Is Race Holding You Back?

Bo KelleherCulture, Introspection, Uncategorized

In America, in 2018… Success has absolutely NOTHING to do with race. Here’s my perspective, for what it’s worth (or for what it’s not).
 
I came from nothing. I have occasionally risen to the level of momentary big shot, but nothing is a permanent condition.
 
In various stages of life, I have been at low station, especially in my youth. It’s ALWAYS about pulling yourself up from your bootstraps (by God’s grace) and has little to do with external barriers. Most restrictions are self-imposed, or (if externally imposed) self-selected.
I grew up in a poor, mixed-racial (mostly black) neighborhood outside of Denver, Colorado. My dad left permanently when I was 4. My mom was a typist who made a just-getting-by income, and I was often rendered to the care of a few other single moms from the neighborhood (poor and black, mostly).
 
What’s remarkably different between me and my poor, black friends? Not much, practically. We all had similarly bad opportunities. I personally, NEVER felt a shred of white privilege until I was a 20 year-old non-commissioned officer in the Navy and I saw a San Francisco PD officer treat a black man differently than he treated me when there was a fight outside a bar on Mission Street (I was not involved but suspected by proximity). Was it because I was white? Or because I was a serviceman (I wasn’t in uniform)? I don’t know.
 
But, before then… I never sensed a difference in the way I was handled from my fellow man. In fact… in 8th grade, deep in the heart of Texas (clap 4x)… I wrote an essay for Black History Month that recounted my experience as an integrated white kid in a predominantly Black community and culture. I won a writing contest and brought prize money to my all-white, West Texas school, where I was ridiculed for being a Negro-sympathizer.
 
Of course I sympathized. I lived the same poor, fatherless, hard life my friends did. But to say so in certain circles was perceived to bring shame on the white race (much of it, wholly undeserved). No white person I knew ever forced a black father to abandon his kids, no more than any black person I knew forced my white/native-american father to abandon me.
 
When it comes to overcoming your difficulties… making race a crutch is foolish. Any other differences aside, Freeman gets this DEAD ON RIGHT. Good on him for his stance.