We have trained ourselves to have higher expectations for POC in leadership roles vs. Caucasians in leadership. I fixate on "rags to riches" stories when a famous person is black, but assume that a successful white person just naturally progressed to where they belong. The Black Struggle and heroic victory is sensationalized, and we expect that kind of Hollywood-worthy story from every famous Black person. The bar is set impossibly high. If I were Black, I wouldn't be able to meet my own standards of being "so accomplished for someone who is also Black."
I've buried grandparents who were "charming even though they're a wee bit racist." We as a family wonder what my grandpa would have thought of his grandchildren who are not white. I hope he would have adored them as he did me. I hope they would have felt happy and safe under his roof, on his lap, sneaking nibbles of the snack cakes he freely shared. I LOVED my grandpa and I miss him. He was my hero and my safe place. I'm sad that he passed racist ideas along to my dad, who is just now at the age of 65 becoming more aware that some jokes from his childhood are horrendously offensive. I miss grandpa. It pains me to say that it's probably good for me that he died when I was sixteen because I never felt the responsibility to call him out on racist comments and ideas; I could just be his little girl. I want to be certain that my non-white cousins would have also adored him and that he would have bounced them on his knees, sent more birthday money than was really appropriate, and loved them unconditionally. I miss grandpa but I wouldn't have been able to still have him as my hero if he were still here. My heart hopes that he would have grown and learned.
My other grandpa died just over a year ago. Just weeks prior to his passing, he joked with my nephew about during his days as a medic in the military how "you have to really push harder on a black person" when administering a vaccine.
I've said for a while that "progress is made one funeral at a time." I can't believe this anymore because I hear the same kind of comments I remember from grandpa from people who are younger than me.