The term, “you people” has haunted me since 1979.
I grew up in Germany. On an Army base. With Army Brats. We did not judge each other based on skin color. I was never defined as, You People, until I came to the U.S.
I was married to an American G.I. A white man. I’m sure you ask, why the hell does that matter? It does. So, we’d been stateside for a short time, living in Connecticut, when we decided to hit a local bar. I still had my military ID which at that time showed race and religion. Children of service members were assigned the religion of the father. In my case: Black. So, we go to this bar and were asked for ID to see if we were old enough to drink. I wasn’t sure what that was about since Germany did not have a drinking age. I showed my ID and the guy at the door says, “we don’t want Your Kind in here. I’m thinking, military dependents? I get all hackled up and tell the guy if it wasn’t for our military men and women he would not have the freedoms he has. He looks at me like I have three heads. I inquire, “what do you mean by, Your Kind? His response was quite matter of fact, “Blacks.” I thought my then husband was going to blow a gasket. He literally turned seven shades of red and I could have sworn steam was coming out of his ears. I convinced him that we should just leave.
My first encounter with being defines as Your Kind was solidly in place. I can’t even count how many times I have heard that phrase over the years. Here is is 2017, 38 years later and I heard those very words just a month ago in Naples, Florida. “We don’t want your kind here.” It’s been a hard fought battle to not get angry or hurt every time that trash is thrown at me. I keep telling myself, ignorance is as ignorance does. I am not a Kind. I am merely a human being lviing through a lifetime with as much grace and dignity as possible to keep me in a place of self-love.