I wrote this post during the time frame “Black Lives Matter” was first being heard by the white collective, back in 2016 …
I had an experience a few months back. Now is when it is meant to be shared.
My husband and I were driving down a little two lane black top country road. My oldest daughter (6 years old) had done something that I needed to speak to her about (I think she was kicking the back of her daddy’s seat – cannot remember to be honest – it is beside the point) So, I asked my husband to pull over at the nearest road so that I could speak to our daughter about this situation more clearly. He pulled into a little dirt road in the middle of a corn field. There was an old barn close by – it was obviously some sort of farm. We sat in the truck, by the little barn for a few minutes, as I discussed with my daughter that kicking the back seat was not respectful of our shared space and that we could not continue our trip until we were all being respectful…. After a 5 minute talk, we started to ease back out onto the road. As we started to ease onto the highway, I noticed an old farm truck pulling in behind us. The elderly white man inside was peering harshly at our vehicle – obviously concerned that we had been up to no good. I convinced my husband to pull back over – which took some speedy convincing as he was ready to get on with this trip, but he did and I jumped out of the passenger side door before the truck had rolled to a stop.
What happened next is the point of this story. I felt an awareness. An awareness, I subconsciously carry with me all the time. An awareness of the “Pretty Little White Girl Privilege” – now this is not always a privilege, sometimes folks underestimate my strength and power – but they are rarely intimidated or frightened by me. As I jumped out of the truck I plastered a kind, bright smile on my little white face as I practically frolicked to the old man’s beat up truck. I watched his face soften from anger to kindness and even to a welcoming smile as I boldly opened his passenger side door to lean in and gleefully explain to him,
“So sorry Sir – I just wanted to let you know we had pulled over because I needed to have a quick chat with my kids. So sorry if we appeared to be up to no good. I sure hope you have a wonderful day!”
…. And before my words left my lips I saw him nodding in approval and understanding. I waved goodbye, shut his passenger door and skipped back up to our truck where I jumped back in and off we went – End of story.
I do not know how many times I have unconsciously benefited from this “Pretty Little White Girl Privilege” – but for some reason, I had an awareness of it that day, in that moment. As if the moment was frozen in time I imagined how vastly DIFFERENT this could have gone. This old man, that smiled bigger the closer I got – what would have gone through his mind had I been a black man, or Mexican … or Lord help if I was Islamic with a turban on. I mean the thought of what could have happened to me in a world that is fueled by such fear of those that you do not understand. Fear of those that are different. Fear of the unknown. Fear shoved down so deep that you cannot recognize it apart from yourself. Fear that defines your every thought. Your every judgement. Fear. FEAR.
Let’s face it – There is no telling what that old white man might have done fueled by the FEAR another FACE would have ignited. – But I never found out, because I had my good ole “Pretty Little White Girl Privilege” going on and this time – I knew it.
Now, you might attempt to justify it all. Justify your every little negative thought about all these ‘invaders’ of our peaceful, happy US of A.
You may say, “The black community. Awe, they’ve done it to themselves – if those ‘brothers’ from the hood were not out there breaking the law then I might just trust them. Yea it’s THEIR fault. They need to learn respect.” … or you might say “Well yea – I’m gonna watch out for that lazy Mexican. He is in MY Country. Speaking a language, I c’ain’t even understand. He needs to learn to speak AMERICAN and figure out how to get here legal, or go back where he came from. I’m an American Citizen. This is MY country. ” … and you may say “HELL NO – OF COURSE I don’t trust that Terrorist Islam crazy fool that thinks he can just blow up our country – He best go back where he came from or I’ll Blow him up.” Yep – you might try to justify it all, while pointing the finger at everyone else … just judge, why not, everyone else is right? Heck even the President elect says it’s ok to judge – surely we have permission to.
But what about the countless African Americans that are out there simply asking for peace, love and simple RESPECT. What about the simple request that we can all admit that BLACK LIVES DO MATTER without getting so hung up on having to say every other life matters too in the same sentence? Why do we have to take every blasted thing so personally. Why can we not just ADMIT that our great great great great grandparents did some god awful things and NO it may not have been us but we can STILL be SORRY for it. Why can we not recognize that when your family lineage goes back to people that were OWNED by other people – not that long ago – that it DOES take a while to move past it? Why can we not SUPPORT that healing process? Why do we have to be so self-righteous and so freaking SCARED? WHY?
What about the Mexican families that fled to this country in attempt to create a better life for their loved ones. I know a Mexican gentleman that came all the way to America, leaving his wife and children behind. Determined to create a life here. Determined to do better for his family than is possible in his country. This man is as honest, hard-working and kind as ANYONE I know. His heart is gold and all he wants to do is WORK so he can afford to bring his family over. What about him? Are we the only ones that deserve America? Just because we came out of a hole between our mama’s legs on American soil that makes us better??? More deserving? More worthy? What the heck is American about that?
And what about the Islam man? Wearing a turban as a statement of his respect for God, for peace and for his faith. A faith so misunderstood. A faith so kind, so welcoming, so peaceful. – and, yes, I can HEAR YOU NOW. Screaming at my words. “Peaceful my A## .. they kill in the name of their God” ….. and I say EVERY RELIGION HAS KILLED IN THE NAME OF THEIR GOD. Including Christianity. I adore the Christian faith. My father is an ordained minister. But when I hear all this judgmental, FEAR based talk in the name of God my heart just HURTS. That is NOT GOD. That is …. Let me say this so you can hear me. Turn up your inner volume … That is NOT GOD – THAT IS -> YOU! Not your true you, but YOUR EGO YOU. Your human, limited mind that has NO capacity to understand the vastness that IS God. NONE of us do. No one has the right to use ANY religion to encourage the Harm of ANYONE in God’s name. Not Islam, not Christianity, not any of it. (btw I HIGHLY suggest the film “Ocean of Pearls” on www.Gaia.com – it is VERY enlightening on the subject)
So WHO’s job is it then to fix all this mess? If the brother from the hood did not shoot someone then this would all be alright? – Right? So it’s HIS fault? Right? If the Mexican man just did this legal and learned ‘American’ then you would accept them right? -Right? If the Islam man would take off that silly hat and dress like an ‘American’ and worship the “American God” that is the”God” in “In God We Trust” then you’d be ok with him right? … am I right?
It is THEIR fault that you are afraid – It MUST be someone else’s fault. We could not possibly be responsible for OUR OWN FEAR? Right?
I will tell you who’s job it is to FIX THIS MESS. It is THIS WHITE GIRL. And do you know why? No, it’s not because it is MY fault that blacks used to be slaves and it is not because it is my fault that Mexicans want to live here instead of their country and it’s not because it’s my fault that some crazy terrorist have killed people – No …. It is not because of ANY of that. It is because of this. You see – I AM that white girl. It just happens to be the Skin That I Am In and so this is the skin that I will CHANGE THE WORLD using. It Starts with ME. …and it starts with YOU. Whatever skin you’re in. Whatever faith you have. Does not matter. It starts with YOU. You take YOUR walk in life and you walk it and you pay attention to your judgements. You choose to look past the skin color, the race, the religion. You choose to look past your fear and look into that person. That soul. That spirit that is CONNECTED to you in a way you will not understand until you die. You look INTO that person and you LOVE them. Love them from right where they are at. Love them from right where YOU are at. Tell your fear to take a backseat and let’s transform this country into the America that is truly is. GREAT from the HEART.
So it starts with ME.
So it starts with YOU.
So let’s START.