As a white teenager, I have never experienced any racism. Growing up, I was raised to be a very accepting person no matter what the circumstances were. Both my mom and dad are tremendously strong people and are the most accepting people you will ever meet. However, their parents (mainly my mom’s side of the family) were brought up in families that didn’t believe in interracial relationships. This surprises me how some people cannot accept others just because of someone’s skin color.
This past year I have learned a lot about my mom’s side of the family. For instance, I have a great aunt, a grandfather, and an uncle who are racist people but to different degrees. As much as I love them, I find it extremely complicated to accept the fact that that’s how they are and I am unable to change that. It bothers me so much because I recently had a boyfriend, Brandon, who was African American. For the nine months that we were together, not once was I able to include him in any get togethers that we had with extended family. It was really annoying and frustrating because I had to keep my relationship with Brandon a secret from my great aunt, grandfather, and uncle. It wasn’t necessary to tell them because I didn’t want them to be disappointed in me or cause any conflict within my family. I wasn’t required to keep the relationship a secret. However, it was my choice so peace would remain in my family.
What was even harder was telling Brandon why I couldn’t bring him around those few family members of mine. As much as he said he understood, deep down I felt great sorrow because it was out of my control and there was nothing I could do to alter that. The unfortunate part was sensing that Brandon didn’t feel welcomed and accepted around my family just because of those few family members.
Besides experiencing racism within my family, I also have faced it a few times while out in public with Brandon. People would constantly glare, stare, and make comments under their breath whenever we were seen holding hands. To me this is very inappropriate, inconsiderate, and unnecessary for people to act like that. It is one thing to have your own opinion about something, but it’s another to act negatively upon it. It was a constant battle that Brandon and I faced. As much as we said we weren’t bothered by it and didn’t care what other people thought, in our hearts we both knew that we didn’t agree with it.
I believe that racism is pure ignorance.