A recent article in the guardian put words and a definition to how racism has mutated:
“Gone is the overt, violent, and legal racism of my childhood. It has been replaced by a subtler version. It is a racism that is easier to ignore, easier to deny, and consequently almost as dangerous.” – Chris Arnade
Tonight I considered writing a letter to a family I had done some tutoring work for. The circumstances for needing the tutoring was medical and the family was dealing with an unforgiving health disorder. I was not meant to be an advocate for the child, but often became the liaison between the family and teachers. At the end of this past school year I decided that I could not longer be of service. But I never explained myself and tonight I was thinking about how to put it into words.
It came about from comments that I am certain the mother cannot remember. We were discussing alternative schools and she mentioned how they all had daycares and work with students who had been in jail, “It just isn’t the right fit for my daughter, you know”. We looked at one school’s website and two young black men on some outward bound day were on the front screen.
It was subtle, but I read all the sub-titles.
Within the security of a teachers room, a colleague mentions how well behaved and academically focused the Asian girls are and mourns a section that has only one or two to keep the class in order.
A neighbor and I find our dogs playing and so we talk. We’ve never met before, but I suppose our complexion is close enough that she assumes we have some sort of shared world view. She complains about all the sirens, how so many resources are spent on just the 3% of people, how her child’s school looks like a war zone from a distance, but upon closer examination, it is always just the same kids getting into fights. She wishes schools had more psychiatrists or could put them in a separate classroom so that the other kids didn’t have to suffer.
I had a custom stamp made at STAPLES that simplifies my review of papers with a quick slam, a red “incomplete” is clear for all to see. I wish I could carry around a stamp that read something along the lines of: “By the way, you are racist.” At least being able to label this subtler version, not allowing these people to try and entangle and implicate me into their hate and fear.