In light of recent and not so recent events of violence, insults and degradation aimed at people of color, the issue of race has been placed front and center without limits.
Yesterday I watched a video of a non-Caucasian mother’s altercation with a Caucasian woman in a hospital cafeteria, which in my opinion should never have happened. The mother was ignoring her child who was throwing a tantrum by crying. And like a lot of mothers, myself included, she ignored the child, because giving in to the tantrum teaches the child that he or she can use this tactic as a weapon.
Well this woman, who had no right to interfere with the mother or the child, took it upon herself to sit down at the mother’s table to talk to the child. The mother asks the woman to leave, because how she handles her child’s tantrums was none of her business. The woman ignores the mother and continues to speak to the child, which greatly upsets the mother who goes off. Granted the mother may have chosen better words and maybe another way to handle the situation, but that’s not the point. After the woman still refuses to leave, (after being asked several times), the mother spits on her, which brings the woman to her feet to take a swing at the mother, who then retaliates with a slap. And after all of this, did the woman leave? No, she sits back down at the mother’s table.
This drama was bad enough. But what really got me, were the bystanders, including the person who was recording the whole ugly mess. They wanted someone to call security to deal with the mother and not the invading intruder who started the whole scene. This young mother was protecting herself and her child from a stranger who took it upon herself, to inflict her brand of child care on someone she had no right to. The fact that this woman was bold enough to place herself in a situation that was clearly none of her business is astounding.
Who was that woman to tell that mother how to handle her child? What gave her the right or privilege to invade the mother and child’s space? For some reason, we as people of color are expected to adhere to the request, demands, etc., of some Caucasians without question. If things aren’t done the way it is laid out for us—or God forbid we have a mind of our own and veer off the set course—that path is deemed insignificant or just plain unacceptable, and needs to be corrected.
But anytime we stand up for ourselves or shine light on the obvious discrimination, we are reprimanded and told to Get Over It, by those who feel we don’t have a right to do so!
My questions to you is this: If you were snatched from your homeland, placed in chains, packed on a ship like sardines for weeks or months at a time, would you be able to Get Over It? Suppose your family members were broken up and sold to the highest bidders never to be seen again. Could you Get Over It? What if your mothers, sisters, aunts were raped and brutalized continuously just for fun and games, would you be able to Get Over It? What if your sons, fathers or brothers were worked like animals or beaten to death just because they decided to escape their harsh existence, would you be able to Get Over it? What if your family was hung from trees on a regular basis, while those who hung them pose for photos, with big wide grins, could you Get Over It?
Let’s fast forward to today. Will it be ok if your two sons walk to the store for snacks together, only to be stopped and harassed by the police, because it was deemed that two or more black males together were considered a gang even if they are siblings? Is it ok if you’re stopped by the police, to only have them come to your car and look around inside, then tell you to have a nice day; never explaining why they stopped you in the first place? Is it ok for your grandfather to walk in a neighborhood only to have someone take it upon themselves to say he didn’t belong and call the police? The grandfather’s only crime was not being white and ends up in the hospital because the police agreed with said caller. Or maybe it’s ok for someone to tell your teen daughter, because she is not a desired color, she is a slut just for being in existence.
Those of us who are non-Caucasian are reminded daily, in some way or other, that we are undesired. And with this knowledge, we have to live and act accordingly every day of our lives, from the moment we leave our homes, until the time we return, if we return. That is a burden no one should have to carry, but it is a way of life for many.
I have one request. I ask that you take in account everything that you may want people of color to Get Over, and place yourself in those situations, and tell me if YOU could GET OVER IT.