My Wish For You

It never ceases to amaze me.

From the time OUR young people hit puberty, brown and black youth face unsolicited feedback from the environment. It’s anything from the I-don’t-see-you face, to one of suspicion and harsh scrutiny.

Bosses go on vacation and tell staff “don’t hire any black people” for vacant positions. That is a true recent story. Luckily my young friend hired the best applicant anyway (coincidentally black). But how common is that noble demonstration of character? Yet, no one is racist and no, we don’t live in a white supremacist society

A white woman walks into a clothing store behind a young black mother buying their toddler’s very first pair of shoes. The salesperson ignores the mother. The white woman gets approached first. “May I help you?” This woman’s response? “Yes, you can HELP HER. But no one is racist and we don’t live in a white supremacist society

This, kind of micro-aggression goes on 24/7. It can be so much worse than that. At best, in place of casual friendliness, there is a constant drip drip drip of negative, fearful, hostile or zero feedback from the environment, resulting in a constant chipping away at a healthy life force. It either weakens or steels the heart, if not the soul. But no one is racist and we don’t live in a white supremacist society

As everyone knows, the only socially acceptable response from a person of color, when at the brunt end of this kind of treatment is: NO response. Zero. Politely pretend not to notice. Anything else and you become THE ignorant angry black person. Why, you’re making a scene! But no one is racist and we don’t live in a white supremacist society.

How about if a non-POC, points this out – even to “FRIENDS”? After friends recover from the first uncomfortable dialogue, that person soon enough finds themselves relegated to the “careful, gotta walk on eggshells with them” category – “too interested in politics”,  or “too sensitive”, “takes it too personally”. My wish on the magic lantern is that every white person would be like that white guy who was meeting those two fellows for a business meeting in Starbucks. “What the hell is going on??” And notably, what did those two men ask for?
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“Robinson and Nelson also settled with the city of Philadelphia for a symbolic $1 each and a pledge that the city will create a $200,000 program for public high-school students who aspire to be entrepreneurs.” 

“We thought long and hard about it and we feel like this is the best way to see that change that we want to see,” Robinson told the Associated Press. “It’s not a right-now thing that’s good for right now, but I feel like we will see the true change over time.”

Here is what amazes me. Among even the most kindly, well-intended white people, there is a jagged stone wall of resistance, up against even considering and discussing the obvious benefits of white privilege, over a lifetime. The reason cited most often in my world is, “Well, we all have serious problems. Just because I’m white doesn’t mean I haven’t struggled, had it hard, encountered much unfairness.”

Yes, life is hard for lots of us. So somehow, it follows that there isn’t much interest in pondering on how to support or listen to brothers and sisters who live side by side in our communities facing these invisible barriers and ever-present fears, on top of everything else.

You see, I’ve come to notice that as white people, we are the objective ones. We understand everything. We have the true perspective. We know. We have nothing to learn from our brown and black brethren. We explain to THEM how to feel and how to perceive their encounters. And we are offended when that doesn’t quite work out to our satisfaction.

Yet somehow, NO ONE IS RACIST. I have never met a racist. I HAVE met a homophobe and many transphobes. Because they distort the Bible to back themselves up, so they try to defend hate against love. Imagine!

With the exception of white people who are centering their lives on this situation, to this day, I have not met any white person who will admit that our society is still structured on white supremacy. Not a liberal, not a conservative. It seems the way it goes is, “If I haven’t experienced it, in my heart of hearts, I just don’t believe it. They are exaggerating, misunderstanding, dramatizing.”

Laws MUST be put in place and laws must stay in place, and be enforced to protect EVERYONE in our society, for that very reason. You see, no one is doing it. No one. YET, IT IS DONE.

Even though science has established that there is no such thing as race, most still have a tribe that extends past families, and most cling to this as a primary identity.

Yet, in my experience, it is only by living and loving each other, ignoring that imaginary race barrier, that we understand the truth of our shared humanity, in our guts, our minds and in our hearts. Without knowing each other, and knowing each other WELL, it’s very hard to get past society’s walls.

Still, there are those of us to whom destiny calls, to create or be born or be parented and nurtured in families that ignore these cautions and barriers. Beyond the walls, we find a rich and beautiful tapestry, a depth of understanding, and lots of love. It’s love that by it’s very nature, extends out to all peoples of the world.

That is my wish for you. May you continue to expand your circle of love, increase your wisdom, and reap your joy. I will be right there with you.

 

Anne Frank, Slavery, A Piece of God, the President, Choice

Anne Frank

Annelies Marie Frank was born 85 years ago today in Frankfurt, Germany. She would be one of the more than one million children who perished in the Holocaust, but her diary endures. On her birthday, learn more about Anne Frank, read some of her original writings, and help us pay tribute to her and all children who lost their lives during the Holocaust: http://bit.ly/1l4JYSg
Photo: Anne Frank Stichting
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Anne Frank would have been 85 today. We try to act like the most famous and horrific injustices and war crimes, such as the Holocaust and United States officially sanctioned African slave trade and culture are ANCIENT history.

In the case of the Holocaust, some survivors still exist. My father arrived here as a small boy, long before WW II, his parents escaping the Cossacks with the clothes on their backs. But I understand that much of my family that had found it’s way to Europe was lost to the Nazis.

Still, we have rampant memes and story lines, the incessant drumbeat, “all Jews come from money, stick together and are scheming to (or have) taken over the world.” Sadly, I know that these narratives are SO pervasive and convincing that odds are at least one person reading even my extremely progressive (“Hurry up, world, I got grandkids. It was supposed to be better by now!”) posts is actively struggling not to buy in.

Then some BORN into generations of American slavery passed away only recently and their 1st generation non-enslaved children and grandchildren still walk among us, suffering the effects of generations of systematically abused and abolished families and destroyed cultural heritage. The fruits of the efforts to find, restore, reclaim and rebuild are nothing short of stunning. But, still…

We all know the range of ways that we accept and face this or find ourselves being fed some flavor of the “that should have no effect on today, hey, X immigrant group were derided, discriminated against and denied employment too, we all came from somewhere”, whitewash.

In honor of little Anne Frank, who never got to do more in life, than write her hopes and insights (“I still believe people are really good at heart. “) into her diary, let’s resolve to speak out against corruption, torture, slavery and abuse, including of our Earth, still existing in today’s world instead of being part of an equally ongoing, unchanging it’s-not-so-bad, whitewash.

Our president is not a descendent of enslaved destroyed families. His mom had a fine start in life and he never knew his African academic father. He wrote an entire book about his efforts to piece together his paternal background and to understand the choices of this man.But still, his skin color is routinely pointed to as proof that “Everything is all better now. See?” As our President, he would be the first to look around and explain to you why that is not the case. We got work to do – not for the good of some of us, but for the good of all of us.

Still, we persist in dismissing our ANCIENT HISTORY. “How could THAT have happened?” “Oh it was long ago. That would never happen today.” Yes, it could and is. It’s always so complex. There are always so many factors. Money and power struggles are always involved.

Buddhism teaches the three poisons of avarice, anger and stupidity, from which all evil stems. All human beings have an inherent enlightened nature too, though – a piece of God or Spirit within, if you prefer. There is always a choice as to how our life force manifests moment to moment. Follow ingrained habits and tendencies? Or break free?

Today, I will try to love as if I honor and cherish the hopes and dreams of little Anne Frank. I am proud to live in a community where so many fight the good fight to support, restore, repair, build anew, where hope is very much alive and action is the name of the game.