It’s been a while since I’ve written a post, chalk it up to a mental vacation over the summer. But with a new season comes a renewed vigor to get things going and here we are.
There’s been so many newsworthy events since I’ve last written, so many things that have angered and saddened me. Such hate and intolerance running rampant in the streets and behind electronic screens.
The entire world needs a Snickers.
However, it is the acts of violence against black people that stand out the most to me.
I am a white woman.
My entire life has been lived in some sense of privilege or entitlement, most of it unknowing or subconscious. My friends and I, other white women, have held lengthy discussions about the stroke of luck that let us be born white. And I don’t mean that to sound ignorant, I mean that because those are the facts. That is the reality we live in and our skin color alone has granted us a lifetime of unjust privilege and we did absolutely nothing to deserve it, except be born.
I am a police officer’s daughter.
My entire life has been lived thinking that the men and women who wear the uniform are angels on earth without wings. The thin blue line keeping us from a lawless society. But I’m not a little girl anymore and there are some police officers who aren’t angels. Unfortunately there are some bad police officers in the world, just as there are bad types of all things. Saying that doesn’t mean anything. It doesn’t change anything. Saying that doesn’t give mothers back their sons or children back their fathers. It doesn’t give communities back their sense of trust and security that those officers are there to protect and serve them.
The other day I was in Panera with my nephew. (If you follow me on any social media he’s pretty much all I post, but he’s cute so you love it) He was strapped in his car seat, happy as a clam. I set his carrier down on a bench and a woman came and sat down next to us with her son in her arms. He looked to be a little older than my nephew, no more than a few months apart. After talking with his mother I learned his name is Micah, he’s five months old and as sweet as can be with warm brown eyes and the sweetest giggle. Micah’s mom and I talked together as we waited for our lunches and she shared stories about life with her newborn and we laughed over babies and stared at how precious and sweet they both are. Eventually my food was ready and we exchanged goodbyes and parted ways.
That sweet boy stayed in my head the rest of the day and I couldn’t help but think about what his life will be like in ten or fifteen years like I often do with my own nephew.
And my heart sank.
My heart sank because no matter how many people promise him he will be different and he will be safe from harm, he will encounter racial profiling, he will encounter discrimination, he will encounter bigotry and intolerance and all of those awful things will have nothing to do with him. He will be taught early in life how to live and adapt and protect himself against those things, and he shouldn’t have to.
The systematic oppression of an entire race isn’t something a child should ever learn.
The idea that an eye for an eye will get things done isn’t something a society should learn.
The belief that all cops are bad isn’t something that should be taught.
The notion that all black men are criminals isn’t something that should be handed down from generation to generation.
This entire conversation about race feels like a slippery slope for a white person. You don’t want to offend anyone, but you know that you can no longer sit by and not say anything. We are three dimensional people, we’re allowed to have complex feelings.
I’m allowed to support law enforcement but also acknowledge and support the fact that #blacklivesmatter
The fact that some people are born white and some people are born black shouldn’t be grounds for one being better than the other. The only thing I noticed that day was there were two very cute babies sitting in close vicinity to one another. Each boy captivated by the other tiny human across from them. Each baby boy smiling gooey smiles to the other. Their brains completely immune to the hatred and intolerance that will eventually plague them through their growth in society.
We could all use some more gooey baby smiles, lord knows we need them.