I decided not to send the following letter to the editor. I still don’t know if I want to. In light of the death of Jordan Davis I feel AND KNOW that there is a deeper issue, problem, and toxin that is not being checked. All of what we are seeing is more at the surface level or the over flow of the heart and thoughts. I KNOW what it is. SIN…you won’t see this topic in the headlines today.
REPENT TODAY FRIENDS!
Pray for the City of Jacksonville FL and that the true facts surrounding Jordan Davis and his death will be revealed and handled justly.
~My Facebook Post November 29, 2012
My dear husband of 14 years recently received a new job and an opportunity to advance his career with a local corporation.
In the area where we have moved, we have found the most polite and welcoming neighbors. My children experience passing a pasture full of cows on the way to school every morning, which I am told is not uncommon for the area. The checker at the local supermarket always makes it a point to draw happy faces on my check out receipt at the counter. As one neighbor put it, “The people here care and are genuine.” For the most part, I can say I have experienced this.
Prior to my arrival to the Jacksonville area, there were a barrage of negative perceptions and responses that I had to face— from friends, family, strangers, and even myself. I’d hear questions like, “You are moving where?.. For what?; Isn’t there a lot of crime (relative to) …blacks there?” Jacksonville, Florida’s largest city has a lot of work to do when it comes to its reputation, for sure.
Unfortunately my family has experienced the perceived ways of racial discourse embedded in the history of the “Deep South.” My husband, for over the past 4-5 months has observed, complained, and vented about how he is treated in this area. The startled looks he received when he walks into stores, restaurants, banks, and sometimes even at work, where he was hired, leaves him baffled to why he may be avoided. He often goes into department store and is neither greeted nor asked if he needs assistance. He has also stated that he is “invisible” or not welcomed by others unless his family is with him. In the sense that he now feels visible he is now greeted and persons are not attempting to avoid him. He becomes a “visible” family man now seen with a new lens of role and responsibility.
The constant news stories and area crimes that involve African American male perpetrators in no doubt may develop and confirm stereotypes or generalizations. Without blame, if I never associated with people outside of my race but only saw them on TV in negative and criminal images. I too would be apprehensive about how to associate with them or have no desire to associate with them at all.
My husband shared with me how he overheard a little girl no more than 5 years old, to her mother’s shock, dismay, and embarrassment call him a “nigger.” The mother apologized for her daughter’s behavior, but, what is she learning at home? While I realize that we are in the “Deep South” it has caused me to become more sensitive to the issue of race here and as it relates to our children.
A clerk at a local cable company store front who did not treat my husband appropriately The clerk was described as agitated, unfriendly and “short” with words. He was observed to give many customers a bag upon leaving the store, but refused to provide one for him. A bag doesn’t sound like such a big deal, but even a co-worker of the clerk brought to his attention that the customer needed a bag, he did not comply. He did not know the black male in camouflage pants, tennis shoes and a black t-shirt went to school 9 years and studied coursework in a field where many drop out because that can’t handle the complex computer codes and statistics courses that go along with the program. Then this black male began work on his MBA to better his career advancement opportunities for himself and his family working tirelessly into the late hours of the night, while trying to make sure he was responsible in all his duties as husband, father, employee and student. But knowing all of this wasn’t necessary for the gentleman to show good customer service nor with the knowledge of background does it command respect …from anyone.
Prior to the election, I learned that a local news agency had to take down a page from their website which spoke of First Lady Michelle Obama’s visit to Jacksonville due to inappropriate comment made about her on the page.I didn’t get to see any of the posted comments but apparently they were so highly flammable, insensitive, and crude that they had to be removed. Was this based on race? I don’t know, but based on my observations and experiences in my America and in my “Generation Next” opinion, probably so. How unpatriotic can one be? Disrespecting the spouse of the 44th President of these great United States of America is contemptuous.
I wish my husband or any other hard working, respectable, tax paying, up-standing law abiding, American citizen would not have to deal with the many offenses that come their way due to sex and race, but they do and they will.
A CALL TO ACTION
What shall we do? I think when a perceived offense has occurred it should be addressed, especially when children are around. Politely impose “teachable moments” on those who you have felt have offended you or treated you unfairly. I would also suggest to news media in this area find positive news and stories because there will always, unfortunately, be negative news to tell. Newspapers, online articles, and community publications can include and highlight the achievements of people of color and those who work in the area to improve race relations. I propose community service programs that support children, activities that help people from various walks of life to come together. From that I hope that education and a dialogue on race can be fostered so that the city can come together, move forward and address the education of our greatest legacy– our children. Our children deserve to grow up in an America where they are safe, have access to quality education, and the opportunity to become respectful adults.
A Concerned American