I don’t write much about controversy.
I don’t rant about politics.
I don’t engage in debates on Facebook.
I make it a habit to steer clear of the latest social media trending topics. Blue/gold dresses and gender-specific restrooms are not my typical blog fodder, because to be honest, in a few days those topics will have been forgotten.
It’s not because I don’t have an opinion.
Because trust me, I have an opinion about everything.
We all do.
The main reason I stay away from controversial topics is plain and simple.
It starts arguments. And arguments create division.
And division is what destroys a society.
“United we stand, divided we fall.”
We’ve all heard and read that statement so much, that it probably doesn’t even mean anything anymore.
When I read about Alton Sterling and Philando Castile yesterday and watched the videos of their deaths, I dropped my head and cried.
Yes, because they died for no apparent reason.
Yes, because I hurt deeply for their families.
Yes, because I cannot even begin to comprehend the terror both deceased and their beloveds must have felt in those moments.
But moreover, I cried because every single time this happens…it widens the divide between us.
And by us, I mean races.
Deny racism all you like…insist you aren’t racist…debate, cry, scream and cuss a little….
but that ugly thing called racism is very real.
In all of us.
And the sooner we acknowledge it, yet refuse to allow it to divide us, the closer we will be to each other.
And the closer we are, the more unified we will be.
And the more unified we are, the stronger we will be.
Look at it again:
United we stand, divided we fall.
We have to stop insisting that we “aren’t racist.”
It has been engrained in us by the media. By society.
We see dozens of images every day that are propagating racism, and we are taking them all in, completely unawares.
White: clean, happy, safe.
Black: dirty, sad, dangerous.
Are you cringing yet?
You should be.
Images of happy and successful people are consistently white, thin, and well-off.
Images of sad and broken people are consistently black, downtrodden, and poor.
Don’t believe me?
Here’s a little experiment I did this morning.
I did an internet search for “Image of poor people.”
Here are my top 5 results:
There were screens and screens of dark-skinned people.
Please note that I did not search for “Image of poor black people,” I simply searched for “Image of poor people.”
Yet these were my results.
Next I did an internet search for “Image of rich people.”
Here are those top 5 results:
It is clear that we are inundated with racist and divisional images constantly.
It has been indoctrinated into us since birth in ways that we likely aren’t even aware of.
So today, can we please stop debating for a moment?
Can we stop arguing about the guilt and fault of black men and white police officers and just stand together?
Just for now, I am going to acknowledge the racism that exists within me, and just make the choice to not allow it to create further division.
Yes, racism exists. I hate it, but it is so very real.
As a white woman, I have no idea how it feels to be treated differently because of having black skin.
What saddens me the most is that even the mere writing of this little blog post will still create division.
Some will still use this message to take sides, and will have missed the point altogether.
What we need here is some admission.
Then maybe we can get somewhere.
Until then we remain a society controlled by media, enraged by images, and sorted into little racial boxes.
So today I just sit here with my heart in my hands, and mourn with you, my black brothers and sisters, and I say wholeheartedly to you, “I have no idea how you feel, but I am with you. Here, hold my hand. Let me cry with you a while. I acknowledge that racism is real in all of us, but I refuse to be further divided from you.”