Women, Race and Equality

It’s hot and smoky at the beach. Fires in Napa Wine Country rage on. Those poor people have had to evacuate every fall for the past four years.

I searched for my sunglasses this morning but couldn’t locate them, so I walked the big dog in my hat but no glasses. I wore my N -95 mask to absorb as little smoke as possible. Then I played ball with the little dog and drank my late-morning-fake cup of coffee.

My mom had requested another box of books, so I emptied a shoebox of its American flags in the garage and put seven books inside. Then I headed to the post office where I had to buy a roll of tape. So much for saving money by sending it media mail.

Then it was off to Kelly Moore paint store for a gallon of paint called ice cream to finish the back-hallway closet doors. They are pine, and after a dozen years of fingerprints, it’s time to give them a few  coats of paint.

I did a little yard work, ate a little lunch, and flipped through Facebook. It’s a good way to keep up with my writer friends, to see their latest books so I can say to myself, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

One author-illustrator friend did a book about wild animals having to evacuate the fire zones – very clever. It’s called We Will Live in this Forest Again.  The other friend did a clever spin on the sorry state of our planet and called it Dear Earth, From Your Friends in Room 5.

That’s what it takes to get published these days, something relevant like climate change. My agent said she needed a book on Black Lives Matter. I don’t see how an old white woman (me) is qualified to write that.

The world has come a long way since I was a kid regarding race, but then again, it hasn’t.

When people say, George Floyd was a criminal,“ my response is, “So what? He didn’t deserve to die the way he did.”

When I talk about police brutality against blacks, a white friend says, “But what about black on black crime?” What about it? That’s a different topic, all together.

When my non-white friends advocate for Native American rights, I am in agreement. My aunt was Navajo. I heard her stories of unfair treatment.

When black people talk about racism, I get it. I’ve seen it, but I’ve never lived it.

The closest I ever came to that was when I was being trained for a job, and the boss told me to wipe that smirk off my face.

What?

That was just my face. It’s me, always looking engaged and with a tiny secret. I’ve had so many jobs, I don’t even know where or when that was, but I still remember the guy, unhappy that he had to train a girl. Or maybe he was just looking for trouble.

I’ve never been fired from a job. I’ve quit my fair share, even breaking a year-long teaching contract to go get married and run off to California. The superintendent was mad that I wouldn’t reapply for the high-school Spanish job that I hadn’t gotten the year before. When the new teacher flaked out and didn’t renew her contract, they came running for me. I didn’t even apply, saying my plans had changed.

My new teaching job in California came to me at the same time of my first pregnancy. With an October due date, the principal asked me to not come back until second semester. I said that I wanted to start the school year. He said I’d have to teach PE if I did (at seven and a half months pregnant). Thank God for teacher unions and RBG. They called him out on his shit trick to get me to stay home.

I have been discriminated against, but in a different way. Maybe that’s why Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony were friends. They were both fighting for equality for different reasons, but against the same oppressors.

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