As I was leaving work today, I was talking with a co-worker about a movie I watched last night called “Ruby Bridges.” It is the story of the first African American girl who attended an all-white school in the South following integration. I had explained to my co-worker how upset I became while watching the movie. I kept saying to myself, “How could people be so cruel? Especially to a 6-year-old girl?” What made me even more upset was watching an interview following the movie, in which there was actual footage of Ruby’s first few days of attending her new school. In the actual footage, I saw grown white women and men who appeared to be mothers and grandmothers, fathers and grandfathers yelling hateful remarks to this innocent 6-year-old girl.
“I’m gonna kill you!” They shouted. “Your kind ain’t wanted here!” They spewed.
Tears filled my eyes as I watched those people say such things to a small child who could not defend herself. As I was telling my coworker about what I had seen in the videos, we began discussing the racism that is still alive today, despite the comments I’ve received about racism against blacks no longer being a “thing”.
“That was back in slavery days. Get over it,” I was told a few times when I’ve spoken up about the racism that never went away, but was tucked away instead… The outright racism that has begun to rear it’s ugly head once again in recent years. I told my coworker of the town in Georgia in which my sister says she was told not go into but was forced to when she was beginning to run out of gas. As she was pumping her gas, a group of white men told her she needs to hurry up because “She ain’t got no business in that area.” I told my coworker about the viral video I had seen on Facebook in which a black woman recorded a restaurant worker telling her through the door that she couldn’t come in because “her kind ain’t welcome here.” I told my coworker about the comments I read on Facebook, “Yall m*nkeys need to go back to Africa!”
I felt myself getting upset all over again after talking about it with my coworker. And as I was getting into my car, I pulled up YouTube on my phone as I always do to find an inspirational message to listen to on my drive home. Instead, I came across multiple videos on my home page about the recent attack on actor Jussie Smollet. According to the reports, Jussie was leaving out of a Subway in Chicago and was approached by two white men wearing face masks. They yelled to him, “Aren’t you that f***ot Empire n****r?” They then beat him up badly to the point of fracturing his ribs. After beating him up, they poured bleach on him and tied a noose around his neck. As they ran off, they reportedly yelled, “this is a MAGA country!”
As I listened to the video, I was in total shock as I was just talking about this very thing. I’m not often left speechless, but I literally cannot put into words the anger, hurt, and disbelief I feel right now. This is not an isolated incident. This is something that is still going on all over the country, this “great” country. And I think what makes it hurt more is the fact that some people are dismissing it and pretending as it if it’s not still happening. As I watched the Ruby Bridges story last night, I just kept thinking, this was only in 1960. It wasn’t long ago at all. My own mother was 10 years old when this was happening. Ruby is alive and well, still telling her story. And as for the women and men who were shown in the videos yelling hateful remarks at her, those people are most likely grandparents now. And probably raised children who were just like them. My prayer, though, is that it stopped with many of them in that next generation. I also pray that more people will try to understand the perspectives of black people who still face racism today, rather than dismiss it as being “in their minds”. This attack on Jussie Smollet is proof that it is NOT just in our minds. Jussie’s attack and the other incidents I mentioned in this post is not even a fraction of what is still happening in this country today.
My thoughts and prayers are with Jussie as he was not only attacked for the color of his skin but also because he is a gay male. His skin color nor his lifestyle warrants the hateful attack he experienced. I’m praying that he has a speedy recovery and that his attackers are found and brought to justice.
If you’re reading this post, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.
Until next time,
Love, Mizz K ♥
“Mizz K” Fowler is a poet, blogger, and the author of Pain, Promiscuity, Purpose: From Mess To Ministry and Not My Goodies: 10 Benefits of Practicing Abstinence until Marriage” which can be found on Amazon.com. You may connect with Mizz K on IG @love_mizzk and on Facebook @AuthorMizzK