important. Just decent human dignity is due to all. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 07, 2020:

MG Singh,

A very good question. How can you hate a person for the color they were born with? It isn't their fault. It isn't my fault I was born to a white family. We cannot choose. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on June 07, 2020:

This is a powerful article, Denise. Thank you for sharing it. I think this is a time when problems such as the ones that you describe should be brought out into the open. Potential solutions should be not only discussed but also attempted. In many places, society needs to change. I hope this is the moment when the change happens or at the very least when it begins.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 07, 2020:

Sally Gulbrandsen,

I fear for the future too. But I think you misunderstand what "black lives matter" means. It doesn't mean only black lives matter. Of course, ALL lives matter. It means that black lives are disproportionately targeted and taken with little justice or thought. It means the systemic hate needs to be addressed because black people are people too. You should watch the video I posted with this hub.

Trevor Noah says it so well. Thanks so much for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 07, 2020:

Rochelle Frank,

Unfortunately, positive changes come far too slowly. I think that's what makes some people so angry. They feel they have waited long enough. And in truth, they have waited and not seen much change. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on June 07, 2020:

Denise, thank you for sharing your thoughts. Oh how I wish that we could now be at the turning point, that the events of two weeks ago would somehow be the "it" that we need. But sadly, the story has been told time and time and time again; our response is always the same. It's like a bad marriage--there are promises that "I'll change, things will be different" but soon the old habits creep back into play.

I am sorry for the hatred you and your family have had to endure. It should never be. All of us are the same inside and all of us are created and loved by the same God.

Blessings to you.

DreamerMeg from Northern Ireland on June 07, 2020:

Great hub, telling it like it is. We are ALL people and we all deserve respect. No matter how different someone is from yourself, that person deserves respect and to be treated as a person, as you yourself would want to be treated. We should listen to people and understand their point of view.

MG Singh emge from Singapore on June 07, 2020:

Thanks for a fine article. All I can say is that America has not yet matured. Open hostility to the Black color cannot be accepted but unfortunately in America, it exists. Why talk of America even in China in India this negative attitude against the black color is very much there. When will it go?

Sally Gulbrandsen from Norfolk on June 07, 2020:

I lived in South Africa during Apartheid area. I fear for the future, not only for that country but all over the world. Nothing has changed.

There is violence everywhere, black against white, white against black and no lessons have been learned. Black lives do matter but so do those of other races too. When did it become acceptable to destroy infrastructure and shops, with little or no social distancing being taken into account? Who is going to do the contact tracing for those infected with the virus? Who is going to look after the sick when they are struck with the virus? For the first time I wonder why we have been isolated indoors to our homes for ten weeks when it seems that none of our lives matter.

Rochelle Frank from California Gold Country on June 06, 2020:

Yes, I think things will change, though much too slowly.

We had great hope when MLK showed that changes can be made peacefully. That was a turning point, but we are still not fully going in the right direction.

In my early years our (white) family lived in a mostly black neighborhood. My grandmother, as a neighbor, helped others who might have been sick or needed a meal, whatever color they were. I had few nearby playmates but the few I had were black, and I didn't know the difference-- my parents forgot to teach me that.

Years later, my niece's daughter married a black man. My mom was a bit troubled, and sort of mad at herself because she had always thought she was "color-blind". Later she realized that she wasn't against the man, but worried that her great-granddaughter would have a tough life and face such experiences as you have.

They have been married for more than 25 years and live in a small (mostly white) town in Oregon. They have four beautiful and accomplished children. Their oldest son maried a white girl with two of her own children and they just had a baby. They are all active in their church and community. Yes, they have faced challenges, but I think that has made them stronger. I understand some of what you are facing on a daily basis.

Positive changes will come slowly, and it will be partly because of families like yours and theirs.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 06, 2020:

Bill Holland,

So true. Do you think there can really be change? I think people's hearts have to change instead of laws and countries. It is a matter of the heart. Thank you for sharing some of Bev's story. My step-daughter has two boys and I really fear for them everyday. She was waiting on a man in a store once (her job), but apparently not fast enough. He told her there was a time when he could have her taken out and beaten for ignoring him and he wished that time was back. He was serious. What's wrong with people? Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on June 06, 2020:

Thank you for sharing your story, Denise. I have said for decades that racism is not dead; it is just much better at hiding in the shadows than it once was. My wife was once married to a black man. She could recite stories very similar to yours. My stepdaughter is half white/half black. She lives with a gnawing fear, and she lives in a very liberal city here in Washington.

I have very few answers, but I know we must be vigilant and determined so this will change.

Blessings to you always

bill

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 06, 2020:

Eric Dierker,

My dear friend, if only it were the exception. Even in the church I see it. It shouldn't be there, Jesus would not approve but it is there. You can't imagine how many times my husband was passed over for promotion because of his skin color. Or the time he was hired to work at a Christian radio station as an announcer (he has a fabulous voice and was hired over the phone) only to be regulated to the graveyard shift and vacuuming the floors and taking out the trash after they saw his face. They wouldn't let him on the air because he was black. He has 20 years experience in radio and they wouldn't let him on the air. Yet he never complains. He prays. He is such a shining example of Christ. We have seen things I can't even relate to you. It isn't everyone. But it only takes a few rotten apples to spoil the whole bunch, right? Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 06, 2020:

Liz Westwood,

Thank you for your kind words. I wasn't sure I should publish such a piece. I don't usually. It just seems like time. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on June 06, 2020:

You are as cute as a bug in that photo. I see your points. And the nature of it taking a video. I just question the degree. I think you may be making general concepts out of exceptions.

Part of why things are egregious is because they are outside our common activities and thoughts. All of your examples (should have included Rodney King and the James Chaney, Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman trio)

We must root out evil in whatever form, but we must be cautious in declaring something a rule when it is far more statistically an exception.

Liz Westwood from UK on June 06, 2020:

Thank you for writing such a powerful piece. I really appreciate the way that you have shared your personal experience to add your voice to the voices of many calling for change in the way that society works so unfairly.