I suppose things would be different for me if I were one of those people who could compartmentalize the thoughts or information that they inhale every day, but I’m not. It just never worked out that way for me, which is why the Trayvon Zimmerman case had such an impact on me.
Who knows why race has never been an issue for me, I don’t know and I certainly don’t care, but I do dream of a day when it won’t be an issue for anyone. I know it sounds far fetched, but I don’t want my kids growing up thinking or believing there is any difference between anybody in the human race, whether they are black, white, red, yellow or even green. Yet I know they will, somehow they will be subjected or infected by hate and bigotry.
I think to myself, I cannot judge others for feeling the way they do, but it doesn’t mean i want to hear it, and it does mean i don’t want to be around them, i call them toxins. Toxic people who are filled with all the hate in the world and have no problem spewing it to anyone who will listen. Then you have your discreet racists, the ones who will be the first to tell you they haven’t a racist bone in their body until you have a black family move into the neighborhood. I dream of different.
I grew up around NY city, so I was exposed to all groups of races, spanish, mexican, african americans, you name it, but I think just by my work experience, I became most familiar with African Americans. It was never awkward, or never felt uneasy, we helped each other out if someone forgot lunch money, took the path together, used the same umbrella when it was raining and sometimes I would even frequent their church. I got along well with them, I learned so much about their culture during those working years, things i never knew like their obedience to their religion. I was amazed at the way they took church so seriously and it rubbed off on me even though I was Catholic and wasn’t too crazy about the doctrine.
I loved the way they bonded with family and noticed how they loved to laugh right from their bellies, and they sure got a kick out of me cause I was such a hot head in my youth. It amazed me how they would just accept certain things in a peaceful manner when I on the other hand wanted heads to roll. They liked that, I remember one instance, we were working in a union job. I had seniority and we, me, Marcia, and Sophie, both African Americans were all getting bumped. I was on fire, furious I had put in so much time and effort, but they took it in stride. The final straw came when our supervisor wanted me to write a job description for our jobs, and I did. It took me a full month and I gave her the nod every day it was being completed.
The day she set up the meeting for the transition, she asked me to get the notebooks for the job description for the new girls, when I told her I deleted the file by accident. There was a dead silence in the room and I looked over at Marcia who looked stunned but could not restrain herself from bursting into heavy laughter, Sophia tried to hold it in but before long the two of them were pounding their hands on the table laughing. I was embarrased even though I did it, I looked foolish, but they loved that moment. And they talked about it for years, all through our work experience.
Marcia taught me how to sing “This Little Light Of Mine” and every Monday, I would ask her out of curiousity what the preacher’s sermon was about. I suppose I was borrowing her God because at that age I hadn’t one of my own, I simply had nothing in that department but a good heart. She would show me pictures of her family and we grew extremely close.
I would say she was my best African American friend, and because of her I got to know so many others and I fell in love with their people. I always loved African American history, and studied it since I was little, and I would teach Marcia about all the different historical figures. I taught her things myself and was honest with her that I grew up in a world where there was predjudice, and many times myself as a young kid, was guilty of being ignorant myself. I would say our relationship had it’s own spirit, it’s own rhythm and I would say it was meant to happen because what she taught me, and the people I met through her opened up an entirely new world for me.
I begin to see blacks through different eyes, it was almost magical and there was something about their spirit that I wanted. But I am me, and although our paths crossed for years, we went our seperate ways, but I will always have what she gave me, and that is understanding. It happened gradually and over time, and I became more open as time went on, and I can honestly say now that because of that friendship, my world and my understanding of blacks and whites expanded to what it is now.
And what would that be? It would be that we are no different from one another, we love just as deep, we want the same things, but most of all, what I learned is that we fear each other. At least many people do, I can honestly say I’m beyond that now, I don’t fear blacks at all, and don’t think I ever will. I can also say that with what has transpired over the years with police brutality and in recent cases of teens being gunned down unarmed, it is warranted. Let’s face it, we don’t hear about white kids being gunned down by cops unarmed. If I were the mother of an African American teenager, I think my heart would race from the time he left the house until he was safely in the house. No kidding, that’s how scared I would be, because the truth is no matter what cops say about not being able to make a call, something just isn’t panning out, and in the Martin/Zimmerman case, there was a complete disregard for justice, the kid was murdered and his murderer was set free to live his life.
I have always been the type of person who can’t stand an injustice, even before I met Marcia. I know too much about mean people, and definitely know that there are actually people in this world who think that African Americans are inferior to whites.
So I dream, and I dream of a world where others can view people the way I view them, that they can see the damage they are doing to other human beings. I dream that one day there will be real trust and good relations between these two races and I find it to be tragic that it takes these incidents to bring awareness to what is so obvious to anyone with half a brain in their head. We are all human beings, there is no such thing as better or superior, we just are, and we are only here for a little while. We are more fortunate to have each other than unfortunate, yet we find hate is rampant.
I’m not a perfect person, I have my faults and I make mistakes every single day of my life, but I don’t hate. And I don’t judge others, which I can say if it’s the best I can do in life, than I did alright. I don’t always go with the majority but I am reasonable, but you’ll have to go some to convince me that Trayvon Martin lost his life to a reckless and angry human being and I think justice should be served swiftly.
Yes, I dream of that world, but I also feel in my heart it is so possible, if we all just put down our weapons and come together, hate is the worst emotion in the world yet there is so much of it. Indifference, lack of tolerance, all of these things sum up to seperation and division.
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.