MLK / BLM
As a middle-aged white woman, on occasions like Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Juneteenth, I think about how little I know about what African American people of color face in America.
I know a little, but not enough. I know enough to know I have absolutely had enough of racism, starting a long time ago.
To give you a taste of my personal life experience, I was lucky enough to have a Black family with teenagers as neighbors two doors down when I was age 5 – 9 years old in a suburb of St. Louis called Florissant, Missouri. They babysat me. They taught me to dance. They convinced me Santa Claus was real when I was starting to doubt. They were amazing and I looked up to them—to me, they were “older” girls and boys and they knew everything. They were wonderful.
We moved away, my father changed careers, got into sales, then became a successful entrepreneur. As his ego grew, his ugly racism came to the surface. For example, my mother was friends with a Black woman at her workplace when my father happened to be there entertaining, and she displayed her affection in front of his business acquaintances. He broke her ribs later for “embarrassing him” like that.
To this day, his racism continues. The n-word is one of his favorites. Naturally, he is a Fox Republican. I continue to reject him for his racism and did so a long time ago. When I had the audacity to state my own opinions, he called me a “red commie bleeding heart n-lover.”
Needless to say, sometimes we must reject toxic parents completely.
At every point, we must reject the outward physical appearance and look directly into one another’s eyes. To truly SEE someone, you must see into their heart and soul, because that soul is the ONLY thing that lasts. Everything else is impermanent here on this planet. Gender, age, ability, size, religion, race, creed, preference, color…all of it is immaterial.
You were born in a body here to overcome physical reality and remember your true spiritual reality. If you live and master this simplest, and simultaneously, hardest, truth, you can create paradise during your limited time here. You will be a true success.
I read the book, Black Like Me, written by John Howard Griffin in the 1960s when I was in high school in the late 1970s. The author, a white man, completely disguised himself and lived as a Black man so that he could experience and write a little about what racism is like in America. I absolutely was altered by it. I suggest everyone read it.
So, this coming Monday is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. I’ve decided to celebrate it for myself as Black Lives Matter Day. I think Martin Luther King, Jr. would approve. #BLM #MLK
I know that as a white woman, I will never understand what it’s like to be born and live as a Black person in the United States. I can only try to understand, and listen and be here, and work for change.