This is very personal to me. My husband and daughter are black. My daughter hates herself because of her brown skin. My daughter is everything that is perfect about being African American. Her hair is glorious in its natural state, thick curls crown her beautiful head. Her brown skin is a shade I baked myself as a teen trying to achieve (I never did, I got red and blotchy before I’d peel). She’s stunningly beautiful. And she’s a REALLY good kid. And she only wants to be blonde and light-eyed.
Why? Because of how she is treated. She’s kind, articulate, honest, and has strong opinions. She reads, and she’ll argue a point to exhaustion if you don’t share her opinion. If she were white, she’d be voted most likely to be a CEO of a Fortune 500 company. But, because she’s black she’s told she’s “too much”, should try being “less opinionated” and “less honest” and “less argumentative”. Yes, seriously. She was told by her peers and teacher all of this. My daughter is a LOT like me. I was never, not ever, told any of this. Not by anyone. Not even when I ended up in a principal’s office for telling a physics teacher what I thought of him in very colorful language. Why is that? Because I am white.
For those of you who frequent our Bay Area Farmer’s Markets, you probably know my husband. He’s Tall, dark and handsome. He’s also kind and generous of spirit. He would give anyone the shirt off his back if he thought they needed it more than him. He’s from the South. Arkansas. He is polite to those older than him, he’s kind to animals, he opens doors for strangers and makes our daughter and I walk on the inside of a sidewalk. He has old school manners. But to some, he’s a threat. He walks into a store or a restaurant and people take notice, he’s impressive. But they look past HIM, past his smile, past his kind eyes and go right to he must be dangerous because he’s a big black man.
When my husband goes out with his friends for a beer, like I go out with my friends for a glass of wine, he’s had the police called on him for NOT having a drink in his hand. Again, yes. Seriously. He’s been stopped while walking to his car because he matched the description of someone who had been in a fight. The description? A black male adult. I can get together with my friends and not drink, walk to my car, and never be approached by a police officer. I can get pulled over, be snarky and rude and not be told to exit my vehicle while a hand rests on the butt of a pistol. Neither my daughter nor my husband are granted this freedom. My daughter is being raised in a white world, by a white mother in a mostly white, affluent area. But because her father is black, she is treated differently than those who are being raised exactly the same way, but who show up white.
This is why people of color are fed up. This is what MUST stop. We need to stop assuming because of the color of someone’s skin that are “bad” or “less than” or “more like to” than anyone else. This is what it means to have the advantage of “white privilege”. We as a Nation need to face our prejudice. It’s uncomfortable. It should be. We have systematically oppressed people of color for hundreds of years. We ask them to follow our rules, but then we ourselves don’t hold ourselves accountable to those rules. We tell all our citizens they are created equal, but we don’t treat them as equals. It’s time to start.
We at Frog Hollow Farm stand with ALL people of color. We take a knee beside you. I personally, besides my husband and daughter, hear you, see you, and support each and every one of you who are in this fight.
Black Lives Matter.
- Sarah Coddington, Co-Owner