Lately, #WhiteLivesMatter has interrupted the headlines. Maybe it’s because Charlottesville is close to my childhood home or because I have little ones, but this moment in history has convicted me deeply.
You’ve got to show love to everyone, Lauren.
I’ll admit, sometimes I just get lazy. I rush through a store when I know I should take more time to speak with the cashier. I disappear into my phone when I wait in line with strangers. And, perhaps most often, I feel like I meet my “kindness quota” through teaching.
But, still, it isn’t enough.
Experts say that fighting racism on an individual level is actually quite simple: form relationships with members of races outside of your own. But, for those of us who are white, are we actively doing that on a regular basis?
(I think we could all use a little work.)
So this weekend, I completed my first homework assignment. Listen to the stranger who needs to be heard. She happened to be a single mother of six. And African-American.
I tested the waters with a motherhood joke, and she swiftly welcomed me into her life. For her, race was a nothing.
The whole interaction was like that classic book that you own that has always intrigued you and that you know you should read, but, yet, you can’t bring yourself to opening. And once you do, well, you can’t stop reading.
Over the course of our hour together, she revealed invaluable motherhood insights (e.g. television and technology are only permitted for weekend use following a week of good behavior); she challenged single mother stereotypes (her children follow a well-oiled routine, including balanced meals and early bedtimes); and she inspired my calling (“I’m tryin’ to make sure all of my babies graduate college.”).
But, perhaps, the richest nugget came in our final moments together. Just before our conversation, I had observed that #WhiteLivesMatter was trending on Twitter. Another rally. As I bid this lovely woman farewell, I couldn’t escape my own reconciliation:
Her life matters more than my own.
So, if you find yourself discouraged and depressed by what you see in the news, I have the solution:
Step outside the box of complacency. Embrace what you can’t yet understand. And bask in all that you unlearn along the way.
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