I was reading some posts online encouraging families to talk to their kids about racism… And I don’t think I’m going to, at least not yet.
Now, I’ve been wrong before, but just hear me out.
I wonder sometimes, why the word racism can’t be banished from our vocabulary altogether. What I mean is, my friends just don’t seem to talk about it like the older folks used to. And not all old folks are that way either.
My granny taught me growing up, by example, that you were to give as God had blessed you to anyone in need, not based on what they looked like or what part of town they lived in. I remember hearing a story at her funeral about a black family in her neighborhood that had a death in their family. Culturally, they typically mourn
and visit a little differently or at least longer than we would. Apparently they did not have enough room, or the heat or something wasn’t working right, and my granny opened up her doors to them and her house became theirs. She wasn’t looking at color, she was meeting a need. My granny was born in 1918, so maybe she was a rarity back in those days, but I’m thankful to have been in this family!
I try so hard to teach my little guy to love & respect people. All people. And we don’t talk to, or act differently to our black friends than we do our white friends or our tan friends, or our Indian friends or our Persian friends, or our Russian friends, or our African friends, or our Chinese friends, or our Japanese friends, or our Iranian friends, or our Latino friends, or our Italian friends, or our Arab friends, or our redneck friends, or our country club friends, or our young friends or our old friends or our rich friends or our poor friends or our Christian friends or our non-Christian friends,…
I would be ok with him not even knowing what the word “racism” means.
While I fully understand acknowledging historical events & men and women who literally re-wrote history and made our country the tapestry it is today, I sometimes wonder if an over-emphasis on discussing racism, doesn’t have the opposite affect. Its as if it divides us all the more rather than uniting.
When the floods hit Nashville in May 2010, my mom and I were trying to get home and the roads were literally washing out in front of our eyes. There was nowhere to go, and nowhere to take shelter when the tornado sirens were blasting and Lisa Patton from channel 2 was on the radio telling us to all take cover.
We were stuck and scared.
I jumped out of the car, water past my knees, literally sucked the shoes off my feet. I ran to a community clubhouse (locked) while mom ran to the first house she saw and began beating on the door.
Two high school teenagers let us in their house to seek cover. We were so grateful and thanked God for providing this refuge for us.
They brought us towels, even offered us a drink. (Which ended up being Dr. Pepper, but honestly in that moment, soaking wet, no shoes, dripping in their foyer, knowing how close we’d come to being swept away and knowing the journey that still lie ahead of us as the rain continued to pour, I could’ve used something a little stronger.)
We looked around and there were several Buddhas and statues on the shelves & every tables.
I am so very glad they didn’t look out their window and see two white Christians and decide not to open their door. Instead, they saw two people in danger, needing shelter and they opened their door.
Granted, in this day opening your doors to strangers can be dangerous, just as entering in to a strange person’s home can be, and we wouldn’t have done it except for the dire circumstances we were in.
But I wonder how many of us walk or drive by someone every day who feels like their world is “flooding” and they are about to drown in worry, fear, regret, addiction, shame, bills, or perhaps just feeling like nobody really loves them. We see them, but we never open our doors to do anything practical to reach out to them, even something as simple as a place to rest a few minutes from the storm.
Sometimes that place to rest could be a 5 minute conversation, or even an hour long cup of coffee where, if for only an hour, they don’t feel completely alone as the sirens are blasting.
So as we honor Dr. King tomorrow, I think he would probably agree that though our intentions may be pure, he’d rather us all continue to love each other as human beings instead of focusing on anything that could be further divisive. How much more of a tribute would it be, rather than to march, to reach out & feed a starving man, or clothe a freezing child, or as so many of our friends have done, adopt a child who may otherwise never know the meaning of “belonging.”
Maybe that’s just my opinion, but it’s my blog and I wanted to express it. 🙂 I hope my son never has to be “talked to” about racism, other than in the context of it was something horrible that once existed.
‘We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal.‘ Let’s really treat each other that way. Or, what if you treated everyone like they were a priceless treasure, of great value…
That would turn just about bad statistic around.
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