I meant to write. I swear. I’ve been having problems publishing my posts. The icons won’t show up! Here they are right now. So I’ll give it a try.
I don’t know why I’m bringing this up. I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. Someone mentioned in an email, “Do Asians hate Black people?” Something having to do with Obama not winning California and Asians voting for Hillary instead.
So all these things have been running through my head. I don’t know why I’ve been thinking about it recently. Maybe it’s all this race talk with the campaign. I SWEAR TO EVERYONE OUT THERE, THAT IF I BELIEVED A BLACK PERSON WAS THE MOST QUALIFIED I WOULD VOTE FOR HIM. IF I BELIEVED AN ASIAN PERSON WAS THE MOST QUALIFIED I WOULD VOTE FOR HIM. I feel disgusted when anyone tries to accuse me of being racist just because I am a staunch Hillary Clinton supporter.
And so I would dream…but not randomly dream. I would dream of the past. I would think of race and how people are trying to pin this race thing on the election. And I’d think of the one time in my life that I hated black people. I don’t anymore. My best friend is black. I have no idea what he’ll think of me when he reads this. But there was a time when I hated black people.
I hated them.
I was a little kid hanging out in Seaside, California. Seaside is near Monterey. It always seemed like it took a long time to get there. A couple hours felt like ages when you’re a little kid in the back seat of a car. We’d go there and spend time with the family. My great aunt and uncle lived there. Their backyard was essentially a beach. Sand was everywhere.
They lived near a park—a couple blocks away. Up until then, I’d always felt safe, especially surrounded by family. We were on a Saturday trip, just hanging out, going to the beach, making sandcastles. And we decided to go the the park. Me, my sister, my older cousin, several of us young cousins. There were probably 4-5 of us altogether. I was wearing sunglasses. They were different because no one really wore sunglasses all the time. I thought I was a cool because I had a pair and was sporting them. I wore them everywhere—indoors, outdoors—whether or not it was sunny. I just liked wearing them. I felt fashionable.
So we’re at the park, swinging and having a fun time. Then these black girls, around the same age, came by. I was on the swing.
“Tap-tap on our swing! We tap-tapped these swings. They’s ours!”
I got off immediately. Fine, they could have my swing. I just wanted to get away. I wouldn’t say they outnumbered us. Maybe there were 3-4 of them. But the eldest one came up to me and yelled, “You’s swinging on our swing! We tap-tapped those swings. They’s ours.”
I backed away. I was a meek kid. I didn’t want to cause a scene. They could have the swings. Couldn’t they see I was walking away? Go swing already. Fucking take the swings! I think they took pleasure in dominating me, seeing me back away. I had nowhere to run. Surely, they would catch up to me. I walked away quickly to another part of the playground. The black girls followed me.
My eldest cousin looked at me menacingly. I think she was embarrassed for me. Definitely not scared. Sure, she could sit there and watch as I backed off. I didn’t understand why she wasn’t coming to my defense. She just sat there watching. She murmured something…as I tried to extricate myself from the situation. They continued to hound me. I thought I was going to get beat up. Right there, in front of my family. I was going to get clocked in the face.
“You think’s you so cool with those sunglasses? Let’s me see those. I want them.” All of the black girls were around me, but the eldest one spoke for everyone. I resisted and backed away. But she grabbed them and snapped my sunglasses so they broke in two. I started whimpering, then crying. At the time, they were the only material possession I cared about.
As soon as I started crying, they turned on me—in a good way. I think they felt bad that they’d made me cry. My only pair of sunglasses were broken. I was so sad. “Don’t cry! Are you ok? We’s so sorry. Didn’t mean to break them. Don’t cry!”
I staggered away with my broken sunglasses in hand. My bitch of a cousin who was old enough and tough enough to beat all of them up lingered in the background. Fuck her! I walked up the street to my great aunt and uncle’s house. Fuck everyone. I hated everyone!
Months later, in kindergarten class, I remember working on an art project. There were a lot of people there: all of us kids, my teacher, the teacher’s assistants, and several parents came that day. It was a pretty involved project with beans, glue, piping, construction paper. I was a pretty independent kid. I grabbed my materials and started working away at one of the large tables. Across from me sat a black guy in my class. Not a big deal. Then his mother came by and sat in the corner next to him and me. I looked up at these two black people and started crying. I wasn’t really friends with the black kid in my class, but he had never been mean to me. He was a shy kid. When I started crying, his mother came over, put her arm around me and soothed, “Baby, are you ok? Look at that! I do believe that is the nicest piece of artwork. That is so beautiful.” I continued to cry. I wasn’t able to connect all the dots, but I kept thinking that I didn’t want to be around these black people. They were the same kind of people who had ruffed me up in the sandbox.
My kindergarten teacher looked at me and asked, “Cathy, why are you crying? There’s no need to cry. You come sit here with me.” After she whisked me away, I felt so much better. And then I looked up at the black guy in my class and his mom and realized I was crying because I had been seated next to black people. I felt bad and knew it was wrong. I knew they were good people and I had been upset just because of the color of their skin.
Don’t misinterpret what I’m saying. If Hillary wasn’t running, I would be voting for Obama. He’s a good guy, just not experienced enough. I’m not racist, but sick of the racist talk surrounding the election. Wanted to get my own story on racism out there. But I think people are racist because of how they’re brought up…because of crazy stories that stick in their head or because of circumstances that happened like what happened to me and you just don’t get over it. You can’t just say “Get over it.” It’s more involved than that.