Oscar McBride

I don’t usually weigh in on issues outside of my home because of my upbringing and where I’m from. You see, I’m from the rural, racist south … North Central Florida to be exact, in a little county called Levy … in a little town called Chiefland, better known to me and my cousins as “The Briar Patch.”

For years after leaving for Notre Dame and embarking on an amazing change to the trajectory of my life, I’ve often referred to my hometown to friends and colleagues as “the land that time forgot” -- meaning that what most Americans are viewing through social media footage and mass media outlets, in many cases for the first time, are things that were/are ingrained in the accepted culture I observed as a child. It was nothing to be called “boy” or for school administrators to undermine opportunities for black students.

Manual labor and farm hands were/are common practice … and probably the most vivid memory is that of my grandmother getting picked up early in the morning and dropped off later in the evening after cleaning a wealthy white woman’s home akin to the award-winning movie The Help. She did this for many, many years and I never heard her complain … not even once. Given these few examples, I’ve always felt that maybe my perspective, given my experience as a young black man, might be a little skewed.

Alas, here we are … fear of being vulnerable aside, I need to say some personal things before I begin. I am proud to be a black man. I am proud to be a black dad. I am proud to be a Black American. I am proud to be an American. My dad, Oscar B McBride, Sr., and all my uncles served this country. I am proud to be a Notre Dame alum. I am proud to be a Black Notre Dame alum.

However, I am tired of systemic racism. I am tired of white privilege. I am tired of having to define white privilege for you; we ALL know what it is. I am tired of people saying they understand when they really do not. I am tired of people pretending to not see blatant racism and discrimination. I am tired of you saying to me, “you speak so well” as if I am supposed to be inarticulate and obtuse. I am tired of you telling me about the other “black friends” you have had throughout your life. I am tired of wondering if you’ve spit in my food when I go out to dinner with my family. I am tired of you clutching your purse when I walk by or when I step into an elevator as if I want something from you.

I am just tired; but even more than tired, I am afraid. I am afraid for my children… my daughter and my sons; that maybe their young black lives don’t matter quite as much as your kids’ lives. I am afraid that although educated in America’s finest institutions, my children may fall victim to a fraudulent phone call that ends in tragedy versus truth. I am afraid that if alone they are nothing more than prey if they take a walk or go for a jog. As a black parent every night I am afraid of my phone ringing after 9pm and what news is on the other end of the line. I am afraid that maybe one day I too might, “fit the description” and become yet another tragic statistic. I am afraid when I hear sirens even though I may be at home. I am afraid when I see blue lights in my rear view, knowing they are not meant for me. I am afraid for my wife, who is white, because that’s even worse in the eyes of some. I am afraid for our future society and what it means for the millions of young people watching adults not behave like adults. When does this end?

As I write there are violent protests and riots erupting in cities all around the country. Innocent, kind, hardworking people are being hurt, including our elderly and our children. So, now what? It would be easy for me to point out the obvious and recite every cliché and civil rights idiom that I can think of to, in my mind, create some sense of urgency in terms of facilitating change.

It would be easy for me to blame the president for his continued hate speak and for incessantly fanning the proverbial smoldering, racist fire that burns in America’s underbelly; one tweet away from an abysmal outcome that is capable of irreparable damage and devastation to us all. It would even be easy for me to blame the American forefathers who literally raped, beat and pillaged their way through what we now know to be America, taking sacred land from the Native Americans and Latinos while enslaving Africans; yet people of color are considered thugs and animals. It would really be easy for me to say all white people are devils or racists and succumb to the role of the stereotypical “angry black man” which would prove this shallow point of view anyway.

So, now what? Now, more than ever, Americans needs leadership … plain and simple. Someone with a plan that does not involve posturing or politicizing themselves to further a separate agenda. Someone who genuinely cares about the well-being of society at large and has the charisma and stamina to lead; but more importantly someone we are ALL willing to follow. But what does the need look like until that person arrives? I have an idea.

I have had countless people reach out to me over the course of the last week or so. These people are colleagues, friends, and associates, usually white, who have sent kind thoughts and words of support and encouragement in standing with me during this tumultuous time which is greatly appreciated.

One of the questions that usually comes up in our conversations is, “What can I do?” As I close, a thought for everyone reading this piece to consider ---> What, in my opinion, would be a simple and profound catalyst for change is for those same people to have conversations with those they hang out with, those they vacation with, those they invite to their backyard barbecues, those who sit at their dinner tables, those who belong to the same country clubs, those whose children attend the same schools, those who attend the same churches, those who have girls/guys nights out, those they go ride with, those they go shoot with and all the others in their non-black circles to share their stance with them. Tell them you stand against racism, discrimination, and police brutality; talk about it…don’t ignore it. It cannot be ignored!

THAT’S WHAT YOU CAN DO; DO NOT REMAIN SILENT!

Until we change our hearts and our homes there will be no societal change. Racism is just another word for Hate; Hate has no logic … no reason … and when you have a badge in America it has no consequence.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Oscar B. McBride, II

ND ‘94

Comments (15)
No. 1-9
ndroach77
ndroach77

Wow. i read tons of news and i have never heard these sentiments expressed so well. thank you Oscar.

Jupiter irish
Jupiter irish

I must disagree with most of this left wing BS talking points. Very similar to the lies espoused by the radical-Antifa left. Are there bad Cops - YES there are. In fact, I've encountered some in my student life. My kids as well. Nonetheless, this article is classic "hate and blame" the white man for everything.

MYND75
MYND75

Thank you Oscar.

4LeafCloverGirl
4LeafCloverGirl

Thank you, Oscar, for sharing this with the world. I greatly appreciate you, stand with you, and continue to have conversations with those around me. LK

KMoore-24
KMoore-24

Joe Burrow gets it. He understands that nothing is going to change in this country with race relations until enough white people with power and influence say enough is enough and start changing things and stop ignoring things. That is beginning to happen now.

irish4life2
irish4life2

Oscar, I sincerely hope that the necessary changes are made. Best of luck to you in your future endeavors.

TxIrish
TxIrish

Oscar, thanks for posting this. I appreciate it. I hope that even those who may disagree with you will give your words an honest listen and at least try to understand your perspective. As a white guy, I can choose not to think about race. My fellow American citizens who are black don't have that option.

KevinPS
KevinPS

I was raised in Washington state in a house where racism wouldn't have been tolerated if it were often a topic of discussion, which it wasn't. It was sometimes. I remember being 9 and my mom told me that George Wallace, who was running for President, was a racist and was bad. That was good enough for me--I didn't like George Wallace from then on. I didn't know what a racist was, though. I later became aware that there was "a black neighborhood" in Portland, across the river from where I grew up. And, as I walked through life, I started to hear words and phrases that I didn't like or agree with but I never spoke against them. This is a strange country. When I arrived at ND in the summer of 1987 to start MBA school, I started hearing about "black neighborhoods" in South Bend--South Bend?--and in Benton Harbor. I was stunned. I also started running into Southern guys who were actually intelligent. Where I grew up, the only Southern accents I heard were from ignorant white folks on drama shows--The Heat of the Night (the movie, not the series) stands out, as does Attack on Terror (kind of a forerunner to "Mississippi Burning". I didn't get how people couldn't just get along and live together. I had an AA friend who would periodically burst out laughing at some naive thing I'd say. "Kev, you ARE from the west, man!" I've lived north of Detroit for the last 32 years, so my eyes have been opened a lot about the issue of race. Still, for the longest time, I'd day, in response to Rodney King or whatever incident would come up, "Well, it's getting better." I don't say that anymore. "Better" didn't save Breonna Taylor or Steven Taylor or George Floyd. "Better" isn't the standard and can't be. "Good" is the standard--things have to be "good", not "better". In Royal Oak a few months ago--this is 10 minutes from me--a woman called 911 because there was a "black man who is making me uncomfortable". And why? She was sitting in her car waiting for someone and he was walking near her car--waiting for someone! He didn't say anything, gesture, nothing. And a cop was dispatched who asked him for ID, etc. The cop resigned shortly thereafter this came to light, but, what the hell? "He's making me feel uncomfortable"?
Woodward is the main drag through all of Detroit and many of our suburbs. I've never been pulled over on it. I have black friends who've all been pulled over. They're more cautious drivers than I am--and I understand why--and they've never been cited. I have a friend--she's white--married to a black man. He works for GM. They were pulled over in 1986 in one of the suburbs to the south and the
cops wondered out loud how he could afford such a nice car? They were ordered out of the car and she was told to go sit in the cruiser. Her response was, "Are you crazy?!?!?! I'm not going anywhere!" How can she have to fear for her husband in this country? How can she have to fear for her nephews, still? Why does Oscar have to worry about his sons? About himself? And, Jupiter Irish, I will pray for you because I simply don't know what else to do. And NO ONE has ever called me "left wing". Your ignorance is appalling.
Oscar, I'm sorry for your worries. I understand that they're justified. Hearts are changing, my friend. They are. Help us learn.

cydogg
cydogg

As a brown guy I'm like a liaison between white and black. It's a weird spot.

How do we fix racism? We teach our children to see people as people not as objects of one color or another. So does that take a generation?

Maybe. Let's start now and do what we can.

Cy


Football

FEATURED
COMMUNITY