Sunday, March 30, 2008

Grandma Got Thrown Under The Bus!

Grandma Got Thrown Under The Bus!
By Kevin D. Moore

Recently, Senator Barack Obama gave a speech on race relations in America. During that speech, he gave a very personal example of how issues associated with race can hit close to home.

Specifically, the example he gave involved his grandma on his mother's side whose tan was not as good as his for as long as his. In other words, his grandma was White. While citing this example, Barack said that his grandma helped raise him, had sacrificed for him, and truly loved him. And, of course, he truly loved her back.

However, although his grandma truly loved him, she had confessed that she was fearful of Black men who passed her on the street and she would sometimes say things in a negative manner about Black people that would make him cringe.

As a result of this very personal example, there have been people that have not viewed nor received Barack's comments in a positive light. In fact, some have said that Barack needlessly threw his grandma under the bus!

Well, I disagree... Furthermore, I truly appreciate that he was willing to provide such a personal experience that resonates in so many people that live in the United States. The fact is that we (Americans) are still dealing with the baggage associated with racial issues derived from our past. Of course, there are many Americans today who do not see these issues, may never have directly added to these issues, or do not view these issues as hitting close to home. But unfortunately, these issues are still there, none the less, and, for many, do hit close to home.

However, as reflected in Barack's speech, these issues are not one sided no matter how close they hit to home.

For me, approximately a year ago, while walking out of a very large Mall in a racial mixed area, I was called something that I had not been called in years!

Unfortunately, while walking to my parked car, a taxi cab slowly pulled up next me. The cab
was driven by a White man. Needless to say, I expected him to ask me if I needed a ride or maybe he needed directions. I was wrong on both accounts. What he wanted instead was to yell and call me a "NIGGER!" Upon satisfying himself, he quickly drove off.

Now as you can probably guess, I was somewhat enraged although I did not show it (I did not want to empower him or the word he used.) But that is not the point of this story. I wish it were but it is not.

The point is that after being yelled at, the first thought that entered my mind was that I could not believe that he called me this because of the way I was dressed… You see, I was dressed in a business suit. I not only looked "Corporate", but felt "Corporate", and for whatever reason felt somewhat part of the "Majority."

The problem with this whole thought process was that somehow I initially thought that being called a "NIGGER" would be more appropriate if I was wearing stereotypically different clothes.

WRONG ANSWER! What was I thinking?

My initial thought demonstrates to me that I probably have some issues of my own deep down inside. Fortunately, I quickly put myself in check. But I had thought this none the less. Ironically, if you ask those who are close to me they will tell you that I probably do not have a prejudiced bone in my body. But obviously, this was a failing moment that hit close to home.

So why tell you this? Better yet, why throw myself under the bus?

Because, personal experiences tend to be more meaningful and credible to others and I want to do my part in helping America continue moving forward in its desire to truly and totally be united as a nation. If that means throwing myself under the "so called" bus to demonstrate that there are two sides of the racial divide and that these issues hit closer to home than we may realize… Then so be it…

I guess when you really think about it sometimes being thrown under the bus is a good thing…

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