First, I am sorry I have not written the last few weeks. Based on the title of my blog I have had a hard time finding positive spins on what our country has been going through. Watching one side attack the Seuss family for making a decision regarding old books depicting races in a no-so-friendly light and dropping the “Mr.” from Mr. Potato head had me a bit miffed. Then I came across a quote by Maya Angelou above and it snapped me back into a more positive mindset.
Maybe the answers to what we are going through is some people are more enlightened and now that they know better, they want to do better. I would like to share a personal story from my childhood and early adult life about my thinking during the time and how I have evolved to where I am now.
My father was a good man and would give anyone the shirt off his back. However, he was also very racist against Black Americans. I did not realize this until I met a new student in 6th grade named Othree. She was black and I really liked her. I wanted to invite her for dinner and when my father found out she was black his response was, ‘I don’t want a Nigger in my house.’ I was baffled, but I abided by my father’s wishes. When I left for the Navy in 1977 I did not realize how my father’s views had influenced me. I grew up in the inner city in Irvington, New Jersey. I did not see the best in people, so some of my father’s feelings could be seen in what I experienced as a child. However, after entering the military and meeting people from all over the country and of all different back rounds, I was beginning to see my views were not accurate and I developed friendships with people different from myself.
I believe we all have some racists tendencies and we can decide to bring them with us through life or we can change our mindset to see people as their character and not their ethnicity. I have had some really great conversations with some friends of color and I do get it to the point I can regarding the underlying discrimination we still display in our great country. Our first step is not to see racist thoughts as just in ‘bad people.” These are just uninformed people and people who maybe have not had different experiences to make them see pigment differently. At the end of the day, we are arguing over pigment.
Donald Trump did not make us more racist and divided, he merely gave this voice permission to float to the surface and give it a platform. More black men are not being killed by police, they are just being captured on video more often. In order to become the United States of America again, we need to have dialog with each other that may be uncomfortable. We also need to make loud voices culpable for their lies. I want to be better. I do know better so I want to be better.