I thought I would give voice to the voiceless, defend the defenseless, and walk the walk, not talk the talk. I thought I would shed some awareness of a situation that arises in our own hometown. I would like to bring those in the dark into the light…
When I go to get ice cream at Stewarts, and I am greeted with friendliness and cheerfulness upon requesting a sample, when my friend, who requested a sample earlier, is given no smile and is sneered at without eye contact...that is racism.
When I go to the checkout counter at the Saratoga Springs Public Library, and I am greeted with salutations, and served with eye contact, calm and relaxed service and smiles, but the man before me was given no eye contact from the checkout clerk, and even worse, serviced with a quick flurry of activity from the clerk to move him along as promptly as possible, and no salutations is offered...that is racism.
When I hear of a friend’s black son, attending high school at Saratoga Springs High School, sitting in a class, and the teacher admits to the whole class that he crosses the street when he sees a black person walking toward him, in order to walk on the sidewalk on the other side of the street...and even worse, nothing is done about it, no apology from the teacher in front of the whole class, no reprimand of the instructor…nothing in writing in the teacher’s record...that is racism.
Racism and bigotry knows no bounds, exists in more places, and occurs more frequently, than most white people can fathom. When you have walked side by side with someone who is judged based on their color, and not on their character, perhaps some awareness will be awakened. When you are sneered at or dismissed or disregarded while walking with your friend, perhaps you will “feel” what is means to be black...
Walk the walk, protest, give voice to the oppressed and victimized, and perhaps you will understand what white privilege is in your own home town.
- Rachel C. McDermott, Financial Representative