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Sunday, January 15, 2012

MLK 2 Barack Obama

When ever people start talking about race relations. I want to say something like “I gave at the office” or I have done my part. I was born to be a bridge between cultures. I know this because I already have been without even trying.

I have had people say to me “I do not like other people of your race but I like you.” It would explain why I have had trouble with people of my race. If I act more like people that do not look like me it can only mean I do not act like people who can look at me would assume I should.

Never the less my small contribution of a bi racial daughter and a few random friends is not all that needed to be done in our nation or life time.

I think MLK would be delighted to see the America I grew up in. At the same time when I saw the tears of older African Americans as Obama was inaugurated I knew they do not see it like I do. Some of them still see more racism and negativity than integration, peace and love.

No I did not vote for him but my brother did.

I remember a couple of events from my growing up years. Once when I was in elementary school a pair of boys who were friends, one white and one black had the ironic nerve to ridicule a Vietnamese friend and I saying we should not hang out together.

Next much later in high school another event that was more personal. After moving half way across the country and back I was trying to find myself and new friends in a new place as a senior in high school.

One afternoon in a class we had free time. There were groups of girls chatting. There might have been more than one. What began to frustrate me is that not only were they focused inward but they were speaking languages I did not understand among themselves.

I turned back into myself and could feel the negativity of not wanting to experience that. Rather than try to break in and make friends I just decided to act like I did not care about people who could not be bothered to speak the national language.

Is that how easily prejudice is born and takes root without anything to challenge it? Quickly I came to myself and realized I was bigger than that and these fellow students meant me no harm. 

I can be charming and engaging when I set my mind to it. Instead I had not even given them the benefit of the doubt. They did not know me and had no reason to assume I was looking to make connections with them.

It made no sense to be negative even internally because they were doing something that came naturally to them. That same year I joined one of the Asian support groups on campus. They welcomed me and I proclaimed loudly that this was the situation for any others who might have been struggling with the same issues.

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