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Things you don’t think of if you are Caucasian.

I am staying with friends over Thanksgiving.

I have known M or, rather, she has known me since I was born. She is twenty years older than me. She is Caucasian and from Tennessee. She married an African American man from Wisconsin. She is an artist. He was a special education teacher and football coach and died of lung cancer two years ago.
They have two sons. One is 16 inches taller than me and the other is 17.5 inches taller. I lived with the family for a year in college. With my parents dead, M is a mentor and second mother to me.

She lives within blocks of her eldest son. His wife is also Caucasian and they have three children. This is a predominantly white town. He is an engineer. We were driving to a swap meet and he said, “When we first moved here, I was stopped by the police every other day for six weeks. Then word got around that I live here and I have not been stopped since.” I cursed some. There are things you don’t even think of.

His wife said to me, “People looked at him like, why do you stay with her, because 3 can pass.” The kids are each vastly different. The eldest two are pretty clearly part African American. The third child has blond curls and very pale skin, like his mother and his father’s mother. “People acted less weird when they met M and realized she’s not MY mother.” It had not occurred to me that people might think that 3 was not my friend’s son. Assumptions, assumptions. Genes do not do what you think they will do.

My future daughter-in-law is Filipino. I want to ask if she is getting much in the way of discrimination in the Maryland area. She is a high level computer person. I hope she is not getting a lot of bad treatment.

This town is over 90% Caucasian, but the next one over is about 50% Not White. It has a reputation for more illegal drugs and addiction. The lawns are very neat here and it looks prosperous. That does not mean that there are not drugs and alcohol and domestic violence behind the lace curtains.

There is discrimination that I don’t even think of, isn’t there? M’s other son’s daughter is graduating from high school. She has a scholarship to college in New Orleans. M says that her husband always refused to go to New Orleans, because it was “the most racist city in the United States”. I didn’t know that. Can you name the top ten most racist cities? M is hoping her granddaughter does well in New Orleans and I am too.

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