After posting Leo’s comment on the June’s, “Life Sure Is Interesting In America!” I received this addendum. I was not surprised by its sudden and unexpected appearance in my mailbox; Leo does not rest until he has exhausted all aspects of a topic that interests him. Frank discussions of the many forms of racism in the United States occupy much of our correspondence.
I just reread your story about the Black chicks at the Y and thought of another thing I should’ve said in my note…. Nothing “profound” or anything, but just that when you mentioned how the Blacks reacted to you differently when they found out that you’re a “Colored girl” I recalled another reason for this, that I’m sure you’re familiar with, that further illustrates why they think of you that way.
There’s probably an implicit recognition of shared hardships, whether any of them would articulate it that way or not. I know hardly any of the difficulties you’ve had over race, and although I do know that you’ve had some with non-Whites, I also know that you’ve had the other sort, too. None of your Y friends may have any specific knowledge, for instance, of the nonsense you experienced on Thanksgiving recently, but every one of them knows exactly how such a thing could happen, due to lifetimes spent in contact and tension with the same people you were confronted with that night. To me, that’s as much of what [the] old girl meant by you being Colored as anything else, namely that you’ve been on the same end of White people’s racial hang-ups as she has, to some degree or another.
Is there really anything in that to correct? That you’ve had similar with non-White Latinos doesn’t necessarily change this either, because the same things has happened among Blacks for decades—it’s called colorism. But now I’ve become preachy and you’ll never want to tell me anything again. 🙂