Tag Archives: unity

A Broken Promise


Nineteen years ago today, I was 16 weeks pregnant with baby #2. Like most mornings, I was in the bed with terrible morning sickness. My husband knew that and tried to let me get as much rest as possible before I had to go to class, so when my phone rang at 8:50, I wondered what in the world could be so important that he’d call me that early from work. “Alicia, turn on the TV.” I did, and before I could even ask him what channel, I saw it for myself. It didn’t matter what channel. It was everywhere. One of the towers of the World Trade Center had been hit by a plane. A plane! What kind of terrible accident had happened? We were still on the phone, both silent, staring at our respective TVs in disbelief. It was chaos. Reporters couldn’t believe what they were seeing, either. A few minutes later, at 9:03, as I was still on the phone staring at my TV, I saw another plane. I distinctly remember thinking how odd it was to see a plane so close to the skyline after one had already accidentally crashed into a building.

That’s when it happened.

That second plane hit the other tower! The news anchor on the TV was as stunned as I was. My husband said, “Oh my God, Alicia, did you see that?” I did. I saw it. It was at that moment that my husband, the news anchor, myself, and the world knew – that was no accident. Someone had just declared war on the United States. It was at that exact moment that nothing would ever be the same for America.

The weeks and months following that historic day were like nothing I had ever seen. People were nice to everyone. They smiled, they held doors, they said please and thank you. They didn’t care what race you were or what political party with which you were aligned. It didn’t matter where you were – you would see American flags everywhere. For the first (and last) time in history, Americans were one. We were united.

What I would give to be one with my fellow citizens again. Why must it take an act of terror – pure hatred – for us to come together and see past race, gender, politics, and religion? We are better than this. I know it. I saw proof of it on September 12, 2001.

How quickly we’ve forgotten what we promised to never forget.


“Racism is so universal in this country, so widespread, and deep-seated, that it is invisible because it is so normal.” ~Shirley Chisholm


Source: hayspost.com

Source: hayspost.com

Before I start with my “ignorant quote of the weekend” story, I want to take a second to thank all the men and women who have died bravely serving our Country.  Also, thank you to those who are currently fighting for the freedoms that we take advantage of daily.  It is thanks to YOU that we can even write these blogs and share our honest feelings.  And it is thanks to YOU that I could spend my weekend lying on a beach, enjoying the perfect weather, while you spent yours in a desert hell, never knowing whether you’ll be safe the next second and counting down the days until you can be back home with your families and friends.  THANK YOU.  We owe you our lives and our freedoms.

Okay, so now to my unbelievable weekend story…

Father Figure, the kids, and I went to the beach yesterday to enjoy our perfect, 80-degree weather here in beautiful Charleston.

At this particular beach, you can’t have dogs on the beach from 10 to 6.  While I love dogs, I think that this was probably a good idea yesterday because it was packed.  Everyone was enjoying their last day of the long weekend, and there was hardly an empty spot on the beach from all the people.  It would have been miserably full if everyone had their dogs out there, too.  So a cop came up to a couple who was on the beach right in front of us and told them that they needed to come back without their dog or could come back with her after 6.

I admit that I did feel kind of bad for them because they had just gotten all of their stuff unpacked and settled on the beach, their kids had just gotten in the water, and their big old fat dog was adorable.  She was just lying there, enjoying the sand and the sun, and she looked like a big baby.  She wasn’t running around or barking like crazy; she was the perfect dog.

After they were told they couldn’t have Luna (the dog) on the beach with them, they started packing up.  Paw went to get the kids out of the water, and Maw was trying to pack everything up with one hand while holding Luna’s leash with the other.  Like a sweet southern belle, I got my lazy butt out of my beach chair and offered to help Maw by holding Luna while she finished packing up their towels, toys, and cooler.

She thanked me and then proceeded to tell me that she was from somewhere in North Carolina and that they didn’t want to leave Luna at their hotel all day.  She said that it really sucked that they had to leave because the day before, they had gone to a different beach in the area where dogs are allowed at any time of day, but that they didn’t like it there because of the “type of people” who were there.

I assumed that “type of people” meant maybe rich and snobby since we live in a pretty affluent area, and these folks sounded pretty country.  I also assumed that maybe someone hassled them about their dog since Luna was pretty big and wasn’t a small frou-frou lapdog.

Anyway, I stayed and chatted with Maw while she finished packing up, and then her boyfriend came back from the water with the kids.  Paw introduced himself, grumbled about them having to leave, and then he told me his version of why he hated the other beach that they visited the day before.

And when he did… I finally started to understand who the “other type of people” referred to.

Here’s what he said [read with your best country/redneck accent]:

“Yeah, we went up to that other beach over yonder yesterday, and the whole damn beach was full a’ those watermelons.”

Huh???  What did that mean?  Why was the beach full of watermelons?  The Watermelon Festival isn’t this weekend, and it’s not at the beach, is it?  Why wouldn’t people throw their rinds in the trash?  Why would they even bring watermelon to the beach?  Doesn’t it get all sandy and make a sticky mess?

Then, Maw cut in and cleared it up for me a little [again, read with your best country/redneck accent]:

“Yeah, those damn watermelons and pit bulls… The whole beach was full of ‘em.”

What?!  The beach was full of watermelons and pit bulls?  How strange.  I don’t see many pit bulls on the beach when I go, and there certainly isn’t trash all over the beach.  How strange…

Paw made another comment that I think was supposed to be funny because he laughed his best redneck beer-belly laugh, and suddenly a light went off…

They weren’t really talking about watermelons and pit bulls.  That was their best euphemism for black people!!!  And isn’t a euphemism supposed to be used instead of something that can be found offensive?

At this point, I couldn’t even believe what I had just listened to.

Source: Newd Magazine

Source: Newd Magazine

These morons were racist!  And they didn’t want to go to the other beach because … wait for it … black people were there!  They said that they would just waste the rest of their vacation hanging out at the hotel’s pool so that they didn’t have to go back to the other beach.  Are you kidding me?!  Clearly these rednecks from the hills of North Carolina had the smallest pea brains in existence.  Father Figure and I just stared at each other in unbelief!

They finished packing and left with their kids and their poor, albeit adorable dog.  As I sat there thinking about this whole conversation after they left, I felt more and more sorry for their poor kids.  They were still young, and it was sad to think that they, too, would probably grow up to be racist idiots just like their parents.

Source: Relativity Online

Source: Relativity Online

I wish that in the middle of their conversation on why they hated the other beach (you know, the one full of watermelons and pit bulls), that my two biracial kids would have walked up and said, “Hey Mom, look at the shell I found!” or something to that effect.  I imagine the looks on Maw and Paw’s faces would have been priceless.

Source: Kefi.co

Source: Kefi.co

It makes me sad to think that this is 2013 and racism and hatred still exist.  You may remember my previous post about racism.  It’s an ever-growing problem.  Unfortunately, it’s not just an issue with race, either.  We see so many stories in the news now about poor kids killing themselves because they’re being picked on and bullied about ridiculous things.  This is NOT okay!!! 

We need to teach our children tolerance and love.  We also need to teach them to stand up for these poor people who are picked on and hated on.  Only our kids can change the future.  As F.D.R. said, “We may not be able to prepare the future for our children, but we can at least prepare our children for the future.”  The place to start is with love and acceptance.  No, we don’t have to agree with everyone’s choices in our increasingly liberal America, but we do have to at least tolerate them.  Set the example.  End racism through unity.  Don’t ignore it – STOP IT!

Source: KULfoto

Source: KULfoto

RACISM

WRONG


Tiffany Kleiman ~ Author

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