(My life is BRILLIANT...I am no one's "victim".)
I have been a mixed-race Black man for over 50 years. My ethnic background is African, Native American, and French. I am what we from Louisiana and Texas call Creole, specifically, Creole of Color.
In my many years on this Earth I have personally witnessed and experienced many things involving race, both good and bad, usually from what I consider a middle position. From this middle position we can catch Hell from both sides of the racial divide, as well as reap the benefit from both sides. As we Creoles of Color grow up, we learn that we are often “too Black to be White, and too White to be Black”
It can be a trial by fire.
As an older teen, through young adulthood, and now as a mature man, I have been accused of “acting White” because I chose not to follow the stereotypical and clichéd “Black” behaviors practiced by so many of my brethren, especially many of those in the inner cities.
(As small-town as it comes.)
I grew up on a farm, in a tiny town in Southeast Texas, in the 1970s and 80s. My neighbors, schoolmates, and friends were Black, White, or Creole like me. And as surprising as it may sound, and despite what the Left has been trying to tell us for the past 60 years, we all pretty much got along.
Remember, I am from the first generation after segregation, and I am telling you my own personal experiences in a supposedly redneck and racist state. The school district I went to was not integrated until 1966.
Yet...we all got along.
(Nobody ever told me what I couldn't be, especially the class clown that's me with the pineapple...)
Part of it was the proximity and the shared experiences. Like many of my peers, I raised animals, tended crops, rode horses, and went hunting and fishing. I come from a family of carpenters, electricians, mechanics, and handymen, so I was no stranger to hard work. It was the same thing with most of the families in the area, where the two major industries were oil and agriculture, especially rice.
Like many small-town Texas teenagers, I also spent 4 years in the Future Farmers of America, not because I had dreams of being a farmer, but because that was my everyday life. Being a part of FFA meant I spent a lot of time at rodeos, livestock shoes, county fairs, and other local festivals. Naturally, I was constantly around Good Ole’ Boys and Rednecks, and in some situations, I was the one of the three Black guys in a group of a hundred White Cowboys.
But...we all got along.
(This is my classmate Vincent Browning, he was one of the other few Black guys in FAA, that went to the Rodeos, county fairs, etc. After High School he went on to be an actual Professional Bull Rider, and a prized Bull breeder)
Were there individual racists in the area? I’m sure there were. Was it an ongoing problem where People of Color were kept down or denied opportunities or systematically harassed while authorities looked the other way? From my experience, the answer is an emphatic “NO”.
It was through playing sports and being forced to participate with my "oppressors" that we really learned about each other's race and how to get along. We learned to work together as a team and our differences became our strength as a unit. Many of the small towns we played had either all White or all Black teams, because of this they were unprepared to deal with a mixed race team that had learned to work together.
(Who said we can't achieve TOGETHER?)
It wasn't long after playing and winning games together that those same kids in Elementary school that unknowingly called us racial slurs, by the time we were all in High school were defending us at away games in racist towns that weren't as evolved as our own. Those teams lead to friendships, parties, sleepovers, road trips, concerts, rodeos, dances, festivals, going to Astroworld, and all sorts of gatherings in households from both of the races in our little town.
Our parents met and learned to get along, despite the different times they grew up in with race. Eventually, some of us dated people from outside our race, some got married and had the first mixed-race kids that are now living in that little town and growing up with none to the things we or our parents faced.
After high school, I moved to Los Angeles, and in the late 80s and early 90s and saw ACTUAL police brutality at the hands of individual officers of the LAPD. As a matter of fact, I lived just 15 minutes from where Rodney King was beaten by the police. I personally have experienced initially-unpleasant and potentially-explosive interactions with stressed officers trying to do their jobs in the middle of predominantly-Black neighborhoods that resembled war zones.
But those instances were rare, and they never turned violent or ended tragically.
The difference -- then and now -- is that FIRST, I was not engaging in any sort of criminal activity. SECOND, I didn’t portray myself as a pants-sagging, colors-wearing gangsta or thug in a high-crime area full of people trying to be just that. THIRD, whenever I dealt with police officers, I was respectful, I was compliant, and I made sure that the cops with handcuffs and billy clubs and pepper spray and guns never saw me as any kind of threat.
(THIS is what police brutality used to look like...Rodney King)
When the LA cops who were confronted by criminals and gangbangers and crackheads and violence every single day saw that I was not that kind of young Black man, there was no escalation, no violence, no shots fired, and no accidents. We all got to go home.
But despite my rural upbringing in a “racist” state right after integration, and despite living as a young Black male in what was at the time Ground Zero for race riots and police brutality and the 1994 Joe Biden Crime Bill that targeted people who looked like me, I still was not what you could by any stretch of the imagination call “oppressed”.
How can I say that?
I have been able to live my life as a free man, not as a victim. Almost everything that has happened to me in my life is the result of choices that I had the freedom to make. I have been able to live wherever I want, make a good living doing the jobs I wanted to do, and date whomever I chose. Nobody in power ever came up to me and said I wasn’t allowed to do something just because I was Black.
Where, exactly, was I oppressed? Where was this “systematic racism” that was supposed to deny me the same opportunities enjoyed by White people?
In my lifetime, we have made so much progress, going from segregation to integration, to Black politicians in “White” areas at every level, to billionaire Black entrepreneurs and businessmen, popular culture dominated by people of culture, and of course, the first “Black” President, who was not only elected, but re-elected.
Who honestly thinks Barack Obama, LeBron James, Colin Kaepernick, Robert Johnson, Oprah Winfrey, Jay-Z, or Beyonce' are oppressed or are victims? Neither am I.
(The $480 million athlete who claims he's oppressed.)
And here’s a secret that the Democratic Party doesn’t want you to know: neither are YOU, regardless of your skin color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or whatever new divisive label or hyphenation that they want to slap on you. If you live in America today, you have privileges and opportunities that your parents and grandparents never dreamed possible.
So when I say I have watched racism slowly dissolve in this country I am speaking from experience. We have come so far, and I refuse to let anyone take that progress away.