Over at Ethnically Incorrect Daughter, a post about childhood racism
got me thinking. In this post, the writer talks about an incident where
her daughter was the subject of racist bullying by a classmate, who, as
it turns out was biracial. Not the typical white on brown racism – this
time the perpetrator was brown too.
Maybe it’s because I live in Minnesota, where subtlty is a perverse
pleasure and racism is hidden behind small talk and fake smiles, but
the racism I’ve dealt with by white folks has usually been much more
covert. I’ve always called it "The Eyebrow" kind of racism – where the
face stays blank but you can tell by the person’s eyebrow which is
raised (slightly or obviously). Whatever the thoughts behind the raised
eyebrow, it is an insidious form of racism because it’s harder to deal
with it when it is so hidden. Also, it’s hard to confront when the
person can make it seem as if I’m the one who is misunderstanding.
I got a lot of the “Chinese, Japanese, dirty knees, look at these”
eye pulls as a kid by white classmates, but almost all of the most
blatant racist names or actions I’ve been on the receiving end have
been by African American or Native American adults and kids. When I was
younger (early adulthood) I used to just seethe with anger at how
racist they were and couldn’t fathom how they could sterotype me when
they and their communities had been so horribly discriminated against.