Baton Rouge. Minneapolis. Dallas.
If there is any doubt that this is a messed up world, the last 2 days should clear that up. It is undeniable that we live at a crossroads of how we, all of us, mean to treat each other.
My childhood straddled the Civil Rights movement. In 1963 when Martin Luther King stood on the steps of the of the Lincoln Memorial, I was 11 years old. That speech, made 53 years ago in August, spoke of the “promissory note to which every American was to fall heir”. I reread Dr. King’s speech today and would suggest you do so too. Many of those same injustices and struggles continue to confront us now.
I lived in a world of privilege, a white, middle-class upbringing in middle America. I never worried about what fate my father or brother or husband or son might meet with doing ordinary errands. People don’t, as a rule, lock their car doors when I walk nearby, nor does the conversation stop when I enter a store. So as far as understanding what it means to be
of color and living in the United States, I cannot possibly understand the depth of hurt and resentment and anger. But I can do something.
Whether someone looks the same or different from me, I can look that person in the eye
and smile. I can nod and say hello. I can be more mindful of the subtle speech that telegraphs cultural and racial differences and take care to object to generalities. I can stand strongly against those politicians who would use the language of intolerance to garner votes.
We are at a clear crossroads and it is time for some introspection into the kind of world we want to live in.