Fight, Flight or Freeze. My First Real Experience with Racism.

Hi Everyone!

So… I’ve been on a little hiatus. Work has been stressing me to the core, so I have been exhausted mentally. However, blogging gives me such a great feeling, so it’s my go-to when I need a pick-me-up.

I hope that you all have been doing well!

I wanted to share my weekend experience with you all. I try my best to limit my posts on topics of race or racism, so I’ll be brief.

Being the traveling pants that I am, I decided to spend some one on one time with the kids this weekend to give my husband a break. Where do I decide? The beach!

(I love Florida)

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So I packed up the car, loaded my cooler with snacks and almost 4 hours later, we made it to Florida safely!

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Fun Times!

The look on their faces was priceless! Pure excitement every time we travel.

The goal of this particular trip was to get in-tuned with my children and spend time with them without any distractions.

As a parent, you’ll be surprised at how much you miss out on when you are busy or distracted. This mini-trip gave me some great insight on balancing my time and attention as a parent.

Our two days consisted of our favorite stop at Pineapple Willy’s, fun at the pool, the pier, the Italian ice stand, pizza, shopping and the lovely beach! I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend.

Ok, here’s the touchy subject. Racism.

Microagression vs. Racism

Microaggression:

A statement, action, or incident regarded as an instance of indirect, subtle, or unintentional discrimination against members of a marginalized group such as a racial or ethnic minority.

Now I have experienced many microaggressions in my adult years.

Experiences:

Comments about my natural hair “What are you doing with your hair today? It looks messy.” (Workplace)

“You’re well spoken than most black people who I know.” (Ex-Friend)

“You’re so pretty to be a black girl!” (Yes, someone actually told me this to my face!)

“Do your kids have the same father? I just don’t see that often.” (Old co-worker)

I could go on…

Racism:

Prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

As we departed on Sunday, our lovely weekend was interrupted by a moment that I never thought that I would experience to my face.

On our way home, I decided to stop and get gas. When I approached the gas station, there was a car parked (white male with his family) between the two pumps blocking the back pump. I then passed the car in hopes of finding another vacant pump.

Well, upon passing the vehicle, I stopped my car to let another truck pass (the gas station was small with limited space). At that moment of me letting the truck pass, the guy has finished pumping his gas and was ready to take off. The truck was trying his best to pull through the tight space without causing an accident (it was obvious to everyone, including the guy behind me blocking the pump). So patience was key in this situation.

Impatiently in a rage, he honks the horn several times and yells at me, “Move Nigger!” Then continued to honk the horn some more.

What do I do? Nothing.

My mind was in shock (I was called a Nigger in front of my children) for something that was out of my control. I literally could not move my car until the truck got by.

My body felt a flush of rage, frustration, hurt and anger. I wanted so bad to react but I just couldn’t. My body and mind just froze.

When the truck finally passed, I could barely focus or drive because my hands were shaky. When I finally moved up enough to let this guy pass, his wife was yelling something (focus is still off and the reaction is still frozen) and his children were just staring at me in the back seat as they passed.

I immediately left the gas station (flee) because I was overwhelmed by the situation. From the backseat of my car, my children began to ask questions.

My 4-year-old: Mommy, why was that car honking the horn so much?

My 11-year-old: Mommy, why did he say that? Wasn’t that racist? Why didn’t you say anything?

After several minutes of the “freeze” reaction, I cried silently to myself and called my husband. I just could not believe that I experienced a situation like that in real-time. After talking it over with my husband, I realized my reaction was most appropriate in this situation.

After I got myself together mentally and emotionally, I had to answer the questions that my children asked (age appropriately). I could tell that my daughter was still puzzled and didn’t quite understand but she eventually left it alone.

What if I reacted (fight)? What would you have done if you were me? How would you have addressed this with your children?

My response later was to pray for them.

My intent with this post is not to offend anyone, but to share my own personal experience. Thanks for understanding.

Sincerely,

Dominique

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”-Nelson Mandela