To be black in America: One family’s story

The Dallas Morning News today provides an intimate glimpse of a Texas family.

Dad is a partner in a law firm. Mom is a pastor. Both have college degrees. They’re raising three sons in a “safe” Dallas neighborhood. They’re living the dream and doing, as Frances Cudjoe Waters — the mother — everything America says they should do.

And yet, they suffer from racism in the country that refuses to acknowledge a basic truth: No matter their credentials or accomplishments, they’re still black.

A hotel employee ignored their family at the front desk, only to help a white customer in line behind them. Was he racist, or did he just overlook them? A white guy at the airport rolled over Frances’ foot with his suitcase and refused to apologize. Was he racist, or simply rude? Kids at school joked that their son and other black students looked like a gang. When will it end?

The Morning News notes that the daily examples of racism — far, far away from the headlines that send people to their corners in a great divide — is one that white America can’t acknowledge.

James usually wears quality suits because he thinks that’s how a professional should dress, but also because a part of him understands that he is perceived differently because of his race. On more than one occasion, he says, he has gone out to lunch with clients and been mistaken for a waiter. Another time, when he was hosting an event at the museum, he was mistaken for the security guard.

“You shouldn’t have to have credentials to not be treated this way,” Frances says.

It’s a sensitive look into the life of one family, and well worth a read.