Under the surface

in introspective •  2 years ago

I applied for a user id for Steemit several days ago, and the answer came quickly - the same day. And yet it has taken many days for me to figure out what to say in my first post.

I am 60 and a woman. I am part Scots-Irish-Welsh-and who know what; and part Malaysian-Filipino-Japanese-and who knows what. Growing up I was keenly aware of not being like everyone else, not having a matched set of parents. I got this message loud and clear when I was spat upon in a public bus at age 4 and told I was trash. This was in Boston (and I still love that city because I also have many fond memories from it).

I got over taking racism personally soon after, and was glad when someone was overtly racist rather than the hidden racism that can occur. I could then decide how to proceed with less trepidation. I dislike "people" and enjoy "individuals".

Racism , or "Us"ism - isn't new and will probably NEVER go away. Some people embrace new, foreign, alien beings and some do not. Some get to learn to tolerate when they spend the time to meet and know and SEE someone else. Some will always be a danger to anyone who doesn't look, talk, believe what they see, speak and have faith in. I am okay with that, it is one of the things about this country that I truly embrace - the freedom to be, believe, think what you want - and to communicate that.

The problem for me isn't that racism exists, my problem is that I carry the anger and indignation of those moments when people were mean to me just under the surface - now several decades worth. With it, I also carry shame - that as a kid, I resorted to the same kind of bigoted name-calling back at the kids who were calling me names - that probably pisses me off more than anything - that I let myself get carried away to doing what I abhorred.

My anger does not go away. It crops up when I am anxious over something, or when I am dealing with someone who seems irrational to me. I work every day to stay in control of that anger, not to lash it out at some undeserving person (who most likely will be someone close to me that I feel safe with - and thereby ruin a relationship because of the anger I carry). And I know that there are many out there, who have been bullied, discriminated against, and had many unfair unjust things happen to them (like getting pulled over for driving a nice car or stopped for walking in an upscale neighborhood at night) that carry anger just under the surface - like me.

The advantage is that I am vigilant, and try to track the source of my anger quickly so I can lock it up and control it. And I am able to understand (though not condone) the actions of those who, like me, carry the anger with them every day when they let their respective Djin out of the bottle and riot. I saw it up close and personal after Dan White assassinated Harvey Milk in San Francisco. I've seen it on the television in countless places and times throughout my life.

I used to hope that humans could learn peace...now I see, that unless people are actively TEACHING peace, it is difficult for them to learn...just like we need to actively TEACH equality by demonstrating what it looks and feels like.

And understanding that peace and equality DOES NOT TAKE ANYTHING AWAY from those who have lots of STUFF. If anything, it should ADD to the quality of life for all. If we can ever get there. I thought we were getting close...but I guess it will take longer for us to collectively learn how to do this.

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