A week or so ago, my wife’s grandmother had triple bypass heart surgery. As she was about six hours into her surgery, we all waited in the waiting room as did everyone else with a loved one going under the surgeon’s knife. The mood was quite somber throughout the entire room, and it was to be expected. When you have a relative or someone you love under anesthesia it can be a quite scary time.
The one thing I noticed, was that most of the people in waiting were overweight. To be honest, some of them were morbidly obese, which I thought was rather ironic considering that we were all sitting in the cardiac wing of the hospital. I don’t know about the rest of the people there, but I noticed, and I have it thought. Just that visit alone reinforced my commitment to getting healthier.
When we left the waiting room and headed back to the parking lot, we encountered and elderly White couple. When I say elderly, I mean, I can promise you, I thought I saw the angel of death lurking just directly behind them looking at his watch. The sidewalk wasn’t wide enough, so my wife stopped behind me to let them by as I wheeled our 18mth old towards the car. The lady smiled at me, and then spoke to my wife. From a short distance I thought I heard the usual, “My, my, my, what a beautiful baby you have.” Yeah, this is something I’ve gotten used to especially when encountering elderly women with a baby in tow; yeah, old women love babies.
A few seconds later after that brief encounter, my wife caught up to me and had this certain look on her face. It’s a look that I know all too well; it’s the look that often has me ushering the “what did I do wrong this time,” line. This time, before I could ask, she said, “That was the most racist thing I’ve heard in a very long time.” I was lost because I thought the lady was just being nice as all old ladies do when they see babies. So I ask, “What’s so racist about saying what a beautiful baby you have?” To which she replied, “Nothing.” So now I’m confused and apparently from the look on her face she was confused as well. She then looked at me and said, “Did you not hear what she said?” To which I told her what I heard the lady say. It was then that my wife corrected me; obviously what I thought I heard was wrong. Actually, what the old lady said was…
“Why do y’all always have the prettiest babies?”
Ok, so that was when it hit me that yes, this was indeed a racist statement. No seriously, when my wife repeated it, I translated it to mean, “you niggers sure do make some pretty babies…it’s a damn shame y’all get ugly when you grow up!” Yeah, that’s what that pretty much translated to in my opinion. I don’t know what you think, but am I wrong? If this is true, are all White babies ugly? My wife was a little bit upset as I was still trying to process it as we walked towards the car. I didn’t want to dwell too much on it more than I had to. So I just chalked it up to her being old and from another period in time here in the south. It was then that my mind was taken a back to the line I used to say or hear as a child in Catholic school and church…
FORGIVE THEM FATHER, FOR THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO.
Instead of getting upset, I just chalked it up to that. I mean after all, God did make that woman and pretty much all the other racists in this country in his image and his likeness, no? Well RiPPa, God made everybody in his image and likeness! Sorry buddy, but my grandma and pretty much everybody else’s had a picture of White Jesus on their walls; I hate to tell you this but that’s neither my image nor my likeness.
It is with this understanding that I come to the conclusion that racism, will never die. It may grow old and wrinkled like the lady I’m speaking of, but it will forever live on. To quote the eccentric music artist Erykah Badu in closing: if we were made in his image then call us by his name. A very deep and profound statement. It kinda makes me wonder if I or any other Black person referred to as a Nigger as a pejorative, should feel honored to be of God-like status. After all, aren’t we all made in his image?
Recommended reading: “Niggerology”