My Four Americas

I am privileged enough to be able to go about my day without being targeted for suspicion, violence, or racism … as long as I go alone.

When I take my kids, it’s a different story. People are racist.

When I’m with my husband and kids people are more racist.

When I am with just my husband they are the most racist.

Because of my personal experiences, I can tell you first hand that treatment by police is different. Medical treatment is doled out differently. Random strangers act differently. Salespeople, mechanics, service providers behave differently.

In fact, there are many times, when we want good service that my husband will ask me to go alone.

I’ve fought it- because it is wrong, because it is infuriating, because we should get the same quality service and pleasant attitude no matter what but, almost without fail, when I have insisted that “such and such a place” is really nice and friendly because of my solo experiences there- we go together and treatment, attitude & behavior changes negatively. This happens not in one particular town, one particular county, or one particular state – it has happened everywhere we have gone together.

So, when I see people posting “All Lives Matter” or “Blue Lives Matter”, racially-biased reporting, or reports of black people committing crimes as if to justify the murder of George Floyd – I get angry and though I scroll by racist posts all the time rather than engage I feel it tearing a piece of my soul away each time.

To be clear- I am pro-life – all life. In order for “All Lives” to matter – Black Lives need to matter. I am not anti-cop- but cops are not born blue- they can shed their blueness by changing clothes or cars- if they are white- their lives already matter – if they are black – well – you read the news- I’m sure you’ve seen how often off-duty black officers, judges, government officials have been harassed and even killed by police.

Like all moms, I worry about my kids, but there is an extra layer there. Like all wives, I worry about my husband, but there is an added component. And, unless you or someone you love has been stopped, harassed, hurt, or even killed because of their race – you can not fathom the extra pain and stress racism causes in the daily lives of black people in America. You have no concept of the daily indignities that are many times suffered in silence because they are suffered at the hands of a boss, a teacher, a cop, or some random person, because the cost of speaking out may be a lost job when you need to provide for a family, a bad grade or ill-treatment, an argument resulting in someone weaponizing their whiteness in the hopes that you will suffer at the hands of police, or death.

This is not a new problem. It is the festering sore of a country built on dehumanizing people to exploit their bodies. The system isn’t broken, it was built with inequality written into the very fabric.
So, I ask you to examine your intentions as you post – really examine them. What are you really trying to say? What is at the heart of what you are saying? What, if any, is the bias? What do I want people to take away from this interaction and is that actually what will happen?

God help us.

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