Growing Up Color Blind
February Black History Month
I grew up under the illusion that racism ended. Turbulent history going on during childhood was veiled. Protests of black leaders and peaceful marches were not for family viewing. The only regular television show featuring a black actor during grade school was I Spy. The Bible teaches that God made from one man every nation of man. So I was brought up not to see color even though neighborhoods were segregated.
Throughout high school, the student body was predominantly black. In university, I had my first culture shock as an African American minority. The ratio of minorities mirrored the United States population. Eschewing the Black Students Union, I exerted little effort to either “fight the power ”or to assimilate. The experience did make me more articulate (when necessary).
As a teen, I was told by mentors that racism would hinder my advancement. It was my belief that succumbing to such limitations would suppress my creative trajectory as an artist. Working for black, brown-, beige-, and white-owned businesses enhanced my talents. It also colored my perceptions of ethnic groups.
In the early days, some employers could barely afford to pay me minimum wage. But I valued the education. Later, others compensated me hundreds or thousands of dollars per day. I experienced my share of rejection and prejudice, which I viewed as isolated incidents. Letting my work speak for itself, I continued to progress.
All these years later, racism steals the headlines with both destructive protests and peaceful marches. Videos of police violence, white supremacism, and “Karens” gone wild get millions of views and reignite the topic of racism. [1–4]
America was founded by people arriving on ships to take land from Native American Indians. After gaining control, they brought over more people in ships to pick cotton, build plantations, railways, and the nation’s capital. During the year 2020, statues were toppled, school mascots changed, and national sports teams renamed.
Has the ease of posting encounters with smartphones made an ongoing problem more apparent or is racism resurfacing? I would like to believe that despite historical biases, large swaths of people are not inherently bad. But based on the 2021 Washington Capital insurrection, perhaps this is just my disillusion. 
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- Former officer in George Floyd killing asks judge to dismiss charges. cnn.com
- Gun-toting members of the Boogaloo movement are showing up at protests. cnn.com
- Investment firm fires woman over video of her calling the police on a black man who asked her to put her dog on a leash. businessinsider.com
- Videos of people labeled 'Karens' have flooded the internet, drawing curiosity, condemnation, and criticism. Here's how they took over our feeds during quarantine. insider.com
- The four-hour insurrection. washingtonpost.com
- Main photo by Anete Lusina from Pexels.
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