So, I was lucky to see the Race Exhibit at the Franklin Institute during my class’ field trip. I spent almost 2 hours in that exhibit, which was not that big. Only one room. But so much reading material and information.
Many times while in the exhibit, I felt my eyes start tearing. I feel so deeply saddened by how children learn the color of their skin from people’s reaction and from lunch room dynamics. But I don’t know what the heart of problem is nor do I have a solution. But I can imagine that God is really saddened by this as well.
We are not defined by our skin color. We all know that. But we’re bound, as slaves, to our stereotypes and from social standards. I don’t know how to break out of it.
One panel was about the GI Bill, which was instated after WWII, which is for war veterans. After they come back, they can purchase houses for a very low price and a very low mortgage rate. So in the panel, it shows 2 soliders. 1 white and 1 black. And it put names (aliases?) down. It explains that the white solider bought a $9000 house (this was in the 40s-50s) and because it was in a nice neighborhood in NYC, the house is now $450,000. So because of the increase in market value, their assets have increased by a lot, allowing them to also fund their children’s education, buy a nicer house, etc etc. However, for the black solider, he was unable to purchase a house in the nicer area, because the landlords did not want to sell the house to a black man. Therefore, he could only buy a house around Brooklyn/Queens area for $7000, and he had to work 2 jobs to pay off that mortgage. After all these years, the house is now only $10,000. Which means his assets really didn’t grow all that much, and his children may not be funded for higher education. But… both men served in the army. Both men fought for the same country. Both men were as brave and as strong and as patriotic. Both men took the same risks. Both families held their breaths and shed their tears as they watched their sons go away to fight, fight for America. But in the end, they lead very different lives. Not because of their own determination or hard worlds, but only because of opportunities, or opportunities denied.
Perhaps so many people blog, because when you read, you can forget a person’s race. You can clear away the stereotypes. Like art. Like fashion. These things allow people to truly express themselves, and not be oppressed by their skin color and by social standards.
I was watching a video documentary at the exhibit. It was an interview with high school students about race. One very handsome black kid said that he’s smart, but he’s frustrated that he feels that he has to prove himself to show that he’s smart. Otherwise, people often just treat him as if he were dumb. Wow! I can’t even imagine how frustrated I’d feel, if I were truly smart and had to battle against that all my life. I had a brilliant friend in college who was top of his class in Eleectrical Engineering, which is also one of the hardest major. Not only was he a year younger than everyone in his year, he also was well-mannered, very well spoken, friendly, and in every way shape and form a gentleman. And… he was black. I never thought it he had to battle these stereotypes. Maybe that’s why he went back to the Bahamas to work. Was it that America just wasn’t welcoming enough? Even with our black president? Even with all our policies in place? Even with the nation being psycho-ly “PC” ? Perhaps we’re just not doing something right? Or maybe we’re just missing the main picture here.
I don’t know. I don’t have an answer. Just a whole lot of emotions. And a head full of observations.