Some of us focus on how to treat each other one day a week. Hate doesn’t accidentally happen. You don’t wake up one morning and decide today’s the day, you decide to hate each other. I remember growing up in the south as a small country girl. I had a white friend at school and another one down the street. I remember talking to my grandmother on one occasion and she informed me that I shouldn’t be hanging around poor white trash. Now see that was a word, I wasn’t familiar with. I knew what Nigger was because my grandmother used it from time to time. If I’m being honest that was the first place I ever heard the word. I can’t claim that some white person got mad and called me out of my name.
I’m sure I wasn’t the only child who learned about racism as a youth. I hated hearing racist terms. My best friend was Lisa and she was white. By all accounts I should have been racist, and I probably would have been like many in my family. However, in the ninth grade I saw racism for what it was.
I had this teacher that I loved to death. She was the model of inspiration to me. She had beautiful brown hair that flowed to her butt and was short just like me. Her name was Mrs. Mixon. I remember one morning after I arrived at school, I saw a lot of students crying. I didn’t know why so I stopped my friend in the hall and asked what happened. I was told that she was killed in car wreck. My whole life stopped in that second. I came from a family that was speckled with domestic violence and alcoholism. I tried to commit suicide a few years before I met Ms. Mixon, and was pretty much lost after my mother took me out of therapy because “nothing was wrong with me”. My sisters dealt with the hardships just fine, and I would too.
Well, those years were very dark for me. I would do just about anything to my body that resulted in a feeling. I just wanted to feel something other than fear. So, in comes Ms. Mixon my Freshman year of high school. She was a lifeline, someone to talk to and I needed that. OMG..It was so long ago and I’m freaking crying as I write this. I’m sorry. Anyway, I was told she died in a wreck. I went home that day and tears were flying in every direction. I got in trouble because I was crying over her because she was white. I knew then that racism was a horrible disease that shielded hearts from caring enough to see goodness in others. I guess the point is, it would be awesome if we could teach people how to love each other each day, how to Remember Dr. King’s message each and every day not just one day a year.