What a week it has been for anyone who listens to the news….actually if you listened to the radio or simple conversations, you knew something was wrong in America.. Anyone who is concerned about current events in America, realized that there was an elephant in the room. It got bigger and excited by mid week and now it has slowly been simmering …waiting in the background to come and sit in the middle of the room again, sucking the life out of everyone and everything in it’s reach. With social media, it is reaching almost everyone..
The emotional reality of the elephant in the room is that it will keep stepping on our toes until the reality of “we need to talk about this” happens. I could ramble on about racism, I could ramble on about who is or was at fault, but I am neither judge or jury….nor was I there. However a few things have popped up in my mind because I have many friends who are non minority and I want to be able to not be on guard in our communications. I have family members who are in law enforcement, I have a cousin who lost a son due to gun violence (I never thought that would happen in my good Christian family) or have been incarcerated….perhaps more than once. To some the events of this week could be considered par for the course, because they are not really familiar with non minority people. However as an outsider looking at this situation as a woman, a Mother, grandmother and person of color, there are a few things I would like to share, because quite honestly I am sick of the elephant in the room…it is causing people to second guess me, not look me in the eye and assume the worse of me and perhaps how I feel..
Well here ya go, this is how I earnestly feel…..
- I hurt for the Mom of Michael Brown. We all think our children are just absolute angels. We teach them to do right and we assume and/or pray that what we teach them sinks in and that they carry those lesson with them for life. We cannot be with our children all the time or they would surely fail as productive members of society. I a sure that this Mother just KNEW she had a good son who had no trouble with the law to her knowledge. I am sure if there had been some ongoing issues with law enforcement, it will come out when there is a trial…assuming there is one.
- I hurt for the grandmother that he was supposedly on his way to see. I am sure she was waiting for him with lots of hugs and love, as most grandmother’s do. There is something about a grandsons hug that just makes you melt…..this I know. No matter how mischievous, no matter if they forgot their manners during the week or how many times they might have been punished by Mom – at Grandma’s none of that matters.
- Although, we have all at one time or another heard the phrase – don’t judge a book by it’s cover……and rightfully so. Each of us has judged someone by their appearance or by the company we have chosen to have around us. I vividly remember my parents reminding us of these two things.daily. There is a Challenge for just about everything right now. I am sure others have heard me say this before, but one more time can’t hurt- YOUNG MEN (and some ladies – go figure ) IF YOU CAN PUT THEM ON, YOU CAN PULL THEM ALL THE WAY UP. That particular look is not a fashion statement and if you think your underwear is all that…stay home and enjoy them in the privacy of your own home. What you are saying to the world is you are not a clear thinker, you get so distracted that you cannot complete the simple task of puling up your pants or buying some that actually fit.. This is thug mentality started in prisons – wait, you know this..you have heard this before….so why keep doing it???? Do you not care?? (sorry – I had to go in Mom mode)
- I remember Officer Friendly, you remember the police officer who came and spoke to the class and was a friend to all?. The police department made sure that they visited the students at school, so that a certain level of comfort was instilled. The DC police officer had on a blue shirt, navy slacks, had a pair of handcuffs, a billy stick and he or she smiled. The police persons job was to make us feel safe. I just do not remember them in riot gear as a norm.What does this say about our society today and how can we change the perception that at any moment there will be a riot??
- There was a time when I READ about the struggles of the Negro and what the riots did in New Jersey, Richmond and yes, even in my hometown of DC. I do remember thinking to myself…wow…things never seemed to recover in some of those areas. Rioting is like trashing your home, when it is the only place you have to rest your …but now it is no longer there….because you trashed it. I think that in 2014, we might be upset about a situation, but we should react intellectually and not destroy the little that is available to us. After all, who would want to re-open an establishment after knowing that the residents could lash back out at any moment. Investing in a community to provide minimal necessities in life, takes a special kind of person.and we should support their effort or open our own.
- I remember a time when walking home from school, if my sibling’s and I did something out of order, my homemaker Mom knew and would meet us halfway, with hand on hip and that special look in her eye, which let us know….she knew and we were in trouble. Someone along the way home cared enough to call my mom and let her know we were not representing her and my dad well. Trust me that neighborhood network of love handled the business of being the eyes and ears of the community.
- I remember living in Virginia – of all places – raising my daughters and being the only minority Mom in my neighborhood and one who actively participated in things at their schools. The other Moms and I talked about everything…and I do mean everything. . Having grown up in a multicultural area of Montgomery County, Maryland, I thought nothing of our random questions/comments on everything – especially issues on race relations. We were all and still are all just Mom’s who had children who were going to grow up in a multicultural world. We wanted them to be able to handle and embrace multiculturalism easily. Imagine how this week only a handful of people that I know and speak to daily, spoke comfortably with me about the week’s events. We have such a long way to go when it comes to understanding and communicating with those who are not like me – a minority. How will we ever heal, if we never talk about the wound that opens and festers from time. Yes we will all have differing opinions, but to act like all is okay is like not noticing the huge grey elephant in the room…even after squeezing by it to get to the other side.
- I remember seeing police activity like what was shown this week on a newsreel, like from the days when integration was being introduced in the south…….I was quite shocked and saddened that this was happening in 2014 – in today’s America, my America. Most importantly, it was hard this week to see my older friends cry as they remembered times like that and what it felt like – teargas, heavily armed police, etc. I imagine they thought those days were long gone. After all America, we are better than this.