Community

Word of the Day Challenge: Racism

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I grew up in a suburban town just north of Seattle and lived in the same house for almost 20 years.

I went to the same schools as the rest of the neighborhood kids and worked at the Mall with my friends when we were in high school and we partied and hung out at the same places.

When I was older got married and had a family of my own, I became involved in local politics and the Democratic Party.

In these efforts I was working with my neighbors or reaching out to my neighbors in the same County I had grown up in.

I was your typical Suburan Gen X’er whose kids played soccer and sometimes we went to Seattle for concerts and I went to my friends and neighbors barbeques and we went power walking around the same lakes.

I was your typical suburban housewife doing the typical suburban things.

One Summer I was working with a group of activists on a human rights event when one of my friends turns to me during the part when we do reach out into the various communities- and I was drawing a blank because I wasn’t sure how I could contribute to that when my Uber Progressive friend says- and WOW is she excited- ” and you can do reach out into the Asian Community, right Anita?”

” Well…” I was at a loss because at that point my Uber Progressive Friend- who I had went to Highschool with, we car pooled at one point we were working at the Mall at the same time and used to catch the bus together-

my friend who could tell you the same story about our shared suburban experience was some how under the impression that I had this secret life where I snuck off and was a member of ‘ The Asian Community’.

” It’s a pretty big Community ” I said.

” Sure. But you’re part of it right? “

And I guessed at this point I realized my friend- and as the years went one I ran into this over and over again- didn’t really see me as a part of the Community I grew up in, that I participated in, the community where I raised my kids and learned how to drive and took music lessons and egged my first house and graduated from high school and got kissed for the first time and watched my parents grow old in.

To them I really was part of another Community.

They had nothing against it- or me but at the end of the day I had never really been a part of their community.

Racism can be as brutal as someone putting their knee to your neck or it be as light and airy as latte art.

And it doesn’t matter what ‘community’ people think you belong to.

In the end, after experiencing racism you don’t feel like you belong anywhere.

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It Snuck Up On Me

Word of the Day Challenge:Lightly

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When I was in highschool this guy used to bully me.

He would go out of his way to tell me I was fat, or ugly, he’d ask why did I wear my hair that way or why did I always have to raise my hand to answer questions in class- why didn’t I give someone else a chance?

He was just a jerk and at that time I was a lead guitarist in a band, I rode a motorcycle and on the weekends I flew down to L.A. and hung out at clubs with some of my friends who had moved down the year before, so his punk mouth and what came out of it wasn’t exactly something that kept me up at nights.

After we graduated I heard he had died and that he was about to start his career as a teacher. What a tragedy was the word on the grapevine. He had been such a super kid.

I was relieved- not happy, I didn’t laugh at the news , but I was absolutely relived that he wouldn’t be in a roomful of kids day after day and hour after hour because I wasn’t confident that he wouldn’t zero in on a few of those kids and find ways to shred them apart too.

I guess that I hadn’t taken that experience as lightly as I though I had.

Not lightly at all.