Hypersensitivity

I used to be worried that I wasn’t colorblind. I didn’t judge people based on the color of their skin, but I saw it. Not only was I aware, I was hypersensitive to race. I wanted to talk to black people about their experiences, their lives, their families. I tried not to. I tried to see people just as people, but I couldn’t. I just couldn’t. I’d seen too much, knew too much.

My dad was a terrible person. He’s also a racist. I grew up listening to him say terrible things about blacks, blame them for things, accuse them of things. Meanwhile his actions were as bad or worse than the crap he was projecting onto African-Americans. Besides that, as a drug addict, he was buying drugs usually from black people. The very people he lambasted he gave everything he had to. Instead of taking care of his kids, instead of putting food in the house, he gave it over to people who were supposedly terrible, but who, as far as I could tell, weren’t anywhere near as bad as he was.

My best friend growing up was an African-American girl. Her father was kind of well off, so I was invited to do cool things with them. I went swimming in the underground pool, I went with them into the country, I went to Beauty and the Beast On Ice. I got to do so many things I wouldn’t have been able to if it weren’t for my rich black friend.

So I knew, I really, really knew, how stupid racism was. How real it was. How fucking ridiculous, meaningless, monstrous. That’s what my dad showed me. Racism was the stupidest ideology that ever existed. It disgusted me and enraged me and called me to do something. All this colorblindness makes it worse. People ask like racism isn’t real. People act like its over, and that whatever problems there are don’t exist because of consequences from oppression and poverty. My dad didn’t even go to jail for a year. He never went to prison. Even while I listened to him say his crap, I knew most black men wouldn’t be treated the same way be police. I think about the officer’s who took his word over mine, over my mother’s.

Being a white man still means so much.

So when I see black people, I see people I want to talk to. I want to help. I want to work with. I want to help. I want to stand up for. I don’t of course, because I don’t know them and don’t know their lives. But I think about them. I’m definitely not colorblind.

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