Elvis A Navarro BLS 245 September 23, 2008 My Personal experiences with Racism Racism has always been a big topic in society, even during Jesus Christ time. I believe racism comes from independent thinking and views and how this view from family, friends and society forms us each day. Racism has to do a lot with social status, money, power, looks, sex and much more. Coming from a third world country I can really see the major differences of racism how they vary by culture and education. My experience in the United States as a young boy has formed my racism definition and view of society in general. One of the biggest influences in my life is my father name Evaristo Navarro in terms of racism, he came from an era where marrying a darker skin person was not aloud, not discussed nor appreciated. I came to the United States of America January 1996. I realized that life was much quicker than in my country the Dominican Republic. There were all sorts of people with different cultural backgrounds. When I started to explore other cities and states I realized that racism was much more apparent then it was in the city of New York, and in my heritage culture the Dominican Republic. As a little kid I began to see how different this country was to the Dominican Republic racially and economically. I was amazed at the different cultures and backgrounds people came from. In the Dominican Republic there were people of all colors but people didn’t talk about racial issues. Light colored people in the Dominican Republic would talk bad about a person who was darker than them. When I was a teenager my mother Maria use to tell me and my little brother Eddie that we were suppose to marry blonde girls with blue eyes just for the plain reason that she wanted us to have cute kids with light skin color, this I found very disturbing. Maria as well wanted us to come out with blonde hair and blue eyes. I laughed and told her how such a thing can be possible when my father was of black complexion and had brown eyes. I told her where in the world could she think that such a thing could happen and it just shocked me that my own mother would think in such a way. I do not blame her for being so ignorant but the centuries of racism have remained in Dominican Republic and mostly the United states. Another shocking thing to me was that my father considered the lighter skin girls more fair to marry and to have kids with than any other type of girl. I am just glad that I studied Dominican culture and learned that the Dominican Republic is 90 percent mulatto which means a mixture of Spanish and Black. Even though there is such ignorance in the Dominican Republic when I came to this country I saw a bigger worse perspective of racism that it was even more shocking and disturbing to me. As I grew up in the rough streets of the Bronx I realized how every body of different culture fought one against the other. I saw how gangs of different ethnic groups formed and fought with a hate that one can only imagine. I experienced how Dominicans fought against African Americans and Puerto Ricans. How African Americans hated white people with a passion and would often rob and beat them up. I saw how white kids would run trying to get away from the incredible beat downs they would receive from Puerto Ricans and African Americans. When I was 12 years old I played baseball in little league on Washington heights uptown Manhattan. I had this Cuban friend who was light skin he looked like he was a Spaniard and he also played baseball with us and I remember how gangs of Dominicans would come and harass him and try to rob him I was embarrassed because I was Dominican too and my own people were doing this. While attending high school I saw how a white teacher would cross the street to the other side walk when he saw a group of African American kids walking by. Before I went into the United States Marine Corp. I was hanging with some of the other recruits. One recruit of Italian-Irish descent carried a hunter’s knife because the Puerto Ricans would always try to mess with him. The guy uncle was a war veteran and he was constantly harassed by the young Puerto Rican kids in the neighborhood until they saw he was crazy and did not care if he had to take one of them out. I had another Italian-Irish friend and he told me in his block they would try to mess with him and some people would call him racial slurs while growing up in the Fordham section of the Bronx and he had to earn his respect. I worked as a paper boy and every time I was distributing paper there would be some Black folks and some young guys and the young guys would look at me and say look at that f…. white boy. I felt insulted because I am not white and I felt sorry for those kids because that was really ignorant of them to just talk about someone they do not even know, don’t know my background nor culture. I thought New York City was bad when it came to racism until I moved to Cleveland Ohio. One day I was walking to my job in down town Cleveland when 5 hill billies across the street were kicking garbage cans and when they saw me they were like hey look at that spic and I just stare right at them waiting because I thought they were going to head my way but I thank god that they kept going another way. Another time I was walking on the Eastside of Cleveland and two kids saw me and they were pointing at me saying hey look that’s a spic. I looked at them and I was shocked how can 2 little kids the ages of about 11 and 12 talk with such racist remarks. I was just shocked at how even little kids were so ignorant out there. Another time my ex girl friends niece was married to an African American guy and he was telling his kids and my girlfriends kids that they should speak English only not Spanish and I and my girl friend and some of the people there felt insulted because to speak Spanish is a big part of Dominican culture. One day I was working at my job as a security guard for a prestigious catholic school in Cleveland. There was this guy who was a hillbilly from west Virginia and he would always come to me talking about those N’s get on my nerves I don’t like them. He would speak with such hatred and animosity and I would tell him look they are my friends and I don’t appreciate how you talk about them. Also there was another guy who was white that worked at the school and we were talking one time and I told him Chinese food was my favorite food. The guy went crazy he began to say how you can like those gooks cooking, those chinks I hate them. I was astonished at how this guy’s incredible ignorance and I told him they built the American railroads and are a great culture and their cooking is great and he was still disgusted and kept saying racial slurs. His boss who was a good friend of mine told him if he did not shut up he was going to get him fired and since that day he stopped talking those racial slurs about Chinese people. Like in New York City the Puerto Ricans in Cleveland would fight with the Dominicans and blacks all the time. One time I was standing in a line in the super market and this incredibly racist Puerto Rican lady was like those Dominican monkeys who do they think they are and that just boiled my blood I wanted to turn around and insult her. Another time I was working in downtown Cleveland in the residence inn hotel and my supervisor was this ex marine guy who was like 60 years old. He and his Irish partner hated African American people he would always say them N’s they keep messing with me I am going to bring my gun and kill them all. I could not believe what my ears heard I was just in disbelief how can people be so ignorant I thought to myself. Another time we were going to move to another house and the next day when my girl friend’s brother went to check the house they burned the kitchen and left a note saying we don’t want no spics or N’s in this neighborhood we were shocked. I have never in my life seen so much racism than what I saw in Cleveland Ohio. Now I understand why Steve Harvey said he had such a rough time in that city. I would have to say from my experience that Cleveland Ohio is or is one of the most racist places in the United States. I lived with my cousin in Illinois who lives an hour and a half away from Chicago. While I was living there my cousin took me to Chicago to show me around. My cousin took me to a place name Cicero in Chicago where he had a friend. I looked around and I saw these Mexicans American dudes with their head shaven and one of them stopped and stayed staring at me and I stared at him back I felt a little uncomfortable then he left. Later on that day after we came out of church these Puerto Rican kids told us that I was lucky that if I would have had my cap a certain way I would have been shot. When we went to the kid’s house with his family this African American man told us his car had a bullet hole in the trunk cause gang members thought his was in a gang because of the vehicles color. Another time my cousin had ordered Direct TV and some white hillbilly individuals have gone to set up the dish. The individuals gave me and my cousin weird stairs and specially my cousin because he was darker and later on that night they broke a window in his trailer and smashed his dish. I couldn’t believe it but just like in Cleveland the racism was obvious. My cousin had married an Irish girl and when they broke up she was like my kid is not going to speak Spanish that made my cousin very angry. My cousin had married a Panamanian lady before he married the Irish lady. She left my cousin and married a Black guy and my cousin respected her decision. My cousin had 2 daughters with her and the guy started messing with my cousin saying racial slurs and punching my cousin in the face and in front of him saying that those were not his daughters. I was insulted when I saw that how some one can be so ignorant and say that he is the father of 2 girls that do not belong to him and then to disrespect my cousin with his racial slurs. I was glad that I was there cause when the guy saw me he stopped messing with my cousin. There was this other time where I was living with my brother in Baltimore Maryland. My brother is a cop in the Baltimore police department and he took me on a ride along. He was working at some gay club and I went along with him. While I was standing across the street this black gay guy came along he was like you a cute spic. I just laughed I felt disgusted I crossed the street and went where my brother was at and the gay guy kept looking at me the entire night I was very uncomfortable because of the racial slur and because he kept looking at me I was about to get physical with the guy it was annoying I almost hit him. Also my brother told me that him and his friends were given a hard time by the white police officers of higher ranks and he cried sometimes because he couldn’t take the pressure and the racism and his wife would calm him down and tell him its ok. I felt bad for my little brother that he had to go through such racism from people that were abusing their power and who were messing with some one that was totally innocent and did not deserve to get treated in such a way. First my parent’s ignorance astonished me with their way of thinking such as my mom wanting to have blonde hair blue eyed kids and my father’s saying that you should get with lighter tone girls. Then I am shocked at the racism I experienced in Cleveland Ohio where I was called a spic, where people were called honkeys, spic, niggers, I was just in disbelief at how every body was so ignorant and racist. I believe no other city can top the racism that is seen in Cleveland Ohio. While in Chicago I saw the same cycle as in Cleveland but in a different tone with the Mexican Americans and their gang ways. Finally I was in Baltimore Maryland and I saw how my brother had to face racism every day in the Baltimore Police department. Therefore this goes to show that racism is every where and that people need to be educated on that racism is wrong and that in order to be better human beings they need to realize that what they are doing is wrong. People need to take the time and learn from other peoples’ cultures and learn to get along with them and appreciate that the world has such beautiful different cultures for all to learn and appreciate.