“I Was Liberal Until I Lived in a Los Angeles Barrio. Now I’m a Race Realist.”

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by Helen Doe, Big League Politics:

I was conceived out of wedlock by two California liberals high on marijuana. They had both grown up during the Civil Rights movement, and were proud of their status as enlightened egalitarians. We lived in a 90 percent white town, but my upbringing was nothing but leftist indoctrination and derision of “racist” Republicans and Southerners.

When I was a teenager, the only black guy in school had a crush on me. I didn’t think in racial terms back then, but was uninterested all the same. When a friend told me he had bought me a piece of jewelry for Christmas, I told her he should take it back. I told my mother about the incident, but didn’t mention the boy’s race. Later on, she found out about that particular detail, and nearly fell over herself gushing about how proud of me she was for not having found that aspect of the situation worth mentioning. She had raised a true egalitarian daughter, and she could not have been more pleased.

My mother substance abuse issues that eventually led to my parent’s divorce. Afterwards, she swore off men forever and took to decorating her house with every piece of African “art” she could find. The walls of our living room were soon filled with ghoulish tribal masks, while her bedroom sported framed posters of dancing African women with oversized backsides. As a child, I bought her African wood carvings and statues for Christmas and Mother’s Day. Mind you, I never saw my mother so much as speak to a black person (there were hardly any in our town), so this aesthetic obsession was entirely abstract, gleaned from television, movies, and a learned sense of self-loathing for being white. Today, I believe that her deep-seated white guilt contributed to her addiction problems.

Until reaching middle age, I was exactly what I had been raised to be: a typical ethnomasochist. I hated “white America,” dated outside of my race, took African dance lessons, voted for Barack Obama, and regularly decried racial injustice on Facebook. My awakening was very much an accident. My husband (white, thank God) owned and rented a little house in what used to be a ghetto but was now a barrio because of mass immigration into Los Angeles. He and I lived in another, white part of town, but we had plans to leave the city for greener pastures, so we decided to move into this house to fix it up and sell it. I was hesitant to leave our beautiful white area to live among the vibrant people I publicly praised on social media, but we really wanted to maximize our profit, so I agreed to move.

The next two years were a Hell punctuated by gunshots that my husband kept trying to tell me were only fireworks. It is hard to know where to even begin in describing it. We were immediately struck by how dirty it was. My husband and I walked the neighborhood every evening for months picking up all the trash lining the streets. Right when we’d get a block looking decent, the trash would start to reaccumulate. We’d pick in up again — hoping to shame our “neighbors” into better behavior — but that never happened. Eventually, we gave up and only kept our little part of the street clean. Even when we stuck to our property, tidying up and landscaping, drug dealers would drive by and gawk at me, leaving no doubt as to what they wanted. During those two years, every package I had delivered to our house magically disappeared — no exceptions. Eventually, I gave up and started having things sent to my in-laws, a 30-minute drive away.

Our immediate next door neighbors were Hispanic, and there were seven of them (including two out-of-wedlock children) living in a 700 square-foot, 2-bedroom, 1-bathroom house. To make more room, they put up a party tent in the backyard and turned it into grandma’s bedroom, though it looked more like a junkyard than anything else. They always left their windows, and we heard a constant stream of profane screaming matches, sometimes in English and sometimes in Spanish.

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