A Heart to Heart
I love white people. Like, a lot. Like, if there were no white people, I’d have 80% less friends. I have found in my life that white people and people of all other nationalities have been excepting of me and who I am and sometimes more than other black people too much of the time. Most of my own family, still can’t get over the fact that my hair is natural. I’ve just experienced so much more love and acceptance from white people then hate. But, that doesn’t mean I haven’t encountered discrimination. I’ve been experiencing it in varying degrees since I was five years old. So, with all of the talk recently about White People (Especially white males) vs. Everyone else, how do I address the important things of my heart with people I love and make sure that I am not adding to the misunderstanding or hate? I believe in Ephesians chapter 4, verse 15 where it reads: “15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” I believe that there has been a lack of love in many instances and that we need to address the major issues in a way that joins us together. If the discussion we are having is to end the, Them vs.Us war, I worry as to whether or not we are doing that without making the chasm wider? But, because this relationship is important to me, I want to make sure I am communicating my hurts, fears and pain as well as my joy, love and appreciation.
I Love You, But You’ve Got Issues
“It was extremely frustrating because I didn’t feel he saw me. That’s when I started to realize, O.K., you’re going to have to fight to be seen.” – Teyonah Parris (New York Times Article, February 2016)
A few evenings ago some friends and I were talking about a actress who left a production of a play at an Off-Broadway theater. She felt her voice as a Black American had not been heard when a “black perspective” was what was to be portrayed. When a person of color, says that they feel invisible or speaks of the struggles they face, these things are not being said to bring offense, but understanding. You can’t start a conversation and then when you don’t like the answers to your questions or dislike the discussion because you feel uncomfortable subsequently try to get that individual to be quiet. You were just given the opportunity to hear a person you care about express real experiences, pain, sorrow and invisibility and that is an opportunity to seek understanding. Why, after all these years does it continue to feel as though progress is slow and the changes that need to come are so significant? Because, even though attention is being brought to the problem, there is still a lot of push back. Responses like, “Well, just because I said that doesn’t mean I’m a racist.” Or, “I’m tired of having to apologize for being white.” negate progress.
Dear White People,
I’m not asking you to apologize for being white. But maybe feeling that will aid you in understanding why you can not stereotype an entire people group. Maybe this feeling that you have to “apologize for being white” will give you the tiniest glimpse into my life of having to “apologize for being black”. Even though we are not asking you to apologize for your heritage, as we would never do that, we are asking to be listened to. I want to be heard and I’m asking you to see that you were born to a privilege in this world that I was not. A privilege that we are fighting to end because it is not right. There is an unbalance of opportunity in this world that is based on stereotypes and prejudice. I want to collaborate with you, be friends with you, work with you and have meaningful conversations. Change is hard but needed. And maybe you’re a little nervous to be confronted to the point you might have to do some serious soul-searching to find answers to what hinders you from fully embracing understanding. But, we all have ugly stuff deep down. The admission of that ugly in its strange way also has the power to bring us together. Having the ugly and dealing with it is what we are all trying to do. Acknowledging it might even help you to realize that we are all in this together. We are all equal, beautiful, powerful and created in God’s image. The problem is that minorities are still not seen as equally beautiful, powerful, creative and brilliant which is a shame. It’s a shame because we are all of those things and more, just as you are. The world is missing out on our talents because of it’s racism and blindness. The world was never meant to be as unequal as it is. We are supposed to be a Human Race. A united people. We are meant to work together humbly and lovingly. But it seems that even though there are no longer laws separating us, we take it upon ourselves to do the segregating. Let’s both admit we don’t know everything and humble ourselves in love before one another. It’s the only way we are going to change things for good.
To The Revolution!