I have had a few people tell me recently that our country isn't racist.
It sucks the breath straight out of my lungs and I wonder if we are speaking of the same "our country".
Something my daughter says often to friends of hers making ignorant or insensitive remarks echoes in my head.
"Be careful. Your white privilege is showing."
Her 15-year old heart feels injustice deeper than a physical cut. I can hear the sarcasm in her words, with undercurrents of compassion and sadness rippling below.
Our words, our beliefs, our emotions all ripple outward, don't they? They ripple through households, communities, countries, generations, and time.
We have to stop minimizing someone else's story just because we haven't lived it.
We have to stop letting our differences divide us, instead of weaving our ropes and strands and fragile threads together to become stronger, more vibrant, more free.
We cannot in good conscience say racism doesn't live here in our country, our foundations, and our long-held belief systems, because the moment we claim this, we become part of the problem.
I don't want to plug my ears because someone else's story is too ugly, too painful, or too unbelievable for my delicate sensibilities.
I don't want to close my eyes against the irritating grains of injustice scratching my corneas.
I don't want to say, "Well this issue is MORE important than yours because I haven't experienced yours."
I don't want to speak before I first listen long and hard. With my mouth firmly clamped shut and my prejudices turned off.
Just because someone's story isn't mine doesn't mean I can't link arms with them and become a soldier in their fight against wrong.
Wrong is wrong.
Racism is alive.
Pain is inside all of us.
Human is human.
I have to stand up.
I have to link arms.
I have to fight.
This post originally appeared on my FB page:
Image taken in Minneapolis, MN by Melissa Neeb