When I began dating my college sweetheart and now husband, I quickly became aware of many instances of racism and discrimination. Some instances were explicit, some implicit. Growing up in rural WV, I wasn't naive in believing that racism ended with the Civil Rights movement, but was strongly aware that racism still existed in the 21st century. Still, I have never completely understood how many adults still allow for so much hate to consume their lives. Moving our family to an urban, northern city has minimized these experiences, but not eliminated them.
Now remember, The U.S. Supreme Court overturned racial segregation in schools fifty years ago. Congress outlawed racial discrimination in public places forty years ago. Still today, many white Americans believe racial discrimination towards minorities is a distant memory. A reminder of how wrong that perception is recently occurred with me and I feel compelled to share.
I was reminded that I'm thankful that at five and six my daughters' innocence still allows them to not be aware of implicit discrimination. I'm thankful that while waiting in line to go bowling they didn't realize that we were completely ignored when it was our turn at the cashier and the owner looked right past us to the customers behind us. I'm grateful the other customers acknowledged our presence. I'm thankful that they didn't realize while we stood in line to pay for the second round of bowling the owner said, "I guess I'm going to have to move that family, since your staying." I'm grateful this wasn't too much of an inconvenience to him that his 12 lane bowling alley only had one other family and there was plenty of room. I'm thankful my children didn't realize the owner was so rude and implicitly racist that we had to ask or comment two to three times, waiting at times 5-10 minutes to be acknowledged of concerns when every other family was approached multiple times without requesting his presence to make sure they were enjoying themselves and how he could possibly accommodate their visit. I'm grateful of the innocence of children when arrogant small business owners dare to say, "GOD bless you" as we left. I don't know about his GOD but my GOD teaches love and respect of ALL, not just those that look like you!
I prepared myself to explain to my children why racism still exists. I prepared myself to explain discrimination. But the problem is, I still don't understand why it still exists.