This is another on of those times I feel deeply saddened, sickened, shamed, by the intolerance and hate of my country. I’ve been struggling to reach a place where I can write this post for a few days now. My life is a bit unsettled, to say the least, and everything I do seems tainted with a hurt deep in my heart. But I’m going to try to write this, even though I’m hurting and selfish and in a place where I have to inventory my every motive and make lists of really basic things to insure my simplest needs are met. It will pass. I know this. I will be OK.
I’m not going to rehash the terrible news of more people dead for their race and/or religion. It’s too traumatic and disgusting. These are human lives we are talking about. I can’t and won’t feed the spectacle of using pictures or links showing or describing horrific violence. There seems to be what is almost a pornography of violated bodies. I wonder how people would react to endless images (and descriptions) of mutilated white, Christian men? We don’t show those on TV. But that isn’t this post.
This post is because if you aren’t one of those white, Christian men I want you to know that I will walk with you. I will give you a ride. I will pray with you. I will believe you. I will walk with you and then I will walk back with you. I will give you a ride and then I’ll take you home again. I will wait until I know you are safely in your home (or school or mosque or grocery store or place of employment) before leaving.
Sometimes I feel so small and helpless in this world of such suffering and hate. There is so little I can really do. I’m a single-mom and a full-time university student. Out of time and out of money sum up most of my life. And I am so damn lucky. No one shoots me on my way to church. No one tries to intimidate me out of my neighborhood. But I do know the terror of being a target, of fleeing my home with the clothes on my back. I know what that feels like. I know what it is to be harassed and taunted and stalked. I can’t offer anyone pity. But I can say “I know that feeling and I’m with you” and really mean it.
This post is because if you are Christian I have a little reminder – we are commanded to walk the extra mile, even if it’s for an enemy soldier who conscripted us to carry his gear. We don’t just walk with people as far as they say – we double it. We should keep in mind, always, that Jesus loved people as they were. He healed anybody who came to him and he didn’t require that they convert first. There were no conditions on his willingness to walk with people.
This post is for my fellow white people – you have nothing to fear from people of color. I’ve lived as a minority my whole life. That’s right, in New Mexico non-Hispanic white people are a minority and have been for a loooong time. It’s not scary. It’s not dangerous. Chill out. Make friends. Be friendly. Yes, sometimes I’ve had to deal with some really uncomfortable feelings. Just today I started to write something about school lunches in a multicultural community and realized I’d better shut up. Our feelings won’t kill us and facing them is a critical part of unlearning the racism and privilege we are born into.
This post is for all men. It’s OK to be scared. It’s OK to ask for help, to want someone to walk with you. It’s OK to have feelings. And, if you aren’t a potential target, if you are the “right” (I want to puke writing that) color or religion, believe people when they share their fear, when they talk about harassment and being victims of sexism, racism, Islmaphobia. Deal with your own discomfort, don’t, ever, dismiss their concerns. It might be a death sentence them. There’s blood on your hands every time you turn a deaf ear and hard heart to someone’s experience of injustice.
Maybe I haven’t got much to offer in the way of changing the world, or even my own miserably hypocritical country, but, ya know what, I’m brave enough to change the things I can. Me. I can change me. And I can change who I walk with and where I walk to and from. I will walk with you, whoever you are and where ever you need to go. I will grieve with you for the loss of life, I will cry with you for the injustice of hate, I will scream with you until we are heard.
Sometimes my motives are questionable. I’ve been looking at this the last few days. But I am really sure that systemic oppressions are really one big, ugly knot of razor wires and that we have to unravel it all together. If that wire cuts you, it will cut me. And if it cuts me, it will cut you, too. I believe that as long as any one suffers and experiences injustice, so do I. I can’t save anyone, least of all myself. If we don’t walk together we’ll all be dead. That’s how this world works. And me, I’ll walk with you