- Category: My Stomping Grounds
- Published: Thursday, January 19, 2017
- Written by Susan Wanderer
One year ago, while in first grade, our youngest Wanderer came home from school one afternoon full of thoughts on Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.
She was passionate and ready to preach…. and preach she did:
“Mama, did you know there was a time that peach people did not like brown people? This man right here (pointing to a photo of MLK) loved Jesus and kindness and peace and those mean people didn’t like him so they killed him! Mama, SERIOUSLY? What is wrong with those people? You know what, Mama? If Martin Luther King Jillian (I don’t know, I didn’t interrupt) had not loved Jesus, brown people and peach people… WE MAY NOT BE FAMILY. And that’s the truth! He was a good good man.”
Amen and Amen, littlest Wanderer. Amen.
Last week was a hard week in our home. My husband and I are still processing all that transpired.
I second guessed all of my parenting, all of ANY Mama-wisdom I thought I had poured out to my kids.
We talk about race and racism on a fairly consistent basis in our home. We talk about the past and hope for better for the future. Our kids understand the uniqueness of our family.
What I learned last week: I can prepare my kids with stories of the past and hopes for the future… but until they come face to face with racism on their own, they will not fully understand how racism feels NOW.
Right now, we are working through the emotions of what it feels like to be told the lie that you are less-than who you thought you were.
Racism is ugly and mean and it tears down any bit of decency in its path. When we stand silent and refuse to have necessary conversations with the generations behind us, we allow this disgusting behavior to continue.
I am a white mom raising three black kids. They are beautiful, smart, funny, Jesus-loving kids and I'll be darned if anyone will treat them anyway other than the incredible amazing humans that they are.
However, I’m learning I don't have this Super-Mom power to stop the hate towards my children. I must prepare them for the path. I CAN be a voice to perhaps alter the path and make it better. Less silence. More action.
Humanity has lost its awareness of its own depth & meaning. Humanity, all of humanity, are image carriers of God & should be treated with the value He has placed on them. On us.
To remain silent in our homes, in the conversations around our dinner tables, is where racism wins.
If you are a white family, begin to learn about the life-journey of your friends of color. And if you don't have friends of color... perhaps that is where you need to begin.
To be vocal & verbal about racism and race relations within your own tribe brings fresh awareness & a change in conversation. Then eventually this provides an altering of behavior to be handed down to the next generation.
Do not stay silent. Speak. Stand for what is right. Create space in your home for the next generation to be difference makers in how we care for and treat humanity.
White families – let's no longer make excuses for our passivity. We can do better. We can do better for our kids, for our neighbors’ kids and for the generations behind and ahead of us. We have the ability to improve race relations by actually loving our neighbors. Our kids act out the behaviors they see. Let’s allow them to see us making a difference and widening our circles.
And to the ones of you who are already doing this... you are a gift! You are a shining example to others of how to love and live well. Keep on keeping on.
We have much work to do.
Lace up; we are continuing the march.