I have always found it interesting (but not surprising) that we have a President who is as equally White as he is Black, but he is known as the first Black President. Why is that? Why is he not just another White President? How about a President of mixed race or better yet just President Obama? I would love for us to get there one day.
I was born and raised in Louisiana. Yes, this makes me a Southern Belle. No, this does not make me helpless. A real Southern lady can take care of herself. You saw Scarlett make a dress from curtains. Being raised in the South has its advantages. For example the food is great and for the most part people have manners (at least in front of your face). Being raised in the South has its disadvantages as well. We all know what I am talking about, race. I am of Black, Native American, and Caucasian decent. For some reason society is not okay with people who are of mixed race. You have to choose a side, a team if you will. Do not get me wrong, I am not ashamed of all that makes me. In fact I am proud of having a mixed race heritage; it makes for an interesting viewpoint on racial matters. There are so many races on earth, why are we in America only concerned about two? I am pointing my finger at both sides. In today’s world, I have to choose a side. Therefore, I identify myself as Black.
As a kid I was the black child who grew up in a predominately white neighborhood and went to school with mostly white kids. I recall being about nine years old when a girl called me a “nigger” on the school bus. I knew what the word nigger meant, and I also knew that I was not one. So I went to the bus driver and told him what the little girl said. He is response was silence. Fast forward to middle school, when I had to integrate with students who went to a mostly black school, I was picked on every day by black students because I sounded “proper.” I never understood how using correct grammar was supposed to be an insult. In high-school a White boy said to me “I would date you if you weren’t Black.” As if I had any interest in dating him.
I could not win for losing; I did not fully fit in anywhere. That is not completely true. I fit in at home. My mother who is much lighter than I am understood me. She was raised during segregation in a small town in Louisiana. She grew up in a middle-class household with both parents. My grandfather believed that a man was responsible for taking care of his family. So, he worked and paid the bills and had a dream home built for his family. My grandmother also worked, but her money was hers to keep. This type of family structure was unique when and where my mother grew up. Actually, it is still unique today. So my mother was raised on “the Black side” of town because of her family life she was constantly made fun of by Black people and the treatment from White people was not much better. I remember my mother telling me how as a student they would receive old text books at school when the white kids were done using them. Through all of that my mother still received a top-notch education, went to a predominately White college in Texas and today is known as Dr. Spears.
Where are we today? It cannot be denied that we have come a long way from where we started in healing the racial divide in this country, and it cannot be denied that we still have a long way to go. I for one am optimistic that we can do better. It will not be easy, but it will for sure be worth it.
C. Hope Spears is a writer and journalist with a unique view on life. Follow her on twitter at twitter.com/thehopespears