Saturday, May 30, 2020

Racism, Sorrow, Atrocities: A Personal Reflection & Children

Sorrow. Horror. Atrocities-in-our-midst. "I can't breathe."
Spring of my freshman year of high school we had race riots and riot squad policeman in our hallways for weeks on end, because of racial boiling points reached and exceeded. I am doing the math and I think that was 48 years ago, or was it yesterday? Literally. Apparently nothing has been learned in the intervening decades. "I can't breathe."
Thank heavens for the technology that can capture our inhumanity to each other. I pray that these captured horrific videos can pave the way forward toward justice, for the families left to grieve in shock. I hope our shock as a country rises up and that bile in my throat resolves into actual change. How? "I can't breathe."

America. We simply must do better. How can 48 years have passed since those retreats where we examined our prejudice and privilege? Start the clock at whatever point in our country's history you want to begin.... there is startling evidence that we aren't doing better for our fellow citizens of color. Now that we have the means to connect these disgusting acts to the larger conscience? It is sickening. "I can't breathe."
There is a pandemic indeed. This one has been in our midst for a v-e-r-y long time, but the curtain is being pulled back and the evidence is chilling. People are capable of the unthinkable. "I can't breathe."

I don't want to pretend that I have answers or platitudes or zippy-skippy bandaids to be applied, as we hemorrhage in the face of the loss of human decency. I do want to go on record that I am appalled to my very core. "I can't breathe."
I am sorry. I am sorry that the divisiveness of our country continues to widen and further marginalize those whose skin is not white. I am sorry that black wives, mothers and grandmothers must live in fear for their children and spouses going about their day-to-day lives, and of course for themselves as well. I am sorry that our country is built on such daily systemic injustice. I am embarrassed and I am sorry. I realize that typing on my screen changes nothing -- but I just wanted anyone that wonders how I might feel about the current affairs of our country to know that I am ashamed. I am appalled. And I am sorry. Shame on us. "I can't breathe."
"Shame, shame, I know your name." Your name is racism. Now what? 48 years, or 148, or 248 years, or 348 years. What have we learned? How can we do things differently? "I can't breathe."

I grew up singing "Jesus loves the little children, ALL the children of the world, red and yellow black and white, they are precious in his sight." I really believed it. Kumbaya. "And we'll guard each man's dignity and save each man's pride." How Heaven must be in constant tears over our action, or inaction as the case may be. These are perilous times indeed. Black lives matter. "I can't breathe."
When I was just in elementary school, we had moved as a family from the cornfields of southern Indiana to the 'west-side' of South Bend. My pastor-dad had our family join every black church potluck available. We were often the only white family in attendance. We 'marched' shoulder to shoulder in those late 60's marches. I was a child at the time. I was taught from a very young age that we were all intended to be equals at our creation. I believed it. "I can't breathe."

It is an atrocity that these murders are mounting. We know better. When will we do better? Look yourself in the mirror and ask the tough questions. Have you silenced a racist joke being told in your midst or circulated in your inbox? Have you stood up and been counted, in the face of such dehumanization? Have you posted to your friends that you are AGAINST the unthinkable? That shouldn't be necessary, but obviously it is. "Our silence is complicity." --Joe Biden. "I can't breathe."

I am against the unthinkable. Black lives matter. "I can't breathe."
Last night as we were taking our evening walk around our circle, a UPS man made three deliveries all within the bits of our walking. I wanted to hug him. I wanted to assure him that not every white person looks at his rich black skin and turns in fear. I want to apologize to every black person, every non-white person for the injustice. For their fear and for their sorrow. I can't begin to imagine how you feel over these continuing developments -- and yes, it seems that they are coming faster and faster of late. Atrocities one and all. I can only imagine the trauma of the accumulation, with the escalating loss of life. "I can't breathe."

The reality is that our country, as a country is racist. Our system of justice is not just. I am sorry. Black lives matter. I am sorry that your experience paints another picture. Our country of rich blessings and amazing abundance is broken. George Floyd, your life mattered. "I can't breathe."
Governor Cuomo just said, "The evidence is damning." Indeed. It is damning on each and every one of us. It is damning on me. I will accept that blame. I vote. one vote. "I can't breathe."
The pandemic of racism is not new. "I can't breathe."

This is the single, biggest reason that I work with children. Where there is still hope. Teach them.

-- Debbie 

P.S. During the 'stay-at-home' era of Covid-19, I have been giving FB LIVE Sing-a-Long broadcasts. It has been put on my heart, in the tradition of Mr. Rogers, to attempt to address all of the above for our children. If you are a praying person, I would ask you to keep my preparation of this next phase of LIVE events in your prayers. 

I took this concluding picture several years ago, at a morning of fun in honor of Earth Day. You can see the entire experience in this long ago article. I think that I'm as pleased with this picture -- and that morning, as anything else I have ever done. The skin tones. The children working enthusiastically on their collaboration. Giggles. Perfect. 

What do we tell the children? How do we explain? When do we have 'real life' conversations with them? What is age appropriate information? 

Are your kids too young to talk about race?

Click on this informational chart to go to the source and find numerous other resources! 

Thanks for your support! I am so appreciative of your pins!

Thanks for your support! I am so appreciative of your pins!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...