It’s so hard to concentrate as of late. It’s like every time I want to sit down and spend time writing, I’m pulled in a million directions. I wear way too many damn hats. And it’s my fault really. Whatever. We are here now. While I was working I’d fallen into this routine of turning on the news each morning and watching the God awful thing someone has done to a POC (person of color). It’s truly becoming toxic and draining. Since being home on this ‘hiatus,’ I haven’t felt compelled to turn the news on at all. If it’s not breaking news on CNN, I couldn’t tell you about it.
There is so much pain in the news right now if you’re Black. George Floyd. It’s like everyone has seen this video. The easy access to information and social media made its availability as simple as a swipe. This man was murdered, in cold blood, for the world to see and some people still don’t understand why we (POC) are upset. Or that we should only be a degree of mad. As if there’s an appropriate level of madness for murder with the world watching. Rayshard Brooks. Breonna Taylor. Elijah McClain. At what point is it enough that we are seen of some value or some worth? To be hunted down like a dog in the street and detained and murdered by some over zealous neighborhood watch is disgusting.
The national conversation about race in America has sparked some very interesting views from people that I didn’t expect. When news first broke about George Floyd, a good friend’s sister was actually the first to reach out. She is white and just wanted to know that she had no words but that she wanted me to know that this was no indication of how she felt and that my family was loved. After her, it was like the flood gates opened and every white person in my life was calling or texting their support for Black Lives Matter. Honestly, I was completely surprised. Speechless, that might be the better word. No, I didn’t think that I had surrounded myself with racist people, but it’s refreshing just to see how far someone will ride for the cause of something that they could potentially ignore and stay silent. I’m not gonna lie though, I was nervous. My freedom, my family, my kids, I’m willing to end lifelong relationships and friends over this. But just when I thought I was living in my own bubble of supporters, good ole social media shall humble thou and show people’s true colors.
An old boss of mine is a friend on social media. I’ve been to their home. They’ve celebrated my children together and been invited to countless family functions. When the rioting started they started sending out messages against the rioting and retaliation against police. A repost of a meme or some colorful commentary would be their words of choice. It continued to escalate to the point where they were outright supporting ‘All Lives Matter’ and that ‘if Black people would do as they’re told there wouldn’t be any problems.’ My jawed dropped. I had to pick myself up off the floor. I reached out to a former co-worker to get their thoughts. We are both Black and worked for them. Their response, ‘Not surprised.’ I started to think back on all the events, gatherings and conversations that we have shared and felt like such an idiot for even allowing this person in my space. It made me feel dirty and disgusted.
I often think about the young black man that my husband and I are raising. He’s almost a teenager and when he walks out this house, I hold my breath. I am that over-zealous mom that requires a check in. There are code words for situations that require parental assistance. We want to be clear with him on how to conduct himself when he leaves this house. Don’t ever touch something that doesn’t belong to you. Regardless of where you are but especially when you’re in a store. When purchasing something, get a receipt and a bag, even if it’s a pack of gum. Carry your wallet with ID and when confronted by a law enforcement officer, always be respectful. If you find yourself in an unfamiliar situation with law enforcement, stop talking, ask for a lawyer and us. Listen, we all saw ‘When They See Us” on Netflix. That completely changed how I had conversations with him. How I wanted him to truly understand the world that’s out there and how to carry yourself in different situations. The conversation is never ending though. We will continue to have these conversations as long as there is a target on his back.
What I wouldn’t give to go back to the days of his ignorance to the ugly side of the world. I’d love to continue to allow him to live in the bubble we took pride in building, but he will know the truth, in all of it’s glory. The good, the bad, and the racist.