Saturday, September 5, 2009

Nothing Has Changed

We just finished watching Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip. I've always loved Richard Pryor. I grew up on his movies, but I don't think I'd ever seen his stand up stuff (not exactly child appropriate). I was mesmerized by Pryor's candor and somehow found his jerking movements graceful. The performance was filmed in 1983. Pryor talked about how racism needs to end and how nobody, not even blacks, should use the word nigger. Funny, but it seems nothing has changed. I don't think we've progressed much in the last 25 years.

Whites still tiptoe around blacks afraid to offend, lest they be labelled racist. Oversensitive blacks find racism in everything whites say. This summer I had some totally frank and open discussions involving race with the interns from Ross's company. There were no eggshells to tiptoe on. I felt so free, so liberated. It was such a foreign feeling that I was uncomfortable. I found the whole situation hard to embrace, but I wish that's how it always was. People, friends, having fun and laughing together. No holding back, no trepidation, no offense meant or taken.

At age four or five when I asked my mom to explain the civil rights movement I was totally appalled at the idea of discriminating against someone because they are different. I asked my mom when it happened and when I realized it happened in her lifetime, I was in complete disbelief. I thought it must have happened hundreds of years ago. How could people advanced enough to go into space be dumb enough to discriminate against people whom I just saw as fellow humans?

I'm going to try and go back to that five year old mentality, even if some say that in itself is racist. At five my life wasn't ruled by fear. I was happy.

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