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Ignorance is NOT an excuse

I was horrified by what little of juror number (whatever) had to say to Anderson Cooper.  This oblivious little wifey of a lawyer had already envisioned herself as an author, when in actuality, she was no better spoken than Rachel Jeantel.  In the few minutes I saw, she mindlessly made several racially charged comments with NO CLUE that she was being racist.

I have no problem attacking this person because she somehow thought she had something credible to say, so she got (and lost) a book deal and also went on TV.  When you do that, you are reducing yourself to being a spokes-person (and yes, I mean “reducing”).

When I started elementary school, there was one non-light skinned child in my class.  I really didn’t encounter a true approximation of our country’s makeup until high school, and even then, in my advanced classes, I was surrounded by “white” kids.

It wasn’t until I finally finished college at Clayton State University, where I was in the minority (legally, I have always been the minority, I’m half Native American) that I really learned, or tried to learn, how other folks live.  I’ve had friends of a variety of backgrounds for most of my life, and we always seemed to find our commonalities rather than our differences.  So I didn’t understand my 6’2″ half African American/half Taiwanese female friend’s horror at venturing outside the Atlanta perimeter in the early nineties.  I never imagined how my black-Hispanic friend felt when I dragged her into a redneck bar (fyi, she likes rednecks).

At CSU, I realized that the “minority” (read “black”) students, who were as motivated, maybe more so than me, were at a disadvantage because they hadn’t the high school education I had.  The PUBLIC high school education I had.  I took film classes and lit classes and women’s studies classes and I learned that my tendency towards silence was a good thing because I listened.  I sat through an awkward class or two but I graduated with the desire to keep learning.

My ego demands it.  I’ve always wanted to be the smartest person in the room, and usually haven’t been in the classroom, so how dare I let my ego down by giving into prejudice, to seemingly reinforced stereotypes? 

When I see what strikes me as small-minded, racist bent/redneck/hateful comments, I have to realize these people have not had the opportunities I’ve had.  They probably don’t have the education I have or have known the people I have known.  And I could do so much better.  I still have my ridiculous small minded thoughts and prejudices and I’m hoping I can eradicate some of those.


About clocklearf

I've wanted to be a writer since the third grade.


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