For over a year, I have been thinking about the issue of race in our country. As I read about more and more unarmed African-American men being shot by police officers and retaliations made as a result, I saw a deep-seated problem eating away at our nation. The name of this hungry beast is racism.
After reading one particular story about an unarmed man who was shot while lying on the ground, after having followed all police instructions, I was angered yet again. This man was taking care of another man who had autism; I have a sister with autism, who has frequently benefitted from help from African-American caretakers. I responded to the facebook post detailing the episode, saying, “I don’t know what to do. What can we do?” My friend responded, “Yes, you do. You can think of something to do to help the problem.”
She was challenging my lack of commitment to justice. And she was right. It seemed all I could do was moan and groan about the continuing racial violence spreading across the land. I wasn’t really doing anything about it. I thought about what she’d said and I began to read and to think, then read and think some more.
I’m not rich and powerful; I don’t have much influence in the overall scheme of things. I really was not sure what I should/could do. But the stories of shootings kept coming and I kept feeling horrible about them. The one thing I can do is write. And I decided I would write about the subject—me, an old white woman, trying to figure out how to talk about race, how to help ease things and bring people together somehow, before I leave this earth.
So, I’ll be writing three blog posts over the next few weeks. The holiday season seems an appropriate time to discuss love and openness and peace. The first essay will be my own story—how race has impacted me through my life. The second essay will take a look at the spiritual implications of racism. The final essay will be full of ideas about what we can do as a community—real action in the real world—to make this world just for ALL citizens.
Let me say up front what I have come to believe. If we are not actively doing something to stem the tide of hatred, then we are complicit in its continuation.