I grew up not knowing the differences of race.
I grew up wishing I was of a different one but alas, I stay caucasian.
Making friends was easy and the ones that stole my heart until this day in my 26th year have fought against an invisible force that I could never see…
2020 has brought many disasters and tragedies but one tragedy that awoke a storm of rebellion was the death of George Floyd.
This rebellion has cost me a fair few friendships and it was account of my inability to rest on the fact that I had nothing to do with racism nor have I ever let it be spewed around me…
So I had thought..
The problem was the use of I.
I, Alex, have never been at the same end that any person of colour has been in.
Yes, I have been judged by my skin but by people that I just pressed more love onto to let them know that hate was not of my nature.
This act alone did not excuse years and years of treatment set upon by others of my race.
This alone did not right the wrongs that set forth this divide of us all that was there far before the riots even occurred.
And it is not their fault, I’d say it was all of our faults for never trying to put a stop to it from the beginning.
All along this fight I have heard voices of so many and knew there was some truth to it all but didn’t know where to stand.
I am white there for I could agree, but not stand with my friends on the topic.
My family lay claim to loving all and I saw that with my upbringing but I also know the little jokes were a form of putting a category on race of any one of our friends.
I did not understand that of which I had woken up today understanding.
That I have failed in the respect that I sought to give my best friends and even strangers who I had claimed to give and have their best interests at heart.
I had taken part in the division of right and wrong but not casting aside my side to see the various views of so many in the present and in the past.
Even further; how it is being portrayed today.
A friend, a sweet soul, one that couldn’t bare the screams of justice and the unanswered calls had passed on fighting for this to be seen.
She may have given me a few thoughts but all together; she gave me a chance to see what was there and I thank her so much.
If I didn’t wake up thinking of flowers and exchanging a message with our mutual friend I would have probably not awaken to truth.
Not yet at least.
A video on my feed featured a mother and father of a wrongly accused son of stealing a girls phone in a hotel lobby in NYC.
I don’t know the extent of how far this escalated; imprisonment, harassment, etc but it tore a hole through his parents hearts to see it happen and seeing their tears sent a spike through mine.
The pain of the stereotyping they had gone through and the dad being right there to protect his son but not being able to fully protect him from the media, police, and this shouting woman saying he stole her phone.. what?
She literally pushed and punched this late teen accusing him of something so minuscule it could hardly be called against the law and of which he did not even commit.
The comments on the post were what really drove it home for me though;
A man of colour from Europe commented about understanding and peace after seeing all the comments against the 22 y/o girl who was to blame for the assault of the boy and his father but he was proposing how it all could have been handled a different way with peace and good judgement.
Following that comment a man from NYC said “you can say so much from beyond the fence but you don’t know what it is like here on this side.”
It struck me differently this time.
I was clearly not on that side of the fence either and maybe I was speaking a little too highly for my place of position.
I knew back when the torches were thrown at my name that I wasn’t all that right for speaking on the topic publicly because it was a response to seeing a sister to me say that she’s never felt welcomed in a white person’s home… All I thought was she was always welcomed in my home.
But she was not talking about me, she was referring to white society as a whole.
She was talking about the difference between a person of minority’s perception of acceptance in the home or even vicinity of a white person’s property and you know what?
I totally understand that.
How many times when you were a kid did you hear the distinct differences of black skin and white skin?
How many jokes were said in spite of who we said them to on the perceived habits of their race?
How many movies, TV shows, and music played upon people’s differences and the distinct unacceptance of different cultures coming together to culminate a multicultural society of peace.
None of it was ever right. I should have seen it the way it truly was not how just I had seen it.
Blindness to the absurdities put on to our fellow man, woman, and child.
For that we owe it to tear down our walls of what we know to fully understand how we can move forward.
When the word educate is brought up, it is meant to be the acceptance of the sociology of how this all unfolded and the behaviour we have to reconstruct to build our better, more bonded future.
For our friends, for our families, for the strangers we have yet to meet;
We must make this world the best that we can!
One ear at a time.
We can and will build our future together.
There is no ‘I’ anymore, only we.
And we can hear the pain of many and correct all that has been wronged.
Just to see the viewpoint of someone who isn’t you.
Someone who lives a totally different life than your own.
When I was in 4th grade we read National Geographic magazine every Friday and the one I recall most was one about what the mass of the population will look like in 2040.
The woman on the front page was darker toned skin with lighter multicoloured eyes.
The article read about how our species would procreate with multiple cultures and eradicate any specific culture from our common populace.
That aspect was so, so exciting for me and still is to this day!
To imagine that all different origins would the together make a far more intelligent and well adapted people than we ever will know.
That is all I had ever wished for since I was young enough to know that I couldn’t;t possibly know everything and the the closest I would ever come to it is traveling and meeting people from every origin.
Now they’d all be apart of one.
That is utopia to me.
And we may get to see that in our lifetime!
All races coming together, eliminating any social barrier and learning to love no matter the sexual orientation, religion, or heritage.
Love, they care about who they find love in as we all should.
Love creates understanding and strength.
That is what I look to in our future and that is what we all need now, love.