Who are we underneath?

I don’t know about anyone else but each day feels strange. A bit unsettled, maybe precarious and shaky, yet I look for the things that give me comfort – my beautiful plants, how funny and cute my grandson is, fighting the summer heat in my cool above ground pool, listening to all kinds of music, watching and reading about space travel, and sewing/quilting.

But thoughts come seeping in.

Matthew 7:12 New International Version (NIV). 12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you…

Who will we be in a year? Who do we want to be? I hope and pray I will be a loving and accepting person who emulates Jesus and the way he treated everyone with love. I want to see the institutionalized racism in effect since the civil war eradicated. This can only be done by people who see it for what it is, and accept nothing more than equality. It may take a few generations for this to truly happen, with the federal and state governments eliminating the use of “redlines” around undesirable neighborhoods based on the racial makeup to reduce the property value and tax based for infrastructure to discourage improvements and developments.

Whether your name is Todd or Shaquille, your college application should be viewed with equality not whether your name sounds black or white. There is no place for a biased perception where educating our youth is concerned. All youth. 

 As far as I know, there were no slave owners in my family, however I grew up with a grandfather who was a racial bigot and saw no wrong in it. He believed as many from his generation and the generation before him that _____(and he used the N word) couldn’t take care of themselves, that they were like dumb little children you had to look after. He saw no harm in the word, and laughed when I told him I would rather he said “colored” than that word. He was once asked what he would do when he got to heaven and blacks were there? “God wouldn’t do that to me,” was his response. I loved him, but I disagreed with him completely, and didn’t shy away from telling him so which got me in trouble.

The picture below shows the truth. There is not a white or black arm there, but beautiful shades of flesh. Take away that covering and you could not tell the difference. This is how we need to look at people. Treat others the way you want to be treated. It goes for everyone, every human. 

Comments are always welcome.

“Come on people now,

smile on your brother,

everybody get together,

try to love one another right now.”

Cheers!

-N

 

 

 

You’ve Got To Be Taught

Any city USA:

The call comes in, suspect in a robbery. The witness describes a white male, approximately 5’10” tall with dark, shoulder length brown hair, sunglasses, jean and a navy hoodie. As the police are patrolling they see six different white men in a group on the street as they drive, but don’t stop to question them because obviously they don’t resemble the description of their suspect provided by the middle aged white woman.

The call comes in, suspect in a robbery. The witness describes a black man in jeans and hoodie. Police patrolling see a black man walking his dog wearing sweatpants and a grey t-shirt. They pull up beside him, telling him to stop, call for backup and ask him who he his, where is he going, where does he live, what is he doing. The man is shocked, scared, nervous, and reluctant to say anything. The cop reads his behavior as suspicious and as two patrol cars pull up the cop yanks the dog’s leash from the man’s hands, and push him against the car to handcuff him. His dog is barking, the man begins to ask why he is in custody, the other officers have guns drawn and in a matter of moments this man has lost the right of innocent until proven guilty; the benefit of doubt. The witness was a middle aged white woman.

You wonder why people of color distrust police?

My sweet German Shepherd was traumatized last Friday after being trapped under our back porch while escaping the loud thunder and winds of a storm that blew through. She was trapped for several hours and has since become very reluctant to go outside to do her business for fear of being trapped.  We have to go outside with her because of her learned fear.

People of color, because of past experience have developed a learned response. They have experienced bias, neglect, distrust, and fear based solely on their race. Expectations passed down from generations of family, friends, and cultures which they have had no reason to discard based on their everyday experiences.

A line from Casablanca in response to a murder, “Round up the usual suspects,” is the reaction of rogue bigots in law enforcement and those usual suspects are often not white.

I am not saying that white people are not judged solely on appearance, have you ever seen a nasty white dude hooked on meth? I was profiled by a cop because the peeling paint on my car made him think I didn’t have insurance – big $$ ticket for him. He came up with an extremely lame excuse for why he pulled me over. It felt awful.

What I’m saying is there are years-decades-centuries of people of color given no quarter, always under suspicion, the first to be accused, the person who is treated aggressively, the one who expects to be the focus of distrust, and without merit they are categorized as unintelligent, immoral, underhanded, brutal and lazy. This has to stop with us, now, all of us. All humans.

When a child is told every day to steer clear of cops because they will not keep you safe and they don’t like you because you are black. When they see a brother or uncle aggressively searched and handcuffed because they were in a group on the street in front of their house and must be up to no good so the cops decided to stop anything before it starts. When they are in a not too busy restaurant waiting to be served and watch as a family of white people get seated, drink orders taken and given menus from wait staff who haven’t even looked at them. What is that child supposed to think?

I’ve seen behavior by white humans who get obnoxious and yell at a server for messing something up or taking too long, demanding the manager who came and did their best to assuage the customer, that a person of color would never attempt because they know it will go very bad for them. I hear “what about black on black crime?” “what about all the whites killed by cops?” Listen to what you are saying! You can’t justify, gloss over, and dismiss any thing with these statements. It’s all bad.

My young cousin was incensed that cops were wearing black ribbons across their badges “hiding their numbers” while working the riots. I told him it is common protocol to do this for a fallen officer. His statement was why do this now when it inflames the situation? My thought was why did the rioters wear full-face covered masks? Humans are hiding behind masks, rhetoric, and bias which keeps the others from hearing. Who will be the voice that both sides will listen to, the one voice that can radiate calm and focus on the fact that this situation has been brewing for centuries not just in the last ten years of people shaking the bottle ready to let it explode.

You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught-Oscar Hammerstein II “South Pacific”

You've got to be taught to hate and fear

You've got to be taught from year to year

Its got to be drummed in your dear little ear

You've got to be carefully taught

You've got to be taught to be afraid

Of people who's eyes are oddly made

And people who's skin is a different shade

You've got to be carefully taught

You've got to be taught before it's too late

Before you are six or seven or eight

To hate all the people your relatives hate

You've got to be carefully taught

You've got to be carefully taught

-N

My Amazing Village – Great Neighbors

Last Friday hubby and I drove to Phoenix so he could help Melissa put down new flooring on the stairs and a powder room, while I occupied Charlie. We got there around 1pm and they got to work straightaway. Charlie and I made Chocolate Chip Banana bread, then once that was done and cooling he and I left for my sisters house so Charlie could swim (burn off energy) and visit with them. She has a wonderful kids room for her grand kids and when Charlie saw it his first expression was “Whoa, wow!” He proceeded to be occupied for a while as us grown-ups chatted.

I did a Marco Polo message to Melissa asking if they were ready for our return and was told only if we brought food! I can do that – it meant a Whataburger trip.

What I love best about her place is the nearly next door proximity to a Whataburger.

So Charlie and I headed toward home via the Whataburger stop – drive thru only – and while we waited for our order Charlie got more and more annoyed that everyone else seemed to be getting their orders “Too long!” “Nannie where’s ours?” After at least 5 minutes of this grumpyness we got the order and drove home.

The next hours were spent eating, Charlie playing on the iPad, and Melissa and her dad getting a lot done. It was dark and I worried about our dog Millie. We left her outside for the day because we were going to be home that night and we didn’t need a big dog and Charlie underfoot during construction.

My niece Trinity called her mom Heather (who is my go to house/cat/dog sitter) because she has a key to our house to ask if she would go over and let Millie in. Heather went over and Millie was no where to be found. She always comes when you call. Heather called me back very upset and I told her I would call my neighbors to see if they might have spotted her or had her. Heather headed home with the statement she was going to drive around the neighborhood looking and calling.

I called Sandy, then Jayne, left a voice mail for Jan, and then called Sylvia. Sandy also contacted the neighbor behind her. Sylvia went outside where her husband and son where hanging out. While she was telling them about Millie they heard a bark in the direction of our house, it didn’t move around the acre, but seemed to be coming from one spot. We share a property boundary with them. Sylvia called me to tell me and I gave the guys my okay to check. They looked into the back yard and said the barking was coming from our back porch. As she was telling me this, Sandy called to tell me she saw the guys and heard Millie’s bark.

I called Heather again to ask if she could go back and see if she could get Millie from under the porch. She was able to get my very scared girl out, with lots of hugs, and inside the house. The porch is enclosed with one small opening, but when she pushed her way in it prevented her from getting out. We don’t know how long she was there, but there had been a quick thunderstorm come through late afternoon with strong winds and noise which make her very nervous. We think she hid from it.

Millie was well and truly traumatized by this and it has taken several days for her to relax completely. We took her for a drive to Tractor Supply where they love up on her and give her treats. Then spent lots of time cuddling and spoiling her.

All this to say I have the BEST neighbors ever! We have all lived in the neighborhood for decades. Hubby and I won the neighbor lottery. I cannot express how grateful I am to know I can call when I need help, and they are there for me, and they know the same from me.

Cheers!

-N