A different blog post – my thoughts on Charlottesville
I don’t normally comment on politics or current events onmy blog because I believe it needs to be an angst-free zone. There is enough madness going on in the world without me chiming in. That doesn’t mean I don’t have opinions; anyone who knows me knows that I have VERY strong opinions about the world in general. So, this will be my one and only comment on what happened yesterday in Charlottesville.
I am sickened by it. Saddened by it. The racism and hatred going on right now is unacceptable, perpetuated by people who hate for hate’s sake. That’s all it is. Ignorance and hate. These aren’t people trying to ‘defend their race’. These are people hating on anyone who is different from them.
I am white. I fully admit I’ve never experienced racism, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t seen it. It doesn’t mean I haven’t taken a stand against it. It doesn’t mean my family hasn’t taken a stand against it. It’s not something I’ve ever told anyone, but back in 1963, in Mississippi of all places, my father stood up to a white man who was smacking around a black man. I didn’t even find this out until recently, but my mother confirmed it. My dad took a stand back in a time when white folks just didn’t take a stand against other whites, and most assuredly not in Mississippi. But he did – he stopped a black man from being beaten and, by all accounts, threatened the man doing the beating. I have never been prouder of my father than I was when I heard that.
It was this man who set the example for me.
I was born and raised in Pasadena, California, a city that has a large African-American population. My high school was about 60% African-American. I started in the Pasadena Unified School District in the early 1970’s, right when de-segregation was in full swing. I was bussed all over town to attend school. Some of my closest friends were African-American. I still remember my sweet friend in the eighth grade (Lisa Love) who tried to cornrow my pathetic, straight hair. I also had Latino and Asian friends. I looked at their skin color as one would look at eye or hair color – who the hell cares if it was different? We were all friends, all people, all members of the human race. I never looked at a kid and said “he’s different from me. Hate him because of it”. That wasn’t how I was raised, and that’s not how I raised my kids. My kids had best friends that were Latino and Phillipino, and they were all brothers and sisters regardless of skin tone. I had the United Nations in my house on a weekly basis with kids coming and going, and it was paradise. It’s the way we all need to live.
So… for the record, this group perpetuating hate and telling everyone they’re standing up for white people aren’t a group that represents me or anything I stand for. They’re a product of an environment that is ignorant and steeped in hatred. To them, I say this: don’t go around telling people you represent ‘white’ people, because you don’t. You don’t represent the white people I know in the least. You represent evil and bigotry in the darkest sense.
But in that darkness, I would like to think there is hope. Why? Because I hope this group of hate-mongers makes the rest of American stand up and realize that this is not the way we want to live. I don’t believe this represents the heart of most Americans and it doesn’t represent how I want my children to live. Rather than divide America, I hope this incident drives us towards healing ourselves, because if we continue to go backwards like this, there will be a point of no return and no one wants that. I want my kids to grow up in a world where we embrace differences, where we embrace different cultures, and where we respect all colors – white to black, black to white, black to brown, brown to white, etc, etc.
Live by example. Live with love. Embrace each other. Fight the good fight, because in the end, you have to look yourself in the face and ask “am I proud of myself? Did I live a good life? Did I live it with love and not with hatred of my fellow man?” Because I know I can answer affirmative to those questions. And I will continue to do so.
Great post! Material for a great book.
Thank you, Kathryn. Unlike you, I WAS raised to be a racist. My parents, grandparents, and all my relatives believed in white supremacy and segregation. And they practiced what they preached.
They had no friends from other ethnic groups. I never had the chance to make any.
Yet I’m not a racist, and never was. In most respects I did what my elders told me to. And of course, I followed by their examples.
But not when it came to race. I believed firmly in equality and integration. Why? I don’t know. That’s just the way I was.
I dared not speak about it until I was a teen. And even then, I was vilified, shamed, and shunned for it. I was a hated stranger in my own family.
Eventually my father disowned me. This wasn’t the only reason he did it. But it was a significant one.
Did my family succeed in making me miserable? Yes. But did they succeed in changing my views on race? No. They failed miserably.
My only consolation? I had time on my side. I could see things were changing in the world at large. I longed for the day when my side would win.
Nowadays we’re much closer to that promised land. And moving still closer, despite the speed bumps and potholes in the road.
Today’s white supremacists are fighting with the ferocity of a cornered animal. They’re most dangerous when their cause is doomed and they have nothing to lose. But these last stands will still end in defeat.
I’ve waited a lifetime for the new world. It’s coming regardless of what a handful of misguided bigots might do.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I especially love your last full paragraph!
HUGS Well said! 😀