Friday, June 5, 2020
I have attempted to write this post for a week and deleted it every time. I think I needed to take time and process my emotions before I could write this. When I first wrote, it was all about how I felt seeing a man murdered in front of my eyes. It was about me and how I watched them carry his dead and lifeless body to their vehicle, but this is NOT about me. This is about all the people of color who are affected by the bigotry and racism that exists in our country. This is not about me. I am a sixty-five year-old white woman. I have no idea what it is like to be any person of color.
Last week I read a Facebook post from my friend Doris. We both enjoy sharing about our gardens and our love of Christmas on FB. She always writes about love and her family and all things good. So, when I read her angry post I was taken aback. Doris, it seemed, had had enough. My mild mannered friend, was standing up against the hate and racism in our country. The recent deaths of black people in America was clearly too much. I applaud her for her words and stand by everything she wrote.
Doris and I graduated from high school together. We were on the Homecoming Court together, and were pleasant to each other when our paths crossed. We were by nature kind to most everyone. Doris is now a retired teacher and I a Psychotherapist. Who knew where our lives would lead back then? I told her recently, that I wish we could have been friends in high school. Doris said she didn't have any white friends back then, but I had no black friends either. That was the way it was in 1963.
Doris wrote her first angry Facebook post recently. She has always posted about her wonderful family, her garden and her great love of all things Christmas. This was so different for her. I knew that I had to connect with Doris. I wanted to let her know that I loved her. I wanted to better understand what she was feeling. I did know that it was a time for listening, not using platitudes or suggestions. I cannot really ever understand. I am not black or brown. My skin color is not the first thing people see. I have no idea what it is like. I am privileged by my color of my skin alone.
I know that we, as white Americans, must educate ourselves. We must support and work to understand. We must find love and fight the hate. We must listen and work, to understand the voices crying to be heard. We must search our souls for any racism and work to eradicate it. It's not going to be easy, and we don't have leadership to guide the way. In fact, it is quite the opposite. When Americans are encouraged to hate and fight and to be racists, some will follow. Change must happen from the top down.
I'm still having trouble writing this. I don't want to say the wrong thing and I want to say the right thing. Nothing I say will change the pain of the three recent murders. For myself, I just want to grow and love and stand up for what is right and moral. What has gone on with people in our country,since its beginning, is deplorable. I'm at a loss for words. I'm sad and angry and worried... but this is not about me.
Be safe and remember that Covid-19 will not last forever. Let's pray that neither will hatred and racism.
Thank you Doris for allowing me to share a small part of your story. I love you.