I’ve been wondering what to write and how to write it. I’ve been wondering if what I have to say matters.
But silence is not an option. Not for me. I’m a writer. This is the form I use to express myself. So, I must.
I was raised with a mother who taught me at a very early age that all people are equal, never ever use the “n” word and if you hear someone else use it — call them out on it.
I was raised by a mother who marched with Dr. King, who signed petitions, answered phones, and, most important of all, taught her children what racism was — what it looked like and sounded like — and to know that it’s wrong.
It’s wrong. That’s not an opinion. It should never be debated. Racism is WRONG.
If you’re challenging this statement then you should ask yourself why.
My mom taught me well and I’m so grateful for that. I also had the gift of growing up with a black man who I ultimately wrote a movie about. His real name was Herman and he was my best friend and, at times, wore the hat of provider, teacher and father figure.
I knew we were different colors and I loved that. I loved his beautiful brown skin that smelled like soap, seasonings, and acrylic paint. His artwork that hangs in my home still smells of him. I breathe him in and say hello.
I loved his long, black fingers that held my hand when crossing the street or skipping down a sidewalk. I loved that our hair was different, that his friends were different and that his stories were different.
I loved our differences.
I also loved our similarities. We laughed when something was funny, we cried when something was sad, we hurt when we were in pain, we slept when we were tired, we sang when we liked a song, we ate when we were hungry, we bled when we were cut, we sweat when we were hot, we shivered when we were cold. We made sour lips when we bit into the cumquats in our tree, we argued when we disagreed about something, we blushed when we were embarrassed. We hugged tight, and always ended any conversation with, “I love you.”
I’ve had many conversations since the murder of George Floyd. Some more painful than others. Some more infuriating than others. I’ve cried, I’ve raged, I’ve posted my feelings on social media, I’ve donated money, I’ve signed petitions, I’ve prayed, I’ve turned on the news, turned off the news, and I’ve had amazing talks with my daughter.
And there it is. Hope. A whisper, a spec, a crack in the darkness.
It washes over me when I listen to my daughter. When I see her and her friends in action. What an awake group they are! They are activists! They are unafraid! They are educated! They know that racism being wrong is NOT a debate. Not an opinion. Not a point of view. But a fact.
RACISM IS WRONG. And if you don’t get that then you were taught something. Somewhere, at sometime you were given bad, ignorant, unhealthy information.
And I’m sorry for you. But you can change. You can. All it takes is a bit of courage, willingness, and humility to ask for help.
Begin. Begin now.
Take the hand of someone who knows and let them lead the way. Because we need you. We need you.
And then you can take the hand of someone else. Someone who thought like you once did. And so it goes.
And so it goes.
And maybe, just maybe one day we find… we are all holding hands.
A crack in the darkness… a whisper of hope.