For the past couple of days, I have been angry. Perhaps that is not the best statement for today. Why for the past couple of days? Did the past several years not matter? Does history not matter? My cousin asked me if I saw the George Floyd video. I told her that I had not. I told her that I know that I would not be able to handle it because just hearing about it breaks my heart like I cannot express. I am trying to dig deep and find out why today I am crying. Is the movement finally reaching my ears? I don’t know.
I think it’s because of a blog post I read about a black college professor who was “detained” by the police because he apparently fit the description of some black suspect. When this professor was asked several times as to his location and where he came from, several times he calmly gave the same truth and yet he was not believed. And no one came and stood up for him. I think ultimately after being detained at the gas station for quite a while, the police let him go. The man recounts how he came close to possibly being killed because he said that if they wanted him to get in the police vehicle that would amount to him being guilty and he would not have accepted it and they would have ended his life for that. Here is the link to that post because it’s more effective coming from him.
A man who always has a warm welcoming smile, an open heart, and an internal kindness...He was black and that’s all the police will see of him.
I read the post and changed the image of the man to one of my favorite patients. A father who brings his children to my office. A man who always has a warm welcoming smile, an open heart, and an internal kindness. I look forward to him and his children coming to my office every 6 months. And when I read the story and thought about him and his face flashed before me, except he was the one detained by the police, I was shaking. I felt helpless. I wanted to help him. I wanted to scream, “you have the wrong man! Let him go!” but my story is part just a thought, but it could very much be true. Why couldn’t it? He was black and that’s all the police will see of him.
How many hearts and dreams need to be trampled upon and destroyed and desecrated before humanity can accept the price of America’s original sin? I read reports about how there are peaceable protests and yet they are being met with violence. Why? Because blacks do not have the right to an equal American life. They cannot be afforded the luxury of a peaceable protest. And there will be groups within the government or otherwise that will stir the pot and make the protests violent. Have they not bled enough? Will America only rest when every black man, woman and child is deleted? Why? What is their crime? Because from where I see it, the crime falls on this great nation. Throughout history we have taken away their access and power and yet they rise and I sure to God hope they continue to rise. May they rise and may their voices be heard until they are treated as full equals.
I want to talk a bit about myself and my culture because this color divide has to stop. I was born in South India and my earliest memories as a child was based on my color. I was called “blackie” and “shanie”. “Shanie” is a tamil word for cow dung because of the dark color of cow excrement. Yes, those are my memories and as a 47 year old woman, they are still quite vivid in my mind. In that culture, being a dark woman represents that you will not have as many offers for marriage, for a job, or otherwise. And it holds true today. I have heard of desi women today telling their children to stay out of the sun, not because of skin cancer, but because they will get dark. The worst fear of a mother is that her child will be dark. I have heard of children who said, I can’t go out in the sun, not till I get married. I will get dark and I no-one will marry me. Today as a racial divide continues to crumble our core of existence, I would like to call out all desi women who have ever reinforced this message to their children and other ears nearby.
I had to step back to my own story and to darkness to try to understand what it is that people fear about blacks. Or anyone who has a darker skin tone. Why does skin tone have such a systemic response? I don’t have the answer for that.
I’ve been yelling at my husband for the past few days about the injustice to the blacks. He has just listened quietly and said, “You are preaching to the choir”, but I am so angry. If I am so angry, how angry will a black person who has dealt with this their whole life, be? How much will they have had to withhold before the pressure cooker finally exploded? Don’t think about the violence and the looting and the protests. This is the price America pays for injustice. And will America pay back this price by indicting the officers? Will America pay back this price by treating blacks as equals and not as an inferior race? Martin Luther King had a dream. Perhaps we as Americans should have the same dream.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream… I have a dream that one day in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I am not the most eloquent writer but today I am compelled to write. I am not able to heal until I get this on paper. Perhaps expressing my thoughts will ease some of my burdens but what of the burdens that continue for our black Americans.
I’m not the most historically knowledgeable person. I’m getting through reading White Rage by Carol Anderson and I’ll be honest. It’s a tedious read. It’s information heavy, but history is history. I am understanding the other side and perhaps more people need to use empathy and stand with the other side. What side of history will you stand on? Our country is at stake here. We are at the brink of martial law and we are at the brink of losing our democracy.