Yesterday, I walked out of our bedroom first thing in the morning, barely awake. I took one step wrong at the top of our steps and quickly found myself at the BOTTOM of the steps.
I’ve been thinking a lot about it since then.
You see…when I got to the bottom, I did that thing we all do after an accident. We feel pain to an extent…but then we have this period of time where we are scared to move. We don’t want to feel the extent of the pain. We’re unsure of whether anything is broken and just how severe the injuries we have just caused might be. We. Freeze.
I think a lot of us are in that place right now. White friends, I’m talking about you and I, here. We’re frozen…not quite sure we want to find out just how far the negligence and darkness we might find in our own hearts might extend if we open up to it.
We were raised to be “colorblind,” told that inside we’re all the same and that we should look past skin color to find the “sameness” inside us all.
The problem with this, is that our Black friends? They’re the ones feeling the real bruises. You see, the pain they’re experiencing because of our inability to search ourselves and open ourselves up to what is a reality to others is REAL. They know the extent of the injuries because they’re experiencing it. They’ve been experiencing it for longer than we can imagine.
When we claim “colorblindness,” we not only excuse our own ignorance, we perpetuate that pain.
You see: we are a BEAUTIFUL canvas of difference. It’s more apparent here than many other places in the world because of this “melting pot” mentality. But right now, and since the very founding of our country where “all men were created equally” yet slavery was permitted, that canvas is fractured. People are dying. People are hurting. People are SCREAMING out in pain, and we cannot remain blind and ignorant to it.
We must learn to see color. To embrace the differences that we find when we acknowledge them. To listen to our friends, to hear their stories, to say their names, and to stand by them, regardless of what that might mean about how we see ourselves, and how deep that darkness we find might go.
If we continue to move forward without acknowledging differences, we cannot embrace it and see the beauty in it. We cannot experience healing, and the gaps between us will only widen. We’ll remain frozen while our friends of color continue to feel the bruises and experience the pain.
We’ve got to unfreeze. We’ve got to dig deep and learn. We’ve got to listen. We’ve got to ask those around us to challenge us when they see wrongs. This is how we love those around us…this is what will bring healing and reconciliation and beauty from ashes. We must act now.