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By Martin Lamarque

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About this blog: I have lived in Belle Haven since 1997, and work as an interpreter in the emergency department of a county hospital. My main interest is to help improve society by way of giving families the support and information they need to ra...  (More)

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Those Constantly Pulling the Race Card

Uploaded: Sep 2, 2014
If you have been reading my blogs, you know that I am a great believer in the power that parents have in influencing their children, both for the good, and the bad.

What are an individual's views and attitudes towards those who belong to a different race or culture is always determined by the type of attitudes they observed from those who raised them. From the information they received—or most likely didn't--regarding the problem of racism in our society. And from the misinformation they were bombarded with, and never clarified, during their early years.

Around the same time the events in Ferguson again shoved the issue into the comfort of our living rooms, my son told me about something that both gave me hope, and reminded that when we despise those too quick to pull the race card, we are often directing our anger at the wrong group of people.

Home for the summer during school break, my son worked at a local cafe in downtown Palo Alto. This place is on the ground floor of an office building.

One day, as he wiped tables on the patio of the cafe, the private security guard for the building approached him, and politely asked him whether he could help him with something.

"Of course, go ahead", my son replied.

"Does a Black guy with dreadlocks work here?"

"Yes, my son answered. Why?"

"Just needed to know. People who work up in the offices reported some suspicious activity. They have seen him sitting out by the back entrance."

"Oh yeah? Well, tell them he works here."

"It ruined my day to see that people can be so mean and ignorant." My son told me when he came home from work.

"And you know what's very sad?: This guy is one of the nicest people. And because he is early to work every day, he sits by the back door to wait for his shift to start. Besides, he always has his apron on, what do they suspect he's doing outside the kitchen?"

There are many things that make me proud of my children.

Their understanding of how racism works and how it affects innocent human beings is one of the biggest.

Let me say it again: No child is born being racist and prejudiced. Whatever they play out on others as soon as they have the opportunity to, is all instilled and learned from the adults they grew up with.

Whether it happens with intention or by omission, it doesn't take us off the hook.

Tell me again. Who is constantly pulling the race card, and on whom?

Comments

Posted by learned behavior, a resident of Woodside: Family Farm/Hidden Valley,
on Sep 5, 2014 at 9:56 am

Kids learn it from an early age.

That not-so-subtle clicking of the door locks as the child's parent drives through some unseemly part of town, for example.

But son't worry, all of our PD's will soon have drones, missile launchers (for gas) and tanks, so we're all good. We can even use all that on fast food workers who are protesting for a livable wage.


Posted by Memories, a resident of another community,
on Sep 18, 2014 at 11:31 pm

What a great post, Martin. I've witnessed a lot of racism in Palo Alto, especially toward African Americans. Often pulling the race card means pulling out the phone and calling 911, because someone looks suspicious.

Anyone recall in the 1980s when a famous female African American singer was shopping at Nordstrom Palo Alto? She's not a glamor girl singer, but indeed famous. Yep, clerks called security on her and were greatly embarrassed when they were told who she was. She was guilty of shopping while black.


Posted by mbl, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven,
on Sep 19, 2014 at 8:45 pm

mbl is a registered user.

@ learned behavior and @ Memories

Thanks for reading my blog, and for leaving comments.

People don't realize that to end up as someone that endorses racism, part of their humanity had to be corrupted at an early age.

Well intentioned parents think that by pretending racism doesn't exist, they protect their children. Raising intelligent, non-racist children takes a combination of modeling respect, and giving them accurate information about the way racism operates and affects us all.


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