I will start this post by admitting to living in a bit of a bubble my entire life. I’m a small town girl from the suburbs with two loving parents and a little brother. The small town I lived in was situated right beside Fort Hood Army base, the largest military installation in the world. While my father got out of the army before I got to Kindergarten, the presence of the military was a strong force in my community. As such, I am accustomed to a multicultural mix of people living and working around me. It is not unusual for soldiers to come home from overseas with Korean or German wives and for biracial children to dominate schools.
I do not believe I am a racist. And yet I can make thoughtless comments, be oblivious, be hurtful without realization or intent. Like when I offered a hairdrier to a black friend. Hey, I thought I was being helpful. Forget color-blind. I can be down-right blind.
I don’t classify people by race. Why? I grew up with parents who were from the deep south. They would whisper things like, “well, he’s black…” as if that would explain something. Those comments made me ill. I grew up in Silicon Valley in the middle of the dot com boom. My early jobs were so multi-cultural that to me the world was a rainbow. I tour guided at a museum that drew international tourists and tried to learn phrases in as many languages as I could.