If you think racism doesn’t exist

So many times I’ve seen people say racism is not an issue anymore. So many times I’ve been told I’m living in the past. So many times I’ve been blown off about it because “its 2017 that’s over with.” I’m a young mixed kid who was raised on the south side of Oklahoma City….not a pretty place. My dad died when I was young in a gang related incident, and I have five brothers and sisters with all different dads. I guess you could say I come from a rough family. My grandma took my little brother and I when I was 12. I’m a  junior at a rural public school where everyone on my mom’s side of the family has graduated from. I’m focusing on being a physical therapist after high school and furthering my education in sports medicine.  I’ve been labeled as many things just because of how I grew up. If you think racism doesn’t haunt this world today, then you have yet to open your eyes to one of America’s underlying issues. I’ve talked to people, even family, who have told me racism is no longer an issue, but they haven’t encountered it first hand like I have.

Growing up my grandma didn’t really talk to me much about race. It was never something we really addressed. But I feel like some of the reasoning behind that is because she is white. If I was white like her, would I even know about the troubles that black people face just because of their skin? I feel as if you can never fully grasp the situation of racism unless you have experienced it. You feel almost as if you’re a victim of your own skin color. Racism is not something you can hide from, it occurs every day in the places you should feel the safest, one of those being the school system.

I go to a small school. There’s about three black kids in this whole school, so racism has always been a problem here for me. I was in class freshman year when some of my friends and I were just talking about all sorts of stuff like friends do. In that conversation I said “I’m a free man,” but right when I said it, the class was quiet so the teacher heard it. He said “You better thank Abe Lincoln.“ My blood got hot quickly after he said that. It replayed in my head, and each time it made me even more mad, but also helpless because I can’t even tell another teacher because no matter what, here the teacher is never wrong. Its always been an issue here, like I said, but from a teacher… it was crazy. But there’s nothing you can do about it because even if I went to tell somebody nothing would happen. It never does. It really hits you that you can’t hide from racism. Stuff like this can happen anywhere — even with the people that are supposed to protect you.

I was riding in the car with my friend one day.  We were on the way back from a Thunder game, and she switched lanes in a intersection and was pulled over. The cop came to the window and asked to see her licence and registration and then looked at me and asked to see my ID. I wasn’t even driving so it seemed really weird to me considering I’m the only black person in the car. So I told him “I wasn’t driving?” and he looked at me again with a serious stare and said, “I know.” He walked back to his car, ran our ID, and came back. He said to my friend he was just going to give her a warning. He hands her her ID back, looks at me, throws my ID to the floorboard in front of me, and walks back to his car. My mind went in circles trying to figure out what just happened  When the people you rely on for safety do this, who are you supposed to trust? This really hit me that even though they are the police I still can face racism.

So one day I was coming home from football practice to take my little brother to his friend’s house. I was on the highway almost home and I looked in my mirror to see flashing red and blue lights. I pulled over and got my license and stuff out. My heart was racing and I started to sweat. All I could think about was all the cop related brutality lately. When the highway patrol trooper arrived at my window, I looked over to see sunglasses and a bald head. He asked me to step out of my truck, and I asked why. He told me to get out again, so I got out and he asked me to put my hands on the hood. I placed my hands on the hood, and he started searching my truck.

I hope I don’t get shot, I thought. My chest tightened up almost making it laborious to catch my breath. I took a few deep breaths trying to calm myself.

I looked over to see him dumping everything in my backpack on the ground. My books. My cleats. And most importantly, the necklace my grandma gifted me for Christmas.

I was so confused on what was going on, I asked him why he was searching me. He didn’t say anything back. He finished his search, and ordered me to get back in my truck. I climbed back into the driver’s seat, asked what was going on, and he told me I was speeding and he was going to ticket me for speeding. It was weird because he acted like he didn’t just make me get out and search my truck. I ended up getting a $211 ticket for going three over. I was so angry because of my experiences riding with my grandma and getting pulled over for going 20 over and leaving with just a warning. Those experiences where “normal.” She handed the officer her licence and insurance, the officer ran it, came back and said he will just be giving her a warning. We left.

Why the hell does a young black man get searched and ticket, but his very own white grandma gets a warning?

If you think racism does not exist today, this should open your eyes to not only what I go through, but what thousands of people face everyday. It can change so much just in your everyday routine because it’s something that weighs upon your mind. It is one of the most overlooked problems in the U.S. I hope this has opened your eyes to what it’s like to be racially preyed on. Its sad to see such hate on anyone because of the color of his or her skin color.


12 thoughts on “If you think racism doesn’t exist

  1. Jordan, this is phenomenal work. You have a natural talent for writing as well as an authentic voice. Please continue to write and share your experiences with the world. I’m really looking forward to seeing what you write next.


  2. Wow, I’m not surprised to say I can completely relate. I’m also a mixed person, my mother being black and my dad being white. She had plenty more kids before me with all different men and had a few even after I left. I was raised by my white grandparents in Edmond for awhile, then we moved several times around O.K. before moving to Michigan when I was 8. Through all my early years in Oklahoma I never faced real racism. It actually happened when I was up north. I was bullied by whites for being dark, bullied by blacks for being lighter than them. It was a mess. I, at 17 now, completely agree with your analysis of racism not being dead. I’m super glad you shared your experiences in this, and I hope more people become aware.


  3. This article is so true that it is eerie, but I want you to know that not everyone sees just a black person when they look at you because you are so much more than that. When I see you, I see an awesome writer, a friend, and a good person. This article will open the eyes of not only the people around us but many others, and by you doing this it shows that you are a strong person and this will take you far.


    1. This is so amazing and eye opening. I was honestly not aware that things were still that bad, and it breaks my heart. This article is so raw and powerful and important. You’re an awesome writer with a really great and unique style, and this is going to make an impact and open so many people’s eyes.


  4. Jordan, I’m proud to have known you all these years. I hate that all that has happened to you especially considering that I’m going to be in Law Enforcement. I can’t say that I understand anything that has happened to you, but I can promise you this. I WILL be different than those officers you’ve encountered. What you’ve written, is something that many people need to see. It hurts me to know that these things really do happen. But remember, don’t think that about ALL Law Enforcement people. I know that the bad seems to outweigh the good, but I sincerely promise that not all are bad. Thank you for finally publishing this, Jordan, this is a really great thing that you’ve done.
    -Much Love, from Wayne America!!


  5. This is Jake. That story was really good. I never knew all those things have happened to you. Reading this made me realize what you have gone through and it shocks me how you’ve been treated by racism. But dang man, I did not know you can write that good. You need to really think about having a career in writing. A lot of people need to read this. But I really liked this man. I hope you’re doing good and I can’t wait to see you again at school.


  6. Jordan, I was shocked when I read about how poorly you were treated. No one deserves that. You made excellent points by showing the experiences your grandma has faced versus the way you were treated. It was eye opening. I feel this writing will change the way people think. You are absolutely right when saying that racism isn’t gone. This is an amazing piece, you should write more often.


  7. I am white and grew up in a mostly black neighborhood and experienced discrimination among the kids in grade school and junior high just because I was white, so I can relate. I also had good friends that were black. That being said, I think people fear those who are different than they are. I did not like being discriminated against just because I was white, but it taught me a valuable lesson for later years. When my own kids came along, we brought them up to respect all people and get to know people who are different than you. I am appalled that there is still racism on both sides of the issue in this country today.

    While reading your story, I could picture in my mind what was happening. You are a very talented person and I pray that you will pursue what God would have you do in life. You are a blessing and can pass that blessing on to so many through your writing and through your career, what ever it is that you choose to do.


  8. It took true courage for you to write AND publish this. I’m glad to see you have taken that step to add your voice to the discussions on racism in our country. You’re a talented writer and I look forward to reading more of your works.


  9. I did not know any of this happened to you, and it hurts me because you’re like my best friend/big brother. I am sorry this happened to you, man, and I know its hard to face something like that from a young age. I for real hope you feel better about this situation and get through it. If you need anything, you know how to get a hold of me.


  10. This is really really good. I am very impressed by how much detail you used, and how you let us see it from your point of view.


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