Saturday, October 29, 2011

Changing minds one reader at a time

Dear Reader,
            If you are reading this, clearly someone close to you thought this was important or meaningful enough to share this with you; and for that I send them my sincere gratitude. I am not the type of person to start chain letters. I never desire people to feel obligated to read them, to send them, or to waste the space on their email servers; but I felt that this was a well-needed message to send out.
            On Tuesday, October 18th, I was a victim of acute road rage, racial profiling, and verbal assault. Now I know you are probably thinking that road rage is a common incident, especially being in the state of Massachusetts, but regardless of whether it is common or not, it doesn’t make it any less of a crime.
            While stopped at a traffic light, which turned  into a Stop and Shop parking lot which I commonly frequent, the driver behind me obviously lacked the patience to wait for the light to change. Enraged that I wouldn’t cut through oncoming traffic on a yellow light, he laid on his horn even though the light had changed to red.  He continued to lay on the horn throughout the time that it was shining its “do not go” coloration. So I did what any normal person would do, I pointed at the light and made a simple gesture that meant, “I heard you during the last 30 seconds, but in this world traffic lights exist.”
            When we were given the opportunity to go, he proceeded to follow me into the parking lot, followed me up and down the aisles until I had to make a stop, and squeezed his large vehicle on the right side of my common Civic. At that, I chose to ignore  him, looked in the opposite direction, and went to do what I was there to do, which only provoked his crazed obsession with terrorizing a young woman while she was trying to pick up her roommate from work.
            He forcefully opened his car door to purposely smack a dent into the side of my car and yelled obscenities. This made him not only look like an impatient jerk, but clearly a bigot who has an obviously strong hatred for immigrants.
            Now let me get one thing straight. I was born in the foreign lands of Norfolk, Virginia. It is true that my father immigrated from to this country when he was a child, but he has been a United States Citizen for over 35 years, of which 25 years he served this country in the US Navy.  My mother is a New England native with roots in Massachusetts that go back to the Puritans.  I am not an immigrant, despite my possible, unidentifiable appearance. Since my father just so happens to be black, for that moment, in the eyes of this ignoramus, I was an “illegal immigrant cunt”. I countered this attack with an upright middle finger, which if you know me, you know this was out of character; but there are times and places for actions such as this. This was all followed with more profanity and heated motions. He was now at his true Neanderthal form as he hit on my side mirror like an ape. While I sat still in my car, my middle finger still raised, I pointed at it to gesture that it was all he was going to get from me.  I knew if I had tried to form a full witted verbal counter, my tears of rage would be a give away of my fear. No one takes a person whom cries when they are mad seriously; and while I seem like an eloquent chatter box due to this message, in person my social skills are rather on the shy side. The man circled around in front of me saying that I had no right to flip anyone off due to my unfortunate citizenship status and then left the lot completely from what I saw.

            Now if you’ve gotten this far, I honestly commend you for I know I’ve gone far past the 15 second limit of the average attention span which this is modern messaging 101. But if you, please, bare with me for just a little longer, I do have a point to all of this in which I can explain now that you have received a proper back story to what prompted this statement.       
            This event made me think about a few things: impatience, bigotry, bullying, and about all of the other people who could and would be terrorized by people like this moron. So to this, I am choosing to do what I am known for, since my heart resides with the empathetic Progressive party. This isn’t just about what I’ve been a victim of, but about the choices people make every day when they torment someone.
            I remember while my roommate was trying to console me, I tried to crack a weak joke like, “Wow, I’ve never been called a ‘cunt’ before. What ever happened to good old fashion ‘bitch’?” But I think even he could see that it was merely my way of trying to ignore the elephant in the room. I get no joy out of people seeing me vulnerable (even him, my beloved best friend) and my puffy, blood-red, still flooding eyes weren’t helping.

            ‘Tis true that I grew up in the south. From Virginia, my family moved to northern Florida; and as a commercial artist, I can honestly tell you that Florida is not the palm tree paradise we want you to believe on our beautiful post cards. So I am by far not someone that escaped judgment unscathed.
            Sadly, if you are among the many who are unaware of how thing works there, I am what would be known as a half-breed; and no that is not as cool as being a mischievous Halfling for those whom have ever played or opened a Dungeons and Dragons manual. A “half-breed” is one who is born from parents of two different races. And for the racial caste system, you either pick a team or stand alone. The most common greeting isn’t, “Hello, how are you?” It’s usually “Ummm, what are you?” Either way you are rarely fully accepted, which puts you below everyone else. Even for those who don’t grow up brainwashed to follow the racist mantra, you tend to have a complex where you can’t actually accept yourself. I’d be a liar if I didn’t admit that for a moment or two in my teen years, I thought that I could never even have a relationship in fear of putting my loved ones in an uncomfortable situation because of my race. Whether that was just true emo-ness or a way of coping with the fact that I had zero action in the relationship department, the problem was the same… I couldn’t even accept myself. And until I left the state for college, I was faced with stares and judgment for my appearance.
Now I’m not saying that I haven’t any issues now. Heck, a year or two ago, a police officer was detouring us around a road issue (surprisingly in the same area as the recent incident), he stopped me and asked if I spoke English. I know that no state is completely a diverse paradise, but one problem from time to time is better than being bombarded daily.
So no, I am not a stranger to racism; and while environmental conditions have vastly improved (though there still is no action in my relationship area) and I have since then been able to stand with more pride since I moved to New England, events like this, while rare, still can occur and cause great harm. Nationally, biracial individuals still aren’t fully accepted. Our own president was forced to choose a label regardless of the fact he finds that race is unimportant, as many other biracial/ multiethnic people do. We merely want to be seen for who we are.

Now I have two options, wallow and shroud myself with pity or get up and move forward. I am a strong, ambitious geek who has and will achieved a lot. I am an illustrator, a designer, a best friend, and an aspiring author/ illustrator combo. I am a daughter, a sister, and so much more. I am known for creating things out of nothing. Give me you fridge, and I’ll make you a multiple course meal. Give me fabric, and I’ll make you a custom, character themed hoodie to fit your stuffed animal. That is who I am.
            I could wallow, but I could also make a choice… to turn a bad experience around and make a change… to make people aware of problems that many people face. It’s one thing to slap one person on the wrist for their uneducated stupidity but its another too make people aware of the problem in which plagues us. Our country has an epidemic of ego and it can often create harm.  Call it bullying, ignorance, bigotry, or terrorism (in the true definition of the word not the disgusting label that is given to people of different religious beliefs).
            So to that, I will leave you on this note since I know that this statement has reached a two and a half page count typed (you should have seen it written). Whether you are labeled as “Caucasian”, “black”, “asian”, “Hispanic”, “heterosexual”, “homosexual”, “male”, “female”, “immigrant, “citizen”, “the bullied” or even “the bully”, know that you aren’t alone. We are all apart of this thing we call the human race and to put an end to this dysfunction, it will require more than single reports… It will require all of our voices spreading the word to make people every where… aware.

And at this, here is me signing out. Once again I want thank you for making a choice of taking the time out of your day to not erase this random forward that someone close sent to you. I want to thank you for making the choice of taking the time to read this; and I also want to thank you for making the choice of taking the time out of your day to send this to those who are close to you.
I tip my hat to you.

Hello my name is Sam. I am 27 years old… and I am biracial.


thegamesman said...

Very good Sam. Don't bother what others say or think just live your own life. I like your work. Mikethegameman


Thank you very much!!! It is the best for all of us!

BooksThatSow said...

You are very strong and courageous. This article should make it around to many different people.
You are NOT half-breed, or an "other", but BIRACIAL. Claim it!


Thank you soooo much!!! I really want people to realize how their actions effect people no matter the age or race. And I want everyone to be able to grow up and be proud of themselves.