I wrote the following post last summer and never shared it for various reasons I won’t go into.
One of my friends who is of Asian descent brought to my attention a news story (see below link) out of the Monterey Bay Area of California where I currently live.
In light of last week’s and the previous last few months’ events, I think it’s pretty timely now to share.
Here is the news story and my thoughts follow about the news story:
We’ve heard the two words Systemic Racism a lot in the last few months in the ongoing cultural reckoning conversations many of us are having since the murder of George Floyd on May 25th of this year.
I grew up in the Southeastern United States; South Carolina to be exact.
I saw alot of racism and bigotry in my day living there.
Despite that fact, there are many good people in South Carolina that are working tirelessly to right the injustices to black people and other peoples that have been discriminated against.
Let me say that again…
There are MANY GOOD PEOPLE IN SOUTH CAROLINA working TIRELESSLY to END RACISM and BIGOTRY.
The South in general, and South Carolina in particular, is not an isolated backwater of racism that so many comedians and just everyday people you come across in restaurants and bars and water coolers (pre-covid of course) like to poke fun at in their routines and everyday conversations.
I was heartened to learn through the Broadway play ‘Hamilton’ that John Laurens, one of the Founding Fathers of these United States of America, from Charleston, South Carolina, was a positive voice for change in ending slavery.
His last name is on many a roadway and there’s even a City named after him there in South Carolina.
And this was back in the late 1700s.
There are many countless examples of people like John in the South who stood up for oppressed people and sounded the alarm bells that something was wrong.
And, unfortunately, as we’ve all seen with George Floyd’s murder, these alarm bells are still going off.
Back to the news story my friend sent…
I was shocked to view this report.
Shocked no doubt from its content (WARNING: racial slurs and ugly language towards a group of people ensues in the footage), but more so, shocked from WHERE the video originated.
It wasn’t in the deep south where, as I’ve stated above, many comedians will draw up entire bits around making fun of this entire region as a racist/bigoted/backward society.
I think we need to move past these caricatures of the South and embrace the notion that our racism and bigotry is baked deep into our nature/nurture cake if you will and expresses itself not just in the deep Southeastern United States, but all throughout our country, and all over our planet for that matter.
So, no, this video I’m sharing that was shared with me by my friend, came from literally a 45 minute drive south of where I am currently living in Watsonville, CA.
This video is from Carmel Valley, CA near Monterey, CA…one of the wealthiest pieces of real estate in the United States.
I couldn’t believe it.
And then, to add further weight to the burden of this injustice and ugly side of humanity, this same friend of mine of Asian descent shared the following with me…
‘This also reminded me of a training I attended in California in the 2010s. After lunch break I came back to my spot where I left my notebook. I opened my notebook and in the first page in all caps read just one word…”JAP”. I had to wonder and sit there for the remaining afternoon of training knowing that a racist was in the room watching me, breathing the same air as me, no more than 20 feet away.’
Again, this wasn’t a training that happened in the 1950s or 1960s.
No, this was a training from only a few years ago in the 2010s and a training in California…a ‘Blue State’.
This friend of mine has only told a handful of people about this event he experienced.
They said that at the time, being new to the area and job they were getting trained in, that they didn’t want to ‘rock the boat’.
They just figured that that was just the way it is.
Reminds me of the Bruce Hornsby and The Range song from the 1980s…
Click on the embedded links above or the links below to listen to these amazing songs of social justice…both still very much needed:
https://youtu.be/cOeKidp-iWo – Bruce’s
https://youtu.be/4MxCPy83shM – Tupac’s
Now my friend knows that they have to rise up (Check out this ‘Rise Up’ clip from Hamilton the Broadway Musical for inspiration) to educate the new generation on what’s right and what’s wrong.
I am compelled to rise up with my friend now and speak up to let others know that this kind of systemic racism, despite what our political leaders may say, does exist in our Country, in our State of California, and in all our United States, even just down the road from me not 45 minutes away in someone’s hateful mind who has no qualms spewing out ugliness towards their fellow human beings.
It’s time for us all to rise up and start being the change we want to see in this world.
It’s time to make sure we take care of everyone.
No one gets left behind.
No one is beyond redemption.
The late John Lewis said that last sentence in the midst of the strife and civil unrest that unfolded in the 1960s here in this Country. And THAT guy of ALL guys on this planet has experienced 1st hand both the ugly side of humanity and its beautiful counterweight.
We can do this!
We have the technology.
We all have the ability to stop racist and bigoted thoughts before they even start.
Here’s to starting and stopping and ultimately finding a place of peace here on Earth.
As always, thanks for stopping by.
I really appreciate it,