Discussing Race Relations with Our Son Matthew
Your mom and I appreciate having the opportunity in discussing race relations in America. One thing you said that triggered this note that I must clarify. It was in reference to my statement that I got jobs because I was black.
Saying this I don't mean to imply that my positions at universities were any way inferior to whites or other races. I work hard studying at the universities I attended. I earned my degrees like everyone else. I recognized that I was competing with many other brilliant students. Some were more talented than me. Nevertheless I always had a good self esteem. I considered being black a gift, and was happy that I was born in Georgetown, Guyana.
In America I was considered a foreign black. This designation was never derogatory to me. I was always proud of my heritage. You see I came to America at the right time. Barriers were being broken down in the 1960’s with the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War. It was at a crucial time and the place to be, and your mother and I greatly benefited from these changes. Rest assured that we were protected by living mainly in campus communities where students were more liberal.
But your mother and I always thought about our future, and we found our dream in living lives as educators. We also had many good friends that were always willing to support us. So undoubtedly living in the United States was a great blessing. We never did anything stupid since we were an interracial couple. This was so wherever we lived whether it was in Eugene, New York City, Oswego, Milwaukee, Columbia, or Virginia Beach.
In spite of the civil rights unrest that raised its head throughout these 50 years of our marriage we were still able to persevere and live safely. Our only real difficulty was when I suffered from manic depression that nearly cost our marriage. But all in all we have always empathized with the poor and downtrodden. Your mom does a great deal of charitable work that I admire. To this day every month I send hundreds of dollars to help out my family members in Guyana. As I have said that in the time of crises we could only do so much. All of us have to play our part in making this world better. Thanks for all you and Shannon are doing. Keep up your work for greater social change so that all lives in this nation would continue to improve. God bless!
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