Racism and Trampolines

Racism and Trampolines March 11, 2015

I thought my views on race growing up were pretty normal. I grew up in California, a melting pot of race if there ever was one. Some of my best friends in high school were Hispanic and my best friend in college was black. That’s all I knew. I read in history books about racial struggles (particularly in the South) but didn’t experience them firsthand until I moved to the Deep South fourteen years ago.

Racism reared its ugly head again recently with a viral video of college frat kids chanting horribly racist words in Oklahoma. As I heard over and over yesterday from the talking heads in the national media: This is 2015. Why is this still happening? Racism, as indefensible as it may be, still exists today. But not at my house.

The interesting twist for me in this most recent national conversation is juxtaposing it against what’s happening at my house. I’m white. My wife is white. Our kids our white (our second son is adopted and is half Anglo, half Hispanic. That just means he has the skin tone that most people pay hundreds of dollars to try and achieve. He’s gorgeous.)

3.11.15

Our neighborhood is a mixed neighborhood. We have several white families living alongside several black families. There have been no riots or protests. The most recent family to move into our neighborhood is a black family with four young boys. Their youngest two are the same age as my oldest two boys. A match made in heaven. With Spring Break upon us, there have been kids running all over our neighborhood. Much of the time the brood of boys ends up at our house because we have the trampoline. Fine with me. The other day I looked outside into the backyard where all the boys were playing. I remarked to my wife, “there are eight kids on our trampoline, and Zeke (our oldest) is the only white kid out there.

I’m so glad Zeke doesn’t see color the way my generation sees color. I’m so glad he’s growing up in a neighborhood where friendship is based on shared interests, not the color of your skin. Racism may still be alive and well in Oklahoma just as it is in parts of Mississippi. But my little neighborhood is an oasis of interracial community. And I thank God every day for it.

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