Dealing with Prejudice/Racism PART I

I know this blog is about my experiences as a woman living with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer, but I need to take a small break and talk about prejudice and racism.

As most of you know, I’m a WASP. I’m originally from the Midwest but I am a White Anglo Saxon Protestant. I’m married to a dark skinned naturalized citizen from Jamaica and our boys are a beautiful brown mix of the two of us.

Hey, I know I’m biased, but just look at how amazing they are!!

I’m still learning about how to deal with racism, whether overt or covert. News Flash, I’m not dealing very well with it. When my husband and my kids are treated differently, it boils my blood like nothing else. Nothing.

Recently, we’ve encountered an issue in our neighborhood. Specifically with the use of the tennis courts in our neighborhood. Ridiculous, right? How could tennis courts result in racism?

My children have been taking tennis lessons for nearly 2 years now from an amazing tennis coach that comes to our neighborhood. She is truly a gifted teacher and my boys love her. We share the time with several other families in our neighborhood. The coach is super nice, respectful, etc. She has never caused any problems and has never been late.

Fast forward to last weekend when an adult white man thought he should have the tennis court and my husband, children and our coach should leave. There are no rules in our neighborhood that would allow one resident to force another to leave a common area yet this man thought he could bully them because he wanted to play instead of the children. He pretended to serve the tennis ball into my husband’s face and kept yelling “Where are you from?” to my husband and our coach.

This happened in front of my boys.

They are 6 and 4.

They watched this horrible man belittle and be disrespectful to their father and coach.

My husband handled the situation beautifully, respectfully communicating that he would not be bullied or pushed around. He did leave the tennis court that day because the man was so awful and the boys were present and there is a second court. When my parents attempted to talk to the man, he calmed down. He apologized to my tall white father while ignoring my mother.

When we filed a formal complaint with the homeowners association and suggested remedies for the situation, we learned that this man is a known bully. He is a known racist. He is known to be extremely negative towards immigrants. He is known to use his whiteness and his height to intimidate others into giving him what he wants.

It is known.

And yet, his behavior doesn’t stop.

He has no idea what can of worms he just opened when he behaved this way towards my husband and my kids. If he needs to know where I’m from, I’m happy to tell him I arrived in Florida from Ohio by way of law school in Virginia. I suspect that’s not what he wanted to know.

It is 2019. The idea that any person is better than another because of their gender or skin color or height or nationality whatever is not only outdated, it is criminal. No one should tolerate this behavior and yet the lack of people standing up to bullies and racists and misogynists is astonishing.

The ONLY way for men like this to win and get what they want by being horrible is when the targets don’t back down and neither does the community.

You’ve been warned, you racists and misogynists, you don’t get to mess with my family without consequences.

Author: Abigail Johnston

I'm a daughter, a wife, a mother, and I've been living with Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer since March, 2017. All of the words I publish are my own.

23 thoughts on “Dealing with Prejudice/Racism PART I”

  1. You touched an issue near to my heart. What a horrible excuse for a human being. I’m sure it was a teaching moment for your kids (although they shouldn’t have had to experience it) on how not to act. And also how to have class as displayed by your husband and the coach.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow, maybe because it’s the midwest? I’m pale as mayo and my hubbie is much darker. Orlando isn’t perfect but it’s pretty diverse. We haven’t had problems like that.
    I was watching a show the other day about some young men who had been wrongfully accused of murder and sent to prison for like 30 years seemingly just because they were dark skinned. When they were finally released the old cracker prosecutor could not be convinced they weren’t still guilty even though there had never been any real evidence against them. Well, hopefully God, karma or the universe will take care of him and that neighbor of yours. 😕

    Liked by 2 people

  3. God only knows the amount of profanity that would pour out right now but I’m not using my energy on that white supremacist.

    What I will say ever since I arrived to Florida 14 1/2 mos, I became aware of the Stand Your Ground Law. It’s people like that man that God has given added grace because I can’t imagine how someone hasn’t ceased his life functions.

    And, whether you agree or not, the person in the White House isn’t helping matters. As far as I can tell, his actions have ignited a new frenzy of prejudice in this country. I hope the people that voted for him, think twice. Because let me tell you something, Ignorance Gets A Wakeup Call. A title for one of my books that I’m working on.

    Love and light to you and yours. You look beautiful, your husband is very handsome and, of course, your sons are the cutest. I have relatives that look just like them. 😁💃🤗

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thank you for touching on this very important issue. Too many people seem to think racism and prejudice are no longer an issue. Sadly we are evolving very slowly, and not always linearly.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I’ve dealt with racism from the white and black community. The white community tells me ALL the time, “You speak so well.” and “I forget you’re black.” The black community tells me, “You act too white.” and “You’re a sellout.” I was told by a white southern teacher in front of my whole class in 4th grade that I was stupid. I was the only minority girl in the class.
    Unfortunately, racism will never, ever end. Hate is taught. I really feel for black, brown and biracial BOYS specifically, especially in these times. I just finished watching the four-part series #WhenTheySeeUs and still so emotionally distraught by the racial injustice those boys now men went through.
    I’m sick to my stomach that you and your husband will have to talk about racism with your beautiful boys. I know what it’s like to not be invited to the birthday party or have a date for prom because the parents are racist. It’s horrible and heartbreaking. That’s also why I also ask for a bag from a store, even if it’s just a candy bar because I know racism is everywhere.
    Love, hugs, comfort and strength…

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Firstly, oh my gosh your boys are gorgeous! My sister, a very white Celtic Irish girl, is married to a dark-skinned man from Sri Lanka and her two children are the same beautiful mix of nationalities and colors. Secondly, I am so angry to hear about how your husband has been treated – I seriously don’t get this kind of thinking, but my goodness what a great role model he is for your kids. You must be so proud of your beautiful family

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Well said, Abigail – it’s so true that bullies of any kind only get their way when the people they are bullying back down. Sometimes it’s necessary to back down, if there is a potential for violence, but I agree that more people need to say “this is not acceptable” – I’m not 100% convinced that it would change the minds of the bullies, but at least it shows that we care about treating people with respect.

    Liked by 3 people

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