Tuesday, January 20, 2009 is living history.
This day is important enough to me, to justify taking my, almost 11 year old, son out of school.
You see I was born in 1960. My dad was an African-American, U.S. Airman and my mother is a Caucasian woman from Liverpool, England. Back then, they had to fight for the right to marry. My parents had to wait months, solely because of the color of their skin. The base commander held the threat over their heads that they would not allow my mother and me into the states, if they chose to go through with it.
Finally, in December of 1961, they were allowed to marry and we came to the United States in 1962. However, it was in my dad’s orders, that we could never be stationed down south.
As a child, I lived with the stares and the whispering because of my parents’ interracial marriage.
However, I have to say that the one particular incident that hurt me to my core, happened when I was a young adult in my twenties…I was shopping in a discount store and as I passed a woman with her child, who couldn’t have been more than 2 or 3, I was stunned at what she said to me.
This child waved at me and said, “Hi, nigger!” I was completely taken aback. All I could do was look at this woman, who would not look at me and stand there in stunned silence. The woman kept on with her shopping, as if what had happened was the most natural thing in the world and I left the store like a zombie. I could not believe the pure hatefulness and ugliness that was being taught to that child, again, based on nothing but skin color.
So, my son is going to miss school on Tuesday. He’s not going to be able to watch the Presidential Inauguration of Barack Obama with my dad, because my dad did not live to see this wonderful day....
However, he is going to watch it with his dad and his other African-American grandfather, who was born in 1934 and who experienced the kind of discrimination that we can’t even begin to imagine, but it was all too common for black men.
There will be three generations of African-American men, reveling in this historic moment. Looking back on what was overcome and looking ahead to the promise of the future.
No, my son won’t be learning behind school doors, but he is being taught that Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream is being realized and he won’t have to read about it in a
Debra, Riverside, CA