My thoughts on racism and a bit of kitty news at the end.

Warning: This post contains strong, offensive language.

Today, On Martin Luther King Junior’s life celebration day, I have been thinking a lot about race. Specifically racists. You see, I grew up with horribly racist parents. To me, racism looks a lot like hatred. And it looks ugly. All of my life I have been arguing with my Mother on this issue. To no avail. She has always and still does refuse to refer to any African American as black or African American. To her, they are a nigger. She says it loud and clear for all to hear. You cannot imagine my shame when I was a child. I wonder why I did not have this same belief. One would think that as a small child with the hatred all around that I would have to turn out the same. But even as a small child, I knew she was wrong. And small. And ugly for it. (I don’t hate my mother, btw, I get along great with her as a rule. I know that for whatever reason, she cannot get past this prejudice that has been fed to her. I forgive her for that because she is doing the best that she can. But? She knows NOT to talk about it around me anymore.)

It has always been important to me to judge people by the type of person that they are and how they treat me. This has nothing to do with the way that they look. I have worked hard to make my Mother keep this ugliness to herself around my kids. I think that Andy and I have done a good job bringing them up with no racial prejudices.

I cannot even share with you the awful things my mother has said about Obama. It makes that little girl feel ashamed all over again. But this adult is standing tall and is proud of incoming President. I am proud as a mother, a woman and an American. I have high hopes and worry that one man cannot pull off the miracles this country and world need. But we can hope, right?

And for me? It will be a perfect world when people will look at Barack Obama and not see him as a Black Man (or worse) but as a Man.

What a wonderful world it will be.

Kitty news:

I brought Myron to the vets today. He has a urinary tract infection. I did this on your advice and you were right, what bright readers I have. Not that this will be the miracle cure to the problem, but I can hope, right? He’s on bubble gum flavored amoxicillin for 5 days.

Fingers crossed!



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14 responses to “My thoughts on racism and a bit of kitty news at the end.

  1. Agreed. I grew up with one racist parent and one non-racist parent (or as non-racist as could be expected at that time). I’ve often wondered what they would think about Obama as president.

    A change in litter box habits is often a sign of urinary tract issues. Hopefully he’ll get back on track litterbox-wise once his infection gets cured.

  2. I do believe that many people see President Obama as a man and not a black man. He alone won’t fix our problems, but he does know how to bring the right people to the job and if anyone can, he can. Aren’t we lucky to be alive at this historic time? I’m very excited about tomorrow and the future. If we work hard and work together we CAN!

  3. I was very fortunate to be raised by parents who were open minded and not a racist bone in their bodies, unfortunately my husband can’t say the same. FIL is outrageous as is his wife (not Bobby’s mother).
    I was getting ready to say pretty much what Margene wrote, that he alone won’t be able to fix the problems, we all need to work hard, together, and that’s his message. He’ll lead. We will follow his good examples.
    I’d also like to say, I’m not ‘young’, I’m 55, grew up in the South, having my peeps, I really was just damned lucky. I’ve always known that.

  4. You are a very kind hearted person, Sandy. I think that is a part of it. You have a very good sense of fairness and right and wrong. Those are things that are sadly lacking in a lot of people in this country and around the world.

    Good luck with Myron and meds!


  5. I feel for you. My mom isn’t so much a problem, but my aunt, who I am otherwise very close with, is painfully racist. The stuff she said when we were discussing the election has made it difficult for me to maintain contact in the last few months – particularly given that so much of what she said could be applied to my brother and me who are both mixed race. The amazing thing is that she just doesn’t get it. The important thing I suppose is that her daughters do get it – and the next generation getting it is progress.

    Good luck with the kitties. I have used the pheremone spray for car trips and it seems to work well, so hopefully between fixing the infection and spraying a bit, you’ll achieve peace on the home front.

  6. My dad and your mom would get along great, but oooooohhhhh, how it makes me wince to think of it.

    My greatest hope is that Obama will inspire us all, through leadership, grace, deed and example, each to make changes ourselves — millions of little miracles! That would be some change, huh?

  7. You and I are proof that apples DO fall far from trees.

    My mother, thankfully, has done a 180 on these issues. She voted for Obama, and she voted for (and adores) our Independent congressman, Bernie Sanders, who has done soooo very much for us here in Vermont (and recently made the news for getting the Smithsonian to change the wording on a plaque under Bush’s photo).

    I just love to watch Obama speak. He is so calm that it can’t fail to calm others. Well, maybe “can’t fail” is a bit too much to ask.

  8. nat

    how do cats know what bubblegum flavor tastes like, might I ask?
    PS I am not denegrating the importance of this day. I am setting my alarm for 3:30 am local time to get up and Watch History In The Making.

  9. Geri

    Glad to hear Myron has his problem under control!
    It’s sad to think that so many wonderful people still hold on to those long ago predjudices. Two of our friends did not vote for Obama in part because of this race issue. For whatever reason they can not get past this. These are not people who you would suspect of this. They are thoughtful community oriented people. I can only hope that as they witness the openness of this administration that they’re views will change.

  10. Isn’t it interesting how children have such a sense of fairness and kindness? I’d like to think that all children have it, but some allow it to be set aside or buried. My parents were quite ignorant about people of non-Caucasian origins, never having known any. I think they tried to teach me the right things, but they still had that deep-seated cluelessness that made them make cringe-worthy statements. When they, in adulthood, finally had occasion to meet people of color and know them as individuals, I could see them struggle – as in, hey, I know this person, and I like this person, and it would really upset me to hear someone else hurt this person. But they still had those generalist notions…

    It’s hard. I’m so glad you wrote about this, and I’m sorry my comment is such a novel.


  11. My mother and father would have said they weren’t racist but they probably were. Not to the extent that you’ve described for your mother but they definitely defined people by the color of their skin. Prejudice is often son ingrained that we don’t even see it. Kind of like the movie “Crash” where I felt like the point was that everyone is prejudiced to someone.
    Good for you, Sandy, for what you said in this post.

  12. My dad is similar and I cringe too. It took ages for me to realize that people would not judge me because of him. I am my own person. I will celebrate the inauguration with hope in my heart as well. BTW – love the layout. You over here permanently now?

  13. Ann

    Sandy, I have so missed reading your blog! Of course it’s taken me this long to discover your new one! Yay! Anyway, my mother was racist as well. She was one of the most kind hearted people you could ever meet and was God-fearing as well. Which as you may imagine, shocked me senseless when she referred to blacks as “jungle bunnies.” She never believed she was racist, in fact tried to go out of her way to prove it. Somehow, she still couldn’t get rid of the nasty references. I was always embarrassed by it. Fortunately she never uttered a single profane word in public. I like to think I turned out well despite her negative feelings. I am celebrating this new president and praying hard for him. Cheers!

  14. I worked for a man that went to annual HR training – I don’t remember the exact name of the course. But it was a requirement for everyone at a certain level. Every year, he was asked if he was prejudiced. He replied yes. It irritated him to no end that no one ever asked what he was prejudiced against. He could not stand Fords. People were another thing – not a prejudiced bone in that man’s body.