Thursday, July 21, 2016
I am writing this for my White friends who deeply believe that racism is dead. I know I have them, and honestly, I'm glad I have them. I welcome people from all walks of life into my life, and I learn from each and every one of them.
So, to my friends who believe that racism is dead, that #BLM is unnecessary and divisive, I plead with you to read this entire post, to give it consideration, and to pray about the truth/non-truth of what I say.
The two pictures shown in this post are the same section of the same glass piece (Good, created several years ago). The experience of Black persons and White persons in our country are as different as these two photos of glass are different. They have some surface similarities, but the characteristics of the image are totally different. One is shiny, multi-colored, and reflective. The other is deeper, the light comes through it instead of reflecting, and shows completely different colors.
Both are true images of the glass panel, but if you are looking at one of them and listening to someone describe the other one, you may think the other person is crazy!
I believe we can say the same thing about racism. Our personal perspective can be so very different from another's personal perspective that they seem crazy to us. Since I am speaking specifically to my White friends who believe racism is dead, I urge you to consider that the experiences of Black people who speak of racism are true, just as your personal experiences of non-racism are true. I have had some unique experiences that have allowed me to function on "both sides of the fence," and I can tell you that I do see the existence of racism today in America.
When I say that I see racism in America today, I include those folks who truly believe that Black people are worth less than White people. They are sick and wrong, and I'm sure most everyone would agree with that. But...
And here's the real difficulty...
But, I mean more than that. I mean that well-meaning police officers who truly want to do the right thing, who are out there protecting us in a dangerous job, who would never say they're out to get Blacks, that those police officers are more likely to react to a Black man with deadly force than to a White man in the exact same situation. That the assumption in our society is that Black men are more dangerous than White men. An assumption held by these good police officers, by the White woman who clutches her purse a little tighter when a Black man gets on the train, by the teachers who think that "those kids" (Kids of color, especially Black kids, especially boys) need a tighter discipline than White kids, by the shop owner who follows the Black children around, but not the White children...
THAT is what I mean by racism, in addition to the creeps who yelled out the N word to my six-year-old daughter as she walked on their sidewalk. Those racist creeps did not hurt my daughter nearly as much as the well-meaning folks who say they're "color-blind" and ignore the institutional racism that she faces every day.
Today, I awoke to a news story that sparked this post. Please, please take the time to read and watch this news story, as it is a reality that my Black friends and family face daily. It may be very different from your reality, but it is a true reality. There is no way to criticize what this Black man did, from everything I have seen and read. Perhaps something will come to light later, but even then... If a White man had been in this situation, he would not have been shot.
I pray that this country can move past this division and work together to create a better society, one in which all men are created equal.