Sunday, May 31, 2020

There is hope!

I don't like politically charged conversations.
I have my thoughts and opinions just like everyone else,
but I don't like conflict,
so I try to keep my political thoughts to myself.
Sometimes unsuccessfully, but I try.
But today I want to talk about a politically charged subject.
Not because it is political,
but because I am confused!
I am heartbroken!
I am even a little scared!

Yesterday, I was called a "white bitch" by a woman in the grocery store.
I was by myself, mask and gloves in place,
pushing my cart down the aisle.
Today, six blocks from my home, peaceful protest is happening.
Peaceful at the moment.
But with evidence of potential escalation.
We are being warned to be prepared to defend ourselves and our home tonight.
Or to leave.
I live in Texas.

Yesterday afternoon, my niece was driving to work.
Her vehicle was attacked and unkind words
were shouted to her through the glass.
She lives in Wyoming.

Last night, the apartment building and neighborhood
where one of my cousin's lives,
was attacked and looted.
Buildings were burned.
Gunshots were fired.
Her apartment building was evacuated to the roof for safety
just in case the looters made it inside the building.
It wasn't safe to leave.
She lives in Chicago.

None of us had anything to do with the deplorable actions
of the Minneapolis police officers who murdered Mr. Floyd.
And yet, we are being held responsible.

I have never considered myself a racist or bigot.
I have dear friends of all colors and creeds.
And many, many acquaintances that span the world.
I have Hispanic nieces and nephews.
Though I look white, I have the blood of an American slave flowing in my veins.

I realize that my experiences are not the same as that of people
who because of their heritage are considered a terrorist threat, or dishonest, or violent.
I don't know the fear of what might happen to me when I am pulled over
by a police officer in a neighborhood where I am out of place.
I don't know the fear of being assumed guilty of more than speeding.
I know that I can't understand completely because I have not walked their path.

Neither have they walked mine.
They may have never been assumed to be a racist
simply because they are a white American.
They may have never been afraid to say to a neighbor
at 3:30 in the morning that their music is too loud
because they may be accused of racism.
They may have never been afraid to discuss current events,
even with close friends,
even friends of the same race and creed,
because they may be viewed as a bigot for not supporting
what they truly believe to be a
"two wrongs don't make a right"situation.
They may never have been concerned
that their home may be looted and destroyed
because of the actions of a racist, evil man more than a thousand miles away.
They may not understand being held responsible
for the deplorable acts of ancestors generations before them,
or for the actions, not of their own ancestors,
but of the ancestors of others of their kind.

What do we have in common?
Sadly, too much!
We are both afraid to turn left instead of right on a walk
because we will cross into a neighborhood where,
experience has shown we will be viewed with suspicion and hatred,
called names and perhaps even attacked.
We both look at the news and feel hated, attacked, violated.
We both wonder why people hate us
simply because of the color of our skin,
the country in which we were born,
or the church we attend,
when all we want to do is live our lives in peaceful, friendly co-existence.
We both know the sting of hateful epithets being flung our direction.
We both feel fear when our law-enforcement loved ones
step out the door on the way to work.

I recognize that there are cultural differences,
have adopted many.
I recognize that my moral compass is different than that of others -
even others of the same race and creed as mine.
Because I am unique.
And so is everyone else.
And I am confused as to why we cannot celebrate and embrace those differences.
Why we cannot learn from one another.
Why we cannot say, "I disagree with you"
in loving, respectful ways.
I don't understand.
I just know that racism and bigotry is wrong
no matter what color or creed it is.

I am an American white woman.
I am proud of my heritage as an American.
I enjoy being a woman.
But I couldn't possibly care any less about being "white".
I am not ashamed of it, I just don't care what color I am.
I don't understand why skin color is such a big deal no matter what color it is.
Why is skin treated differently that hair?
Or eyes?
I love that my eyes are green.
I wish that I had the fabulous skin of a black woman.
I wish that I had the silky, raven hair of a Hispanic woman.
I wish that I had the tiny frame of an Asian woman.
But those are just genetic traits.
They are not who I am!
Why does it matter???
I don't understand.

However, as I was typing this blog,
I found encouragement!
I am sitting on my front porch.
And as I typed, a young man of color whom I don't know
came walking down the sidewalk
talking on his phone about the demonstration a few blocks away.
I swallowed my fear of being viewed as a racist.
I called out to him.
I confirmed that he was coming from the demonstration.
We talked.
We talked about the peacefulness of it.
We talked about the people who wanted to escalate.
We talked about the organizers who said "ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!"
We talked about the demonstrators and the police
walking side-by-side in cooperation with and acceptance of one another.
We talked about the support of the family of Mr. Floyd,
and others like him,
and the support of the majority of police officers
who serve and protect ALL people.
And we grieved the state of our nation at this time.

Maybe there is hope.

Opening his mouth, Peter said:
“I most certainly understand now that 
God is not one to show partiality, 
but in every nation the man who fears Him 
and does what is right is welcome to Him.
~~ Acts 10:35-35

There is neither Jew nor Greek, 
there is neither slave nor free man, 
there is neither male nor female; 
for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
~~ Galatians 3:28

But the one who hates his brother 
is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, 
and does not know where he is going 
because the darkness has blinded his eyes. 
~~ I John 2:11

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