LET’S TALK ABOUT RACE

I had not realized it until last night’s basketball game that Carol and I were among 3 white people among a crowd of black people. Having grown up in New York City, spending time in black communities during the late sixties and early seventies, it did not seem so peculiar. What was peculiar was that it was the first time that I had realized it in the six games that I have attended.
No, I am not saying that my best friend when I was growing up was African American. Actually, that prize was shared by a Bulgarian Jew and a small Italian kid. What I mean is that until such time as it came to my mind, the differences did not seem to be at the forefront of my mind. The crowd was the same as it had been at all of the games that I have witnessed or coached. That is true for all of the white majority games in pro, college, high school and junior high that I attended. It was a singular action that both Carol and I looked around and noticed the difference.
There appears to be a singular effort on behalf of some to make everyone notice the difference between those whose skin color is darker, whether Spanish, African American, Arabic, Indian and others. I understand that there are differences. For instance, African Americans, in general, do not earn as much money as the national average, or more so in comparison to white people. Those are the kind of things you notice when they are pointed out to you by the media, or some research that you have done.
Harry Golden, in Two Cents Plain, once described how integration might work (it was before integration was in vogue). He said that people don’t seem to mind standing holding onto a strap in the New York City subways. Maybe people could do that while they ate, or went to the movies, or any other human activity. People would not then mind standing and doing these things.
It also confirms what I have thought about someone pointing out differences. The recent incidents in all parts of our country with shootings of African American males by police make this pointing out differences somewhat dangerous. The shootings that involve Islamic Jihadist terrorists make us look a bit differently at our neighbors, who might be Muslim, or other darker skinned people.
Interestingly enough, we all root for Americans with dark skins in sports, in the Olympics or in the movies. When it is pointed out that some of these athletes of darker skin may be doing negative things, we start thinking about differences. Somehow, the white perpetrators of these things do not seem to bother us as much. There is just something wrong with this picture.

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