, 47 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
Ta-Nehisi Coates bottled up everything I was feeling: theatlantic.com/magazine/archi…
And now I'm gonna share my personal experiences of bigotry passed down like tribal knowledge. Thread upcoming:
Let me crystallize my conflict: my dad, who I love more than almost anyone else (hi, babe), is a bigot. Admits as much. (1)
Trump is, at once, the reason I will never vote Republican again, and the reason he is fired up about politics again. (2)
Let's make this discomfort real: he objects to watching the Jags game at his house. I asked, "Do you know WHAT they are protesting?" (3)
His response: "Son, they're just a bunch of n****rs." (4)
Little does he know that I have knelt before. I suppose part of this thread is preparing to tell him at the right time. (5)
This is a short reminder of why I'm making this thread, and not the main point: how I was taught bigotry. (6)
If you think my dad raised me most of my life, you'd be wrong; I moved in with him after college. (7)
My grandma helped raise me when my mom physically could not from Huntington's Disease. Not something I care to elaborate on here. (8)
My grandma is also someone I love dearly; she basically gave her entire life to take care of family members and foster children. (9)
When my mom and I first moved near her, it was "across the tracks". Around this time, I remember being told about a sign in Arkansas: (10)
"N****r, don't let the sun go down on you in Alix." A quick Google search allowed me to remember the town name. (11)
I have no idea why I was told about this... Like it was a sign of progress? Nostalgia? But it stands out amongst other family events. (12)
There were at least two family members that got a lecture on having a "N****r baby". (13)
The babies are full grown now, and I doubt they know about this. Or probably they have all along and have greater conflicts than I do. (14)
Cherry-picking examples, but this is low hanging fruit. By the time I graduate high school, I do not have strong feelings on anything. (15)
My ascent into adulthood comes mostly from living with my dad in college, a time to get to know him better. And that I did. (16)
What I highlight here is not an attempt to smear him. These are things I think he would admit to you in public. (17)
He describes his military brat upbringing as "dirt poor". In Compton, Oakland, Beeville, he says his was the only white family around. (18)
Here, he describes vicious racism from blacks. Learning to fight for everything. Basically, a rationale for his bigotry. (19)
Who am I to doubt him? In my voting years, my more intellectual conversations on politics come from a family member I won't identify. (20)
Someone who admitted cruel and bigoted acts from a position of power, stuff he feels extreme guilt for. I learned from his mistakes. (21)
I learned many life lessons from him and my dad alike. My world view was shaped by them. (22)
So when the family member asks, "Why is it that every race has succeeded in America except blacks?" I begin to give it serious thought. (23)
While I'm omitting many other political details, this is a window into what I was taught. Didn't really doubt it until... (24)
Well, meeting people of many backgrounds. I start to learn about racism in the drug war and lean towards libertarianism. (25)
Not earth shattering stuff, yet. That wouldn't come until Trump ran for office. You see, I thought that racism would die off. (26)
That was until I saw white college kids scream about double standards. (27)
Trump didn't believe in small government, or any of the things I assumed were Republican pillars. But voters loved him. (28)
I was one of those white people in the SNL skit that said on election night, "Damn, maybe America is racist." (29)
Thus began my unlearning of things I assumed, took for granted, pretty much anything I thought I knew of black suffering. (30)
It's around this time that Kaep takes a knee. When he first did it, I assume that he just wants out of SF. But it gets me researching. (31)
It becomes obvious in the weeks after that this is bigger than him. I felt motivated enough to take a knee. (32)
And now, full circle, back to a conversation with my dad about a Jags game. The disgust and hatred might as well be directed at me. (33)
I'm wondering about the possibility of not talking to my dad anymore. Or trying to change his mind. (34)
A microcosm of America. I'm wondering who among us will stop to consider the pain that would motivate someone to kneel at the anthem. (35)
As for me, it was a call to action. To be vocal. To be uncomfortable about my country's history. To actively donate my time. (36)
If I could shake @Kaepernick7's hand, I might say I'd kneel beside him. And I would. But then clarity of white privilege would set in. (37)
I'd think of the threats to my family's life that would bring, and the terror of that thought gave me a glimpse into... (38)
I guess something close to fathomable about being black in America. Thank you @Kaepernick7, you have changed the course of history. (39)
In conclusion, I want this thread to be an example of an honest discussion of racism and bigotry. (40)
I'm in a unique position of understanding the mechanisms of spreading bigotry and hatred, as Ta-Nehesi Coates described. (41)
If speaking about it in a small rant on Twitter makes another in my situation reflect, then I will feel proud. (42)
If you want to know more, there's plenty. Buy me a drink, and we can talk about it at length. (end thread)
That should be *starting* college
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