I don’t like to watch the news.
Honestly, most of what I know about current events comes from people posting their outrage and ignorance on social media about situations they don’t even understand nor have an invested interest in. People just want interaction and pageviews.
People use hashtags like #BlackLivesMatter and #AllLivesMatter but they don’t want to share a meal with someone who is different. They cross the street so as to not walk by someone who is different. They grip their purses a little tighter when they see some people.
The real issue is intolerance.
My heart hurts.
Instead of wasting so much time and effort talking about White America and Black America, we should be more concerned about The UNITED States of America.
I’m embarrassed to be an American these days.
I think we understand even more what should mean to be American now that we live in a foreign country.
We watch how the world reacts to the hate spewed by Donald Trump and his supporters. We see the reports of Black kids and men being gunned down in the streets, in front of their families.
Some of my Black friends share articles about how “White People Have No Place in Black Liberation.”
I see their point, but I’m torn.
How can I teach my children a better way than our history?
I grew up in a suburb south of Atlanta. I’m White. Most of our neighbors were White until I reached my teens. By the time I was sixteen, most of our neighbors were black.
The schools I attended had a vast mix of White, Black, Mexican, Latino, Asian, Indian, Pakistani, everything. It was very diverse.
Lunchtime showed segregated tables – Blacks sat together; the Latinos sat together; the Asians sat together…some kids on the fringes of skintones or culture or whatever had nowhere to fit in so they gravitated towards the shade and attitude they blended best with.
One friend of mine had a Black father and a Korean mother. I only saw him at school. We had an art class together one semester.
My father didn’t like me socializing with anyone browner in skintone than I was.
I didn’t have many friends.
My biggest thought about that is if he were so concerned about racial mixing, why didn’t he make sure I lived in some exclusive gated community like some country club Rapunzel?
My parents have moved twice in the last 12 years or so and still complain they have some Black neighbors. My parents still exhibit their prejudice with ignorant comments and labels that I struggle to ignore. It angers me when they say things in front of my kids.
Some of my classmates (both Black and White ones) who had moved down South from up North didn’t understand the racial tension. They said the discrimination ideas were a Southern mentality. They didn’t see color like Southerners had been to trained to do.
My high school had violent gangs – The Rock Boys were a neo-Nazi White gang and there were Asian and Black gangs. I was mostly oblivious to this; I was too busy studying for biology and algebra.
There were also great class differences in my town. Rich and poor and most in-between. I grew up with my family and friends labeling some people “White trash” for various reasons.
Children are a product of their environment.
They believe what their parents tell them, up to a certain point.
I had students who believed they were less than because they had no money and an absent father.
I had students whose families were immigrants and were disadvantaged due to a language barrier. Her parents worked as janitors in the school but had been professionals in their country. Their credentials didn’t transfer over. It saddened me.
I had students who persevered and refused to settle and have become amazing, successful, hard-working, productive adults, despite-all-odds.
I had students who had every advantage – supportive parents, wealth, beauty, you-name-it…and threw it away for sex or drugs.
You might be surprised which students were which races because many of us still have preconceived notions despite trying to be unbiased.
Unfortunately, we’re not so far removed from the hatred of our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. Their memories of segregation, Jim Crow laws, the fight for Civil Rights have tainted too many aspects of our society.
This is where Christians need to lead the way in love.
We need to show the world what love is. Too many Christians look the other way, throughout history, not getting their hands dirty, not helping or offering an opinion.
How are we going to make history?
Remaining silent in the face of injustice is the same as supporting it.
My son played catch with an older boy at the park a few weeks ago. He mentioned it the other day when we were in the car, remembering that he had played with a boy who had darker skin than he does. He didn’t catch the boy’s name and we haven’t seen him since. We remember his kindness. He made my son’s day when he asked him to play catch. I didn’t fear my son playing with a Black boy. He didn’t notice anything other than joy of playing with a new friend.
I don’t think the experience would have been the same in many American cities.
My teen daughter has a Black male friend and they communicate on Facebook because his family PCS’ed. But, he created a secret account to hide his friendship from his mother. Racial tension goes both ways. I don’t fear this friendship.
We can learn from each other’s differences. We need more kindness. We need to be more approachable. We need to make someone’s day.
Our souls are the same color despite humans encompassing a rainbow of skin tones.
Love doesn’t notice skin color. I train my children to see people.
My kids see skin color the same way they notice someone’s hair color or texture, the color of their eyes, or how tall they are.
Attitudes are so different in other parts of the world. Travel and teaching about diversity is important.