what causes change? what causes action? how can we do better? what leads a person to practice empathy and consider a person’s story as truth? how can we listen without immediately becoming defensive? how do we say “ I hear you and stand with you”?
i rarely post my opinion on this because as a white woman i feel unqualified to share my viewpoint. my heart is pure in intention but my silence is oppressing so i cannot sit and support from a quiet place.
i do not have all the answers. i wish i did but as i think of the black community, i know i do not live in their reality. my world is different. i am a white woman. it doesn’t mean i don’t have problems or real life pains in that hold value- doesn’t mean i haven’t seen discrimination myself- but it does mean that my world isn’t shaped by fear because of my skin. my children are not robbed of their innocence earlier in life because i have to teach them how to make it back home to me. you don’t think this is true? ask a mom of color and LISTEN to her.
when i was younger i would say “ i do not see in color” and i meant that with all the best intentions. i wanted to express that i loved all people and didn’t view skin color as a means of value. but now that i am older ( and hopefully a little wiser) i understand that statement is false and so ironically blind. we all see in color. the key is appreciating each other FOR those differences and respecting what makes us all unique. that goes beyond just the pigment of your skin- that means respecting each other regardless of who they worship, who they love or where they are from. it also means acknowledging your own prejudice – because we are all humans and we ALL have them- and working to understand and appreciate someone who isn’t like you. different doesn’t mean dangerous. different means different than you.
let me repeat that, different doesn’t mean dangerous.
it’s uncomfortable, yes. it’s hard conversations and hard reflections. it can be heartbreaking to awaken to your own blindness. i believe most people are good at the heart but have been conditioned to see the world from only their perspective. empathy is the antidote( from all sides). good news: if your heart is breaking it means you have grown because you recognize your ignorance. that is how we do better.
parker came home from school the other day talking about his brown friend in his class. moment of complete honesty: my first response was” Parker that is not nice to say” and to correct him. complete best intention on my part but i sat on it for a moment and realized parker did not see his friend’s skin color as a negative attribute. he was describing his friend with the same characteristics as he did when he told me his friend was fun, and fast and always gave him a hug when he left for the day. he thinks this kid is super cool. pj was acknowledging their differences but he loved his friend anyways. so i asked him – isn’t it super cool that God made us all different – just like the song- but gave us all a heart to love each other anyways?
Parker: “yes because we are all precious in his sight.”
Me thinking I had a profound convo with Parker. Not five seconds later…
Parker: “ Mom, Huxley pooped. She stinks.”
I saw a quote outside of a church yesterday that said “ legacy means planting the seeds but not sitting under the shade.” i repeated it to myself so many times. it hit me hard because to me it speaks to so many things in life but parenthood especially. when i think of racism, i think of being apart of the legacy that changes the narrative. for me, the biggest place that change occurs is at home with our children. we are the best example for our children, and how we live and love sets the precedent.
here is the hard pill to swallow.. change occurs when we TAKE ACTION. we cannot just talk the talk and hope our children become the catalyst of change. No, we have to take the steps to pave the path for them. we have to stand up for the silenced voices. our silence shows our children that sitting quietly while our hearts scream is how we combat darkness. no more sugarcoating it, that is teaching them to become cowardly towards injustice.
we have to teach them that doing right doesn’t always mean being liked. we have to feel uncomfortable,and be pushed to expand their understandings and our own. white privilege has been inherited, but doesn’t have to be passed down. my fellow white people, I see your heart and your defensiveness. I understand because i have been there. your fear is if you acknowledge your prejudice it somehow makes you a bad person. white privilege doesn’t make you a bad person. it means it is time to understand it exists and decide to do better and BE BETTER for your fellow human beings, and for our children.
change starts with us. the legacy we build can transform the world. we may not be alive to see the beauty that comes from the seeds of our hard work but we can bask and celebrate in the tiny sprouts of acceptance and mutual respect that occur when we try.
so I ask again, what causes change? what causes action? how can we do better? what leads a person to practice empathy and consider a person’s story as truth? how can we listen without immediately becoming defensive? how do we say “ I hear you and stand with you”?
so, i may be unqualified to post my viewpoint. it may be unpopular or received with little applause and i accept that. i just simply want to say- i hear you and i stand with you. please help me to be better and do better because i want my legacy to be one that we all are proud we built together.