This will be tough, but please hear me out…
I am still trying to process the senseless murders against African Americans. We deserve life. We deserve the pursuit of happiness. We deserve joy. We are talented. We are resilient. We are creative. We are awesome. I don’t understand it. My heart grieves and my mind cannot process it. We are all struggling through this trauma together. For every black woman and man. For every black child. For every, sister, brother, mother, father, friend, and all in between, OUR LIVES MATTER! There is so much greatness in us until those who hate us are sickened by our greatness. I. SAID. THAT.
Having said that, I want to address something. Just follow along, and hopefully, by the end, you will see my heart and understand my point.
It was around 2002. I was attending Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas. I was majoring in Social Work with a minor in Psychology. I was in a Social Work class when the subject of race came up. Mind you, this is San Antonio, Texas. There were two blacks (maybe), and several other nationalities represented. Ignorantly, I made the statement that I want to just be recognized as a woman. I stated that it was not so important to be seen as a black woman – but just as a woman. I remember two women, in particular, a Black sister and a Hispanic one looking at me with pity and disgust. At that moment I didn’t understand the problem, but I can still see the looks on their faces. They understood something I didn’t know and I had disrespected myself and all women of color. I was ignorant.
Up to this point, I had never had a race conversation. I was not aware of things going on around me. I don’t recall any discussion about it in my home. It is not that it didn’t happen, but I spent much of my time within myself, trapped in my own mind or hiding out in my closet.
Trauma blinded me to the pain of our society and to the pain of others. In my mind, every ounce of trauma I had endured was at the hands of “my people” so what could “they” do that was worse? Molested, told I was nothing, that I was ugly, that I would never be anything. I was put down – both publicly and privately.
I had blinders on. The blinder was my own trauma and pain. I had never given a second thought to race relations and what was going on. I was the antithesis of “woke.” About seven years ago, as I progressed in my healing journey, I began to read and ask questions. The beauty of me being a reader is that my children are readers as well – and they are “woke.” Even now, if it is something I don’t understand, I can ask them and they will educate me. There are also people in my community who educate me as well.
Why am I telling you this? There are some of “us” who are not understanding the seriousness of the #blacklivesmatter movement. I am asking you to give them grace and keep it moving. It is possible they have blinders on and cannot see past their personal trauma. They will come into it, just like I have. On the same token, sometimes people just need a moment and cannot deal with the reality of what’s going on around them and cannot process. Let’s just pray and give them grace.
I know this will not be popular, but just because people are black doesn’t mean they are educated or woke. They may not have the same experiences as others and therefore cannot see the truth of our world. Besides, we don’t have time to waste on educating people who are not willing to be educated. Those ladies in my class never said anything to me outside of class, but I remember their faces. I understand now.
Sisters and brothers, let’s stand together against racism and inequality and the war against African-Americans. Some will march. Some will write letters. Some will cook for those on the front line of the fight. Some will provide water. Some will provide health services. Some will offer hugs and support from behind the scenes. Some will watch the kids. Some will post on social media. Some will make phone calls. Some may make cash donations. Some may pray. Some may spend time educating others. Whatever your part is, please get in your lane and affect change. And two months from now when the anger settles a bit, don’t forget to keep forging forward. All I’m saying is: Do your part.