Walk in my brown skin for a moment

by katp,

I was born and raised in Vancouver, Washington in 1964. My father and mother moved here from Mexia, Texas in 1960. My father was the first African American Male to attend Moler Barber College which was located on Fourth Plain. I saw the photo that he as a student and his chair was located at the back of the school and he was not given clients as a first choice unless the person agreed for him to touch them.

My dad and uncle opened the first barber shop that cut anyone and everyone's hair in 1969. I remember the resistance he had in Vancouver to become a licensed business owner the City Council fought him. Our family received death threats all because they wanted to be business owners. I remember him having discussions with my mom about keeping doors and windows locked, and the phone ringing and my mom hanging up abruptly. I remember him being intimidated by the Vancouver Police and being told he had no rights as a n-word.

Fast forwarding in life to 30 years ago, and me being a married woman with three children and having to teach my children to watch everything they do because there were people who don't like them because of the color of their skin...again walk in my brown skin. Teachers in the school system singling them out over situations that could have been worked out but never being given the opportunity. Walk in my brown skin when you teach your children the golden rule of treat people the way you want to be treated only for them to be treated unfairly. Walk in my brown skin for a moment when you've been hired in the same department that mistreated your father and his business. Working in a department that Sgt's on their way out advising you to keep doing what your doing because there were some people that are after you...Walk in my brown skin that you walk in a room and everything becomes quiet and a person tells you they heard you were a trouble maker. Walk in my brown skinned when you have serviced the citizens of Vancouver to be addressed as that negro.

Walk in my brown skin when all you want is to be treated like your co-workers...I don't believe racial justice can happen in a two day community conversation. You can't expect something that has happened continuously for 400 years to be resolved that quickly and you can't help people understand their actions until they want to first admit they've been wrong in their mistreatment of so many. A person has to want to be better to do better.

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