My backyard faces a busy street in a racially diverse area. Yesterday was a very hot day and I have a nice backyard with a pool. I was sitting inside chatting with my sister looking out the window when a tall young African American guy walked past. Being tall he could see right over our tall brick fence and stopped to check out our yard. I laughed, cause I thought he was wishing he could take a dip in our pool - it being so hot. I waved at him from the window and smiled and he moved on. My sister said, "That's not funny. He's scoping for things of value." There have been multiple break-ins in our neighborhood this past year. And I have caught someone scoping our house before. Still, I felt like she said that just cause he was black.
We grew up with a racist mother and although my siblings do not approve of my mother's racism they are bad about racial stereotyping and making racist jokes - something I've always been intolerant of. I don't allow it in my house or around my children but they still seem to slip almost every time they come to visit. And then they laugh at my disapproval like it's not a big deal.
My husband is a non-hispanic latino. He immigrated here 4 years ago and just gained his american citizenship. But he, through my family, has caught on to the racist culture. When I mentioned the incident to him - that a man had walked by and checked out our yard - the first question he asked was, "Was he black?" Grrr! Yeah but what has that to do with it?
Growing up with such racism it was hard for me to stand up to my family and so maybe I'm a little uptight about such things. I just don't want my kids to grow up with that way of thinking. Am I making a big deal out of nothing or am I right to jump on my soap box?