Monday, May 5, 2014

Let's Talk About Racism...

How could anybody have a problem with this beautiful group?

I know this is a sensitive subject here in the US but let's talk about it anyway. When I found out I would have to relocate to the US, the entire US was open to me even if I knew there were only a handful of places that we had a decent chance of ending up. However, I immediately started receiving warnings from friends from different parts of the US that I would inevitably encounter racism because I am married to an Asian woman and my kids are "Amerasian".

Well, this completely floored me. Now admittedly, there are not a lot of black people where I am from. But, in my experience, I can never remember any incidents or problems of a racial nature. As far as I can recall, people were people regardless of what color they were. I had black friends growing up and never thought twice about about it. When I went to college, I met a black guy from the inner city my freshman year and we got along so well that we chose to live together for three and a half years. The point is, I know there have always been racial problems in the US but I've never witnessed them firsthand. The one and only time I actually came face to face with it was back in 1991 during AIT (job school with the Army) in Augusta, Georgia. We had a guy from rural Mississippi who took me aside and told me "Man, there sure are a lot of niggers around here...". I was 19 years old at the time and scared to make a scene or get in a fight so I just sort of moved away from him and shunned him the rest of the summer. Truth be told,  I was a bit freaked out because I'd never met anyone like him before and I didn't know how to react.

So anyway, we found out we were going to South Carolina and people really started warning me about it. "South Carolina is the south, you're going to have trouble...they are still fighting the war down there!" But I've gotta be honest - at least here in Sumter - I have not found a single hint of racism. Now, I'll preface this statement by reminding you that I grew up in New England; that being said, I've never lived anywhere where there are so many African Americans (I'm sorry, I don't know what the proper PC term is these days, I'm sorry if I offend anyone).  It honestly seems like there are more black people than white people here and yet I've really not noticed any difference in people I've met than anywhere else I've lived. People are people, it seems, no matter the skin color.

See, when I hear the stories of friends who are in "mixed" marriages and encounter problems, it honestly shocks me. I just can't believe that in 2014 there is anyone who has a problem with a black person married to a white person or, in our case, a white guy married to an Asian woman. And thankfully I have not personally witnessed it yet. But the fact remains that several friends have warned me about it and swear that we will be subjected to it at some point. Some have even warned that my kids will have trouble in some of the schools here because they are "mixed". This is something that I honestly never considered when moving back to my home country and I hope to God that I am right in my naiveté. I just can't imagine that after 25 years of service to my country, that ANYONE would have a problem with who I married or what my children look like.

I mean, seriously, in this really a problem?!


  1. Unfortunately Rik racism is still a big problem everywhere in the united states. I for one have no problem, white, black, Asian, purple, blue or orange are all just people to me as we are all the same color on the inside. I admire people who don't care what other's think and aren't afraid to go against the so called 'normal' way of life. If anyone gives you and your family any problems because you are a 'mixed' family, ignore them. They are just ignorant people who were not taught that underneath the color of our skin we are all the same. Live your life, love your life, and forget the ignorant people of the world.

  2. I came underdstand how your friends became so prejudice toward southerners. Heck that one Yankee wrote that song about us and it was fiction for the most part. For the most part the native people of the have been getting on fairly well for the most part but the south doesn't have a monopoly on prejudice. Your friends telling you such probably think we are all married to our cousins and play banjos! Truth be told she and the kids can stay but you Yankees got to go!.......:)

  3. Dawg gone there isn't an edit function!

  4. Todd, for what it's worth, most of the people warning me are people from the south. If it were just fellow yankees, I would probably just ignore them and chalk it up to ignorance but when it's someone who was born and raised in the south, you tend to take it more seriously.

  5. Rik, when you mentioned South Carolina early on, I thought of bringing the racism matter to your attention, but then again as you've described every case is different. SC really stood out for I have Filipino buddy who visited SC in the early 80's and he actually encountered restaurants with segregated rest rooms. I couldn't believe it, but it was true, in fact as he is brown complected he asked a white guy standing in front of the rest room entrances which restroom should he use, the one for whites or the one for blacks, and the white guy with some foreboding replied, "...well son, if you aren't black, don't go into the black rest room now..." ha, ha, ha! Quite reassuring I'm sure it was for my friend. Back in the early 70's when my uncle a white Navy commander, visited the deep South with his Philippine wife, they kept getting sneers and dirty looks in many places they visited. At the end of the day, it's true racism is everywhere and in some places less subtle than in others...and my hope and prayer is that you and your family never encounter it whilst in SC, for folks exhibiting racist behavior are simply displaying the ignoramuses that they are―best to ignore them.