Did I do thaaaat?
I have a backlog of stories, and I still hope to receive more up until the deadline of March 7th, the 52nd anniversary of the march on the Edmund Pettus Bridge that popped our collective zit on national evening news. I want to give each entry hang-time, so it may be we can’t determine who the finalists are until the end of April or early May, dependent upon the total number of stories submitted. Please, again I ask for your patience if you have submitted a story, and it has not yet been posted. All in due time. And I am pleased (take me at my word here) that responses have been so assertive, even explosive, though it is harsh to be on the receiving end. But this is about change… “Myself, I long for love and light, but must it come so cruel, and oh, so bright?” (Leonard Cohen, witnessing the flames consuming Joan of Arc.) Please feel free to strike another match in the comment sections.
I must confess (actually, I chose to confess) that this brief story I am now posting is the kind thing I was hoping for: tracing the roots of racism in our culture back to, well, its roots. Where does it come from? Claudia has this uncanny ability to recall what her thoughts were as a five-year-old. No agenda here, no moralizing, no preaching, no editorializing. Just, this is what happened. Here is her untitled entry # 23
by Claudia Barillas
I grew up watching Family Matters, mostly to laugh at Steven Urkel. Five years old and outgoing, I did not know that glasses, people being annoyed with me, and getting rejected by crushes were all in my future. Try telling kindergarten-me- that Steve Urkel is a relate-able character. Yeah, right.
There was an episode where Laura made the cheer-leading squad. She was the only freshman to do so. The other girls began to bully her for being a freshman. In kindergarten, I did not know what a freshman was. I just assumed it was another word for Black.
Picture that. Five years old, I did not know about the hierarchy of high school, but I did know about racial hierarchy. How did I know this? Did someone in my family explain it to me? Did I watch a Civil Rights movie on TV? Did I get it from Family Matters? I can never say because it was too early in life for me to remember. I don’t remember learning about anti-black racism, but I knew enough about it to ascribe the sentiment to white girls on tv. My Black best friend and my Black kindergarten teacher must not have made it even as far into life as I did before being faced with it, and not just on TV. Learning about racism. What a luxury.