I am finding it hard to write today. The first Sunday of every month is usually when I draw attention to my Wednesday Whims of Poetry Page, but not today. It’s difficult to think past all the inequities present in our world…today.
After everything we know and hate about racism, it’s still headlining the news, and those are only the examples caught on camera. I guess I’ve always seen myself on the outside of this reality. The word, itself, is prickly to say: racism. It’s a word I have never felt comfortable using, and a topic I’ve never felt comfortable discussing.
So, let me start now.
I was raised to see no color and I raised my children to be the same. But what I am realizing today (and appalled it’s taken so long), colorblindness is not enough.
When I started my family…I gave my babies black baby dolls. We stopped to paint the backs of our hands with black and white paint to show that none of us are black or white. We always honored Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Although as my kids grew older, I assumed I had taught them well. They knew our values, so we discussed our beliefs less and less. I thought I had done the right thing. I thought my family understood. I thought my work was done.
But it was never enough.
Here is what I understand today: I never sat my children down and told them exactly what the inequities might look or sound like, I never dug deeper to acknowledge them myself. I didn’t know their was more to do after teaching them racism was wrong.
When my kids were younger, I only told them to love all people. I never taught them to take action. This is the truth I have discovered far too late about myself, understanding that it may be different from what others are feeling. For me, today, I am just a white woman continuing to love all people. Although simply saying so, isn’t enough.
No, I haven’t had to struggle because of the color of my skin. Not ever. Because of that, I know I cannot fully understand the deep-rooted pains of racism. Yes, terms like black lives matter and defund the police sound confusing to hear. They feel uncomfortable…and that is exactly why I need to research these movements to understand their meaning instead of dismissing them. I encourage others to do the same.
I want to do more than see no color. I want to know I’ve done more for the world than just give my babies black baby dolls. I have been too quiet in my corner of loving all people. It’s time for me to show action, to show compassion in our world’s fight against racism. And to do it regardless of anyone’s views.
There are those who don’t believe there is a problem, or that the light is shining on only one group when other groups are also hurting. There is a lot of talk about how to get through this, as if it will get better when things calm down. But whether you believe in the presence of racism or not, the world is not calm; it’s in crisis. So, it doesn’t really matter anymore what your beliefs are, racism is here where it’s always been. Many, including myself, are only just recognizing its grand scale, where we can no longer hide behind stagnant walls of disbelief.
It’s time to listen. It’s time to ask questions. It’s time to change. It’s time to start conversations with the intentions of understanding another’s viewpoint…it’s time to let go of what we thought we knew, and it’s time to learn.
It’s time to be uncomfortable because that’s how growth occurs.
Today, I am awake. Today I am challenging myself to take action. The ground is bulging with poisoned roots and it’s time to dig up and replant. For me, action looks like educating myself on the current realities of the day. As a human, I am researching programs to support. As a teacher, I am increasing the literature in my classroom to show more windows and mirrors into the lives of people of all colors and culture. As a writer, I can spread the stories and truths of a new hope in humanity.
Today, I hope this post finds you and your family well, amidst the isolation of COVID-19, amidst the pain of the horrific injustices in the news, amidst a time of political failure, amidst racism, and amidst the fear that we are all uncomfortable. We can’t change the world if we aren’t healthy and well. So, take care! Yet also, in the midst of all this, I hope we can celebrate the coming together of groups helping others, to share in the prayers for healing, and to rejoice in newborn babies and birthdays. Today I hope we shed the cotyledon from our sprouts of understanding, forced from dormancy – where stronger leaves of love can spread in a determined, action-packed way!
By Celaine Charles, June 7, 2020
Image and Content Credit:
Photos from CC’s iPhone
Categories: Thoughts on writing...
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