As I sit behind the keyboard this morning at 6:15am my fingers finally decide to start doing their walking and talking for me. That’s what I like to see! It’s almost like an ancient, mythical dance once they’re comfortable enough to get going. Sometimes I’ll imagine that my left and right hands are like two strangers meeting in the night. Tiny dancers that while dancing on my keyboard, I can feel their steps tickle deep inside me all the way through to my soul. It’s just been a beautiful experience to witness my own life unfold through journaling. Being able to see the good and the bad that I am capable of expressing. You see I’ve had a lot on my mind this past year and I found writing it out has helped me identify what it is that’s troubling me and also clearer ways of going about resolving my issues. Now for some reason, this past week, every time I’ve sat down and tried to write this article I kept getting stuck. But as I lit my first cigarette and sat down to wait for the water to boil for my EarlGrey, my fingers started to dance along my keyboard as if like magic!
“You are NOT a race, stop saying you are! Be present, watch the race, Just Be!”
When issues about race or class come up in public domain we seem to get uncomfortable. But why is that? It’s an issue that we are all still affected by in some way today. Fifty years after the civil rights movement and we are still dealing with so many of those same issues. Why are we so afraid of putting ourselves in socially uncomfortable situations? Is it fear of judgement from peers and strangers or that we may be misunderstood or labeled wrong. Or just plain fear of leaving our comfort zones? I’m thinking it may be because although we all live in a world that’s filled with hearing about race issues 24/7, we never sit down to talk and discuss these race issues. Is there a reason we accept these circumstances? A belief that if we just ignore it that it will go away or that it doesn’t exist, just like the homeless man we’ll walk by and pretend we don’t see. It’s time to open our eyes people! Ask yourself and think- Do I have a particular negative issue about any one race in my life today and then ask, why is it you do or you don’t? Now either way, how much of that issue was influenced by a certain belief from what we’ve learned from a family member? A friend? The environment in which we grew up? Or the constant negative reporting from the media throughout the day? Or if we think deeply into ourselves do we not see that there is No Race!? I AM a Human Being not a human race! In that we are all exactly the same. Sure, we all come from different cultures, we should embrace those, not discriminate against them. Each persons culture is a beautiful thing. Gives a spice to life!
“Don’t you know that saying stuff like that makes you racist!?”
So, it’s kind of weird how I got to pondering the issue of race. Wasn’t something I would think much about either way until a conversation with a friend a few weeks back, which stuck with me. Let me tell you about how this conversation led me to think and rethink the way I look at race. So I was hanging with a buddy when one of my kids came downstairs and asked…
“Hey dad, can I have a friend over?” my son asked excitedly, followed by an added “Paa-leaseee!”
“Give me five to ten minutes to see what our plans are” I replied, and “which friend do you want to come over?”
“You know him dad, was one that was over here Friday after school” answered my son.
“You had two friends over after school on Friday” I quickly respond “which one are yo…”
“Chris!” my son whined out before I could finish “I was asking if Chris could come over!”
Now this next question I asked is what my friend and I had different views about.
“Which one is Chris again” I inquired “was he the black kid or the white one?”
So within a second of my son leaving the kitchen and running upstairs my buddy starts to shake his head the way we do to show disgust or disapproval. He than tells me, Dude you can’t say stuff like that. It’s racist! No matter how I expressed to him that the question I asked my son wasn’t said with any hate or ill will towards anyone. It seemed logical to me identify which of the two friends my son was referring to. Was it anyone’s fault that my son has friends that are diverse? I didn’t ask what race. I asked what a little boy would be able to answer in a quick, honest and innocent way. But to tell you the truth, I was shocked that someone, a friend, who is suppose to know me could ever consider me to be something as hateful as a racist.
So in closing…
What I concluded from thinking this over is that our whole idea or concept of race is nothing more than a method of putting us into classes. Why do we need either one of those in our advanced times? Are we not modern or civilized enough to have an opinion on a person based on their character and actions? I don’t feel the need to be labeled by or to label another person. I am going to try… get this… a whole new concept… Getting to know someone and then form my own opinion of them based on similar values. I don’t know if that way of thinking makes sense to anyone else but it makes sense to me. But what do I know, I am just an aging young man who has watched the dream I once had slip from the grasp of the little child I was, only to find the dream come back to me once again!