Sharon's Song

There's so much music in life if only we choose to listen!

Sharon Kay

Sharon Kay
Jacksonville, Florida,
June 03
Life has been a bit strange lately, both good and bad. I hope to come back to OS when I learn to write for myself and no one else. and on FaceBook or if you want to talk just message me and I'll give you my phone number or Skype name. I got nothing to hide!


JUNE 21, 2010 8:50AM

That's My Grandson You're Talking About, You Racist SOB

Rate: 33 Flag

A few weeks ago I met a very nice woman and her husband and have been e-mailing and talking with her on the phone ever since. This past Saturday I joined them at a naturist park that they had visited the week before and highly recommended. I'm perfectly happy with the River where I go but wanted to see my new friends again and just check the place out.

The last time I saw them I noticed a small Confederate flag on the bumper of their truck and when I mentioned this to a friend he pointed out that some people don't even think of this as a racist symbol but as a way of saying that you're proud of being from the South. (Um, OK.....I found out later that he was a Bush supporter. I've really got to be more careful about the company I keep.)

As I was telling my daughter where I would be for the weekend I explained to her that the woman had been very nice and we seemed to have a lot in common but I was afraid they might be a bit red-neck. I felt that this was an opportunity for me to broaden the way I look at people and I definitely don't want to be guilty of judging people by appearances. 

When I arrived at the park it was marked on the road with an American flag. Nothing wrong with a flag, right? (get a clue, Sharon)

I was greeted warmly by everyone there and worked very hard to join in on their conversations even though the only thing we seemed to have in common was that we were all nude. (don't be a snob, Sharon)

I swallowed hard at the first swipe at Obama and didn't say anything. (if you say anything right now you'll throw a wet blanket over the whole afternoon and you're way outnumbered...) (I know, I know! spineless wimp)

But then in the late afternon, IT happened. The racist joke!!! As we stood in the pool the husband let out with a "nigger" joke and a loud-mouthed woman on the deck joined in the laughter and added to the god-damned, stupid, idiotic, racist, self-righteous vomit.

I exited the pool, informed them that I had decided to head back into town to visit some clubs, showered, got in my car and didn't stop until I reached Ragtime about two hours later. As I got out of the car I could feel the ocean breeze washing over my body and trying to soothe and cleanse my mind.

Some of you know that my grandson is a mixed race child and he is the love of my life. I've never been a person who sees color when I look at a face and some of my best friends are and have always been darker skinned than I so I thought I was pretty liberal until Jacob was born. Now when I hear a racist comment they're talking about my grandson! It cuts my heart in two! It slaps me across the face and I want to strike out and hit back but what good would it do?

What good does it do?

No, I haven't told them yet why I left because I want to be careful what I say. I would like to be constructive and instructive instead of just fueling their flames of racism. I'll send her an e-mail when I calm down a bit but still I wonder...

What good will it do?

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"No, I haven't told them yet why I left because I want to be careful what I say. "

Very wise and self-controlled move Sharon. Not sure I could handle it. But I admire the way you ignored all the warning signs in an effort to be open-minded :-)
Probably no good at all, unfortunately - but I swear I wouldn't have been able to stop myself from telling them "I'd appreciate you not using profanity" or something. But that's me. Bless you for having to endure that :)
Thats a tough one. There is a loudmouthed racist woman where I live and I do my best to avoid her, but then again so does everyone else.
You might be surprised at what good it will do. People are often thoughtless . . . they have no idea that what they're saying is offensive, because they think they "know" their audience. What they don't realize is that it's not about the audience, it's about what's spewing from their lips . . .
I'm so sorry you had to experience that. You handled the situation well. It certainly can't hurt to tell your "friend" why you found that joke so hurtful; if you lose her friendship because of this, it probably wasn't worth your effort anyhow.

Meanwhile, I'm having a really hard time getting my mind around the concept of a right-wing naturalist camp!
I could never be friends with anyone who uses the "n"word or tells racist jokes anyway. I am so sorry people are idiots._r
Everyone needs to deal with hate in their own way, I suppose. You dealt with it by taking yourself away from it. I agree with Jane that you should let them know WHY, however. I personally would have said something then and there, but that's just how I roll.

The only wrong way to deal with hate is to accept it.
What's really strange is that I had just been stung on my little finger by a wasp and today it's still swollen and red and might require a trip to the doctor before the day is over. I think the universe was trying to tell me something. Duh, I know it was telling me something. Get your butt out of here!! Ha!

Thanks, guys, for reading and commenting. I'll send that e-mail today along with a picture of my adorable grandson.
I am one of the "beige babies" Penrose speaks of. The custom in this country is that if you are some part black, you identify as black. People may not realize that this same scenario takes place on the other side of the issue. When I am in a predominately black social setting, someone will invariably start with the "white folks" commentary.

And I say: "Hey, that's my mother you're talking about!" I get that it takes courage to do that. When I hesitate, out of fear of either being ridiculed or literally beaten down, I ask myself how I will feel when I go home and look in the mirror.

People need to be called out on their crap. I guarantee you there were other white people in that same crowd who were uncomfortable with that joke -- even some of the ones who were laughing! Fear prevents them from having the courage of their own convictions. We have to get over that. Right is right. Let the bigots fear those of us who are on the side of reason and humanity for a change!
Lezlie, you're so right and I've asked myself why I didn't speak up many times since I left there. I was so hurt and mad that I couldn't think straight. Next time I hope I will handle it differently. Thank you for your kind words.
Amazing is that the displayers of that flag claim they are memorialising a heritage. What heritage is that other than the heritage that justified slavery and an illegal rebellion against one's nation.
Ask yourselves: there has never in world history been a nation other than ours that has found it important to coddle the memory of a failed and illegal rebellion against itself. ASK YOURSELVES WHY.
R. Excellent essay.
I really can empathize with your story, some of my family is mixed-race, and on the other side as well, I've also listened to black kids go on and on about "That fat-assed old honky lady" who was my mother.
I must say though, there is nothing wrong with the flag, it should not be considered a warning sign that racism is ahead. That might be the one thing that group did that is okay--- fly the flag and be proud of it, period.
...the American flag, that is...
Because you will feel better, that's what good it will do. Because it might give them just a moment's discomfort, and that's better than none. The Confederate flag is bad news, I'm sorry. I've never found this not to be the case. r
What good would it do? We have to stand up, we have to speak out, otherwise they think they are winning, even if they don't learn anything. And what Maureen said.

Racist redneck nudists? >
what sweetfeet said....

Your post reminds me of the many times Ive wanted to stand up and say something instead of just getting out of Dodge. But you did the right thing. An email will help. Ive been tangled in webs in cyberspace where I just try to fade away. But someone has to stand up and say something. Just pick your battles and this sounds like a good one to pick. Maybe a note to the park?
I admire how you handled a difficult situation. Clearly, we all have styles of how we respond when angered, and I think it's important to go with our gut in these matters.

I do the same thing you did - I leave. If it's important enough to me I explain later, or at the moment if I'm able to do so with some measure of control. I do not laugh or smile obligingly when I hear racist/sexist/ageist/etc jokes.

I'm one of those few who love the "Rebel flag" and I have a very nice one. Folded carefully and put away. Years ago I flew it, back before it became so blatantly associated with racism. I have mixed feelings about this - but me drive to not be unnecessarily offensive outweighs my desire to see my flag wave outside my door.

Thanks for a great post. I'm going to share it with my biracial son in law! kp
I wand to add that a reason and not the only one that I so get this is that our son's African-American, adopted when he was 5 wks old. When we lived in an Atlanta burb (largely open and good), the people across the street started flying the Confederate flag the day after they first saw him playing on our front lawn. I shared with the man my sense of him and his 'cause'.
Some people cannot handle enlightenment so be careful, please.
The rise of ignorance and racism in this country is because we thing there is nothing we can do. We can tell them, tell every single one of them.
Exceptional post.
thank you for this
You did the right thing. Arguing with people like that gets you no where. I am surrounded by these people. The racists jokes alone would make anyone mad. But they text pictures to each other of some of the worst racist crap I've ever seen. Great Post!
That sucks. I would have done just what you did, and what you're doing. Assholes.
As a parent of 2 biracial children (Irish and African American) I can attest to the ignorance of some folks. I also work for a school where part of my responisibility is diversity planning (i.e. building relations, improving multi-cultural education, planning etc.).

At the school I work at we had a parent meeting encouraging families to attend to build unity in our community. We had around 60 people show up (half of the room was black parents and the other half was white). Anyway, as a staff member I sat in the back of the room and listened to what some of the stories were that came from the families of color. I expected a little back and forth but didn't quite expect some of the families in the room to become so defensive. The stories were never presented as anything more than "this is what happened to my child and how can we better handle it next time" or "this is what I would hope that my child would learn more of in the classroom" yet some of the white families definitely took it personal when it wasn't personally directed. The startling part was when a very, VERY angry caucasian father, whom I didn't know, approached me to let me know that it was ridiculous that "these people" felt as if they could come in and say these things when it was "our school". He obviously felt that as I was a caucasian staff member I would sympathize with his complaint and "do someting about it" but I let him continue as I sat silently. When he was finished, even though I was extremely angry, I simply said his comments were noted. As the meeting concluded I calmly went to the microphone and explained to the parents what my family make up was and the challenges my children had faced. One of those encounters, included my 11 year old being approached by a classmate with a "black joke". I went on to explain that while I was upset that my child had to endure this I also had to step back and analyze what had happened to try and resolve the situation. It all narrowed down to education. I need to educate my daughter on how to best respond, not to tolerate and not let it kill her self esteem. Her classmate, at 11 years old, obviously needs to be educated on what he is saying and how it affects others. The staff needs to be educated on how best to handle these hateful interactions. Let's be honest not every adult is comfortable when it relates to the "R" word (race). I explained to the parents the intent is that every child on our school campus feels valued and appreciated and to that we all must be educated. If you could have seen the look on that angry Dad's face when I finished. If I would have responded angrily (which was my first instinct) I wouldn't have taught him anything that day. Instead he walked away with a better understanding of how hurtful these instances were to the CHILDREN, not just the adults, but also how ignorant he looked when he came to me.

Sharon, I would encourage you to go back to your friends and educate them on your grandson and his heritage and how hurtful it was. It may catch there attention. You may or may not educate them but if nothing else you will have done the right thing for your grandson and you will have educated them whether they wanted to be or not. I'll die on that hill for my children and I think you would do the same for your grandson.

Good luck...
I think you acted like "a lady" by not throwing a snit. Unfortunately you were not in the company of ladies and gentlemen or it wouldn't have happened. Sadly, a "ladylike" response probably went right over their pointy little heads.

I think the good it does to mention it is that it gives the racist poop spreader the idea that he/she just might not be as socially acceptable as they thought they were. But that's not the way everyone wants to handle such a distasteful situation, mainly because we aren't all self-controlled enough.

You did what was right for you at the time.
Thanks for the calling me "ladylike". :) I have learned from many times of not acting "ladylike" as it relates to racist situations and how my family has been treated. When I haven't acted "ladylike" it just adds to their fodder and makes them defensive. Basically, my lashing back in anger adds to the "see what we mean" mentality rather then make them look stupid or educate them (if that is possible). :)

I agree. I think Sharon did a great job in handling herself well given the circumstances. I just know how it sits with you as it relates to your family when you don't say anything and it sounds as if that is what Sharon is grapling with. Her friends may choose to disagree and continue being moron's but she may feel better for saying something on her families behalf. Either way I wish Sharon luck in what feels comfy for her.
"Fear prevents them from having the courage of their own convictions."
I'd agree with that. I've sat quiet or with a smile on my face during dyke/fag commentary. I speak out if i know the people, but usually I just sit there and simmer with hate hiding behind a polite bored look. Speak up next time. Us beta fools will be grateful for the opportunity to stand behind someone real.
How revolting. Also a potentially awkward situation, with a bunch of people that you barely (pun unintentional) knew, all of whom seemed to think this behavior was ok. I think an email to your friends is a good idea. If nothing else, it might explain why you're not their friend anymore.
Great post, and great comments.
Monica - education, and Julie - fear, sum it up for me.
Unfortunately though, so does D Art's.
Take care, Sharon.
I just returned from work and would like to thank all of you for weighing in on this issue. There are points to be made for speaking up at the time and for waiting. I've been a crusader all my life and I've learned that sometimes getting a good result is more important than me keeping my image of a fighter for the cause.

Thanks Duane and Kim for thinking of my safety. I don't seem to have fear for myself so I need a reminder sometimes.

I just sent the e-mail and I won't share the entire thing but here's a little part with a bow to Martin included.
" a friend I didn't want to start the discussion in public. It goes much deeper for me than just a question of racism. Please take a look at the attached picture of my grandson, Jacob. You were, in essence, calling my grandson a "nigger". He is half black. He is a wonderful, loving, caring child and I hope he grows up to be the kind of person who doesn't judge a man by the color of his skin but the content of his character. I hope that the next time you start to tell a "nigger" joke you see that picture in your mind and remember that I cared enough to share this with you."

I don't know that I can change the way he feels about other races but I know that I've given him reason to pause before he does it again. I won't be around to find out for sure.
Thank you, Kim. And now I will retire to the bedchamber (Doesn't that sound so elegant and outdated? Ha!) and read myself to sleep. It's been a long day. Good-night......

Thank you, dear friends.
"What good will it do?"


To them it's all okay. They want to excuse racism, you don't. That means you are on the high road and they the low road.
I have been in similar circumstances on a number of my beliefs. So has my husband. We own a business. We are very patient, but it is a long rope. If they don't hang themselves, we set them out with the tools to do it to themselves. Tough situation, keep you chin up and don't waste your energy on trying to 'reform' them, just state your position and move on. R
I have been in similar circumstances on a number of my beliefs. So has my husband. We own a business. We are very patient, but it is a long rope. If they don't hang themselves, we set them out with the tools to do it to themselves. Tough situation, keep you chin up and don't waste your energy on trying to 'reform' them, just state your position and move on. R
Sorry, I'm late to the party, but I'll add this. I've found it to be useful information in opening some eyes...

There is actually no such thing as race as people understand it. There's no scientific basis for it whatsoever, just leftover scraps of hundreds year old theories that didn't hold up over time. As a matter of fact, the most recent genetic research has shown that every single person on the planet today is a descendant of a small group of perhaps 2,000 individuals in Africa, themselves survivors of a much larger group that had suffered a dramatic decline in numbers due to some disaster. We are all related, and our DNA is 99.9% identical. And the tiny .1% where we differ is almost all related to appearance, such as skin and eye color, hair texture and the like.

Knowledge is power. Pass it on.