Covid 19 means more time to speak to the people we don’t often talk to. I have been speaking weekly to my 94 year old aunt, a woman I avoided for many reasons I won’t go into here, and not for the reasons in this post but underlying sentiments of hers must have been coming through loud and clear for years.
Our conversations started out light. We talked about health, loneliness, family, children and grandchildren. She then started complaining about two of her grandchildren’s liberal ideas, surprising to her since they grew up in a family that gave them everything. I told her I thought that was wonderful. Her son raised great kids and I told her how my kids felt the same. She then went on to tell me how lucky kids were today and how easy it was for them to do well. I didn’t agree and told her so. Things might be easier for those who came from prosperous backgrounds but those without the background or education still struggled. In her day it was easier to succeed if you had the drive. Inflation is way ahead of income now. From here we moved to the protests. She kept insisting Black people have it much better now than they did when she was young. And, while I agree things are better, I kept trying to tell her that better was not good enough. Just because she sees some Black faces on the news doesn’t mean all have the same opportunities. Blacks are still being treated differently and harshly by law enforcement. I couldn’t convince her of the inequities I saw at Packemin and how, while no one would admit it, there was still a big difference when it came to race treatment in advanced classes and in discipline. I ended up saying goodby and hanging up.
Racism is alive and well.