I was driving to a friend’s house for a working/hang-out session, and saw a billboard congratulating Jeff Sessions for being selected as US Attorney General. I looked at his image on the billboard and realized something about him just didn’t sit right with me. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I knew there was just something I didn’t like about the man. I sat there at the red light, staring at the smiling face of this man that I didn’t know from Adam, my stomach doing flips, then, someone blew their horn behind me to let me know that the light was green, and like the little light bulbs that appear over heads of cartoon characters, I had a “Eureka” moment. It… was… his… ears!
It. Was. His. Ears!
Have you ever seen Jeff Sessions? Have you noticed that his ears are about an inch of gristle away from the Ross Perot gene pool? I mean, those boogers are big! Like, Bugs Bunny, Dumbo, Do-Your-Ears-Hang-Low-big.
On the rest of my drive to my girlfriend’s house, I thought about his ears and why I found them so offensive. I came to the conclusion that, every white person who has crossed me, disrespected me, or meant no good, had humongous ears. Then, the writer in me wanted to know why. Why were the floppy-eared Caucasians the ones who did all the damage? Was it because they were tuned in to a frequency that didn’t pick up the good side of their conscience? Or, do they have more space for everything that they should have learned to go in one ear and out the other? Did their common-sense seep out at a faster rate than the rest of the world’s? Were they made deaf by the intake of music through their headphones as teens at a high amount than their counterparts?
No, no, no and no.
I don’t know Jeff Sessions personally. I just know that I haven’t heard anything good about him. I know that he was appointed by a man I consider and imbecile, and I know that the majority of my peers don’t care for him. And that is the reason that I had an issue with Mr. Sessions.
I had to do some soul searching and think about where that stereotype came from. Then I remembered. My brother has a son with a white woman. She’s mean as a damn snake. I mean slash-your-tires, get-your-power-turned-off, call the police and send them to your job because you broke up with her vicious. Sounds like something a hood ass black woman is “supposed to do,” right?
Negative. She’s a white girl.
One day, she was at my mom’s house, and was going off. She had this sandy brown hair that she always let hang. Well, this particular day, she was popping off and pulled her hair up, ready to fight. The first thing I noticed, before we prepared to bless her with the hands our family is known for, was that she had these big ass ears. Like, “Alfalfa wiggle them at you” big, unattached lobes that were red as beets, just like her face. They looked like they were screwed on after birth because there’s no way she made it out of the birth canal with those things attached. I’m talking Mr. Potato Head ginormous. That was all it took.
I was in my early teens when this happened. My prejudice just grew from that point forward. If a white person cut me off, I’d say some shit like, “I bet they got big ass ears.” I’m laughing thinking about how ludicrous it is now, but, in my mind, that’s the connection that was made. Fucked up white people equaled big ears. So, George W., Bill Clinton, Donald Trump didn’t stand a chance. Seriously, Obama’s saving grace was his melanin.
Then, I had to be real with myself… there are little-eared people who are evil as shit, as there are black big-eared people who have wronged me in life. So, my prejudice should be more evenly distributed, don’t you agree?
I’ll do you one better, we’re banning terrorists, why didn’t we start with murderer cops? Because the terrorists I’m concerned with look nothing like Arabs and others of the Islamic faith. They wear trench coats and badges.
Ain’t no Muslim ever killed my people… ain’t no Muslim ever called me nigger. *in my Muhammad Ali voice*
As a matter of fact, I have a proposal: Until we figure out what’s going on with this big eared connection to bullshit, I say we build a few concentration camps with glass ceilings so they can’t catch a gust and fly off. Trump can be the first in line. I mean, since we can just ban an entire group of people based on one commonality. It’s only “fair.” And we have to protect our citizens from the people trying to do them harm… so, where them camps being built, bruh?
I want you to take a moment and think about how silly my assumptions sound.
This, my friends, is how stereotypes are created. How hatred is bred. And how stupid it is to carry these assumptions around with you.
Propaganda begins with the eyes, then travels to the ears. Judgments begin with the eyes and travel to the other senses. Prejudices begin with the eyes and travel to the ears. You see the image, then you hear someone you trust, be it a family member, friend, news anchor you rely on to “bring the hard-hitting truths,” radio personality, pastor, coworker, etc. say something bad about the person, and it sticks. That simple. Hell, nowadays, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and SnapChat will have you wanting to hurt a complete stranger, changing your religion, hairstyle, or trying to get pregnant with twins. (I’m sorry, I had to.)
We are now in the age that was predicted in Fahrenheit 451, 1984, and other popular dystopian novels. Big Brother has us by the brains, and he’s doing it with little to no effort. Our eyes and ears are open for someone else to tell us what to think, and once the thought has been planted, even if it’s disproven later, it’s already cuddled up in the arms of our cognitive dissonance and made itself right at home. Think of it as a misprint in the newspaper. An incorrect headline. The headline is in all caps across the page. But, when they correct it, the correction will be in itty-bitty print on the back page, up under the ad for toilet tissue. They don’t really give a shit about admitting when they’re wrong, but can you blame them? How many of us can say that we’re willing to yell “I’m sorry” as loudly as we were willing to yell at the person we did wrong, initially?
It’s not our nature to be hateful towards one another. Children don’t see or care about color unless they’re taught to. So, why are we teaching them to? Eeveryone is going to be mixed with something a few decades from now, then what will we use to determine the hierarchy? I don’t know if I want to be around to see.
My assumption at the beginning of this post is just as stupid sounding as saying all Hispanics know Spanish and eat tacos, all blacks know how to dance or are good at sports, all whites are racist and have no rhythm, all Asians know karate and are good at math. Or even worse, within our own communities, all single moms are on welfare and food stamps, all dads don’t pay child support or spend time with their children, light skinned is better than dark skinned (or vice versa), all plus sized people are lazy, all skinny women are mean, and I’m not even gonna get on the natural hair vs permed or good hair vs bad hair nonsense.
I had a wake-up call about a year ago.
Phoenix, my open and honest firecracker of a five-year-old, was at school. She and her dad always spoke to this one really nice lady. Cute white woman with red hair and freckles. Like every day. Well, one day, her dad came in and said, “Bae, we were driving home and Phoenix said, ‘Daddy, I’m glad you come pick me up and not mommy, because mommy doesn’t like white people,’ and I didn’t know what to say to that.” A few months later, we were at Wendy’s and I was ordering the food while my daughters looked for a seat. Phoenix said, loudly enough to be heard in Timbuktu, “Dira don’t sit close to those white ladies, because you know, Umi doesn’t like white people.” I finally had to ask my child where in the world she got that from. Turns out, my last job, I was mistreated and came home every day angry. I would go on tangents about “that white motherfucker” or “I can’t stand his/her white ….” My baby was listening. I had to explain to her that I was wrong for saying that and why it’s not okay to dislike a person based on the color of their skin. I told her I don’t hate all white people, some of my best friends are white (yeah, I had to– again.) I could have scarred my child for life, and for what? That prejudice alone could have given her a social handicap. To our children, we are the closest thing to God they know, and our opinions are law. So, we gotsta be mo’ careful with our words.
And, honestly, I owe those people a debt of gratitude. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be the entrepreneur I am today. Losing that job was the best thing that ever happened to me.
So, the next time you see someone and your mind jumps to conclusions, grab that mug by the hem and tell it to sat down somewhere. Give everyone a clean slate. We’ve already got so much stacked against us being human beings, from whatever walk of life we come from. We don’t need to add assumptions to the mix.