The past few days have been filled with strife for the nation. There have been countless peaceful protests and horribly, there have been terrible riots and violence. It’s been awful and unproductive. I’ve posted on my personal social media pages several times that violence and rioting had no place in this protest—no matter who you were. I’ve condemned violence. I’ve celebrated people of all races and ethnicities coming together. I’ve also shared my thoughts and fears.
I recently posted the below on a personal account:
“I had a lady tell me that I have no idea what it’s like to have your husband leave the house every day and have no idea if he is going to come back home in the evening. He’s an LEO. I told her that I live it every day, not only my husband, but my son, and my fathers, brothers, brothers in love, nephews, etc.
I have plenty of LEOs in my family, so I get it. But I’ve been black my entire life and I get THAT more. #imjustsaying”
Immediately, my timeline entered into chaos. Someone stated that African-Americans weren’t the only race to have faced tragedies and to have been treated as slaves. My statement was I agreed, but that wasn’t the conversation. The conversation being held was that I did understand the fear of not knowing if your husband or son would come home when out because I’ve seen countless men and women of color that have not had that luxury. The conversation continued for quite a while and several friends and family who did not know the person with whom I was conversing started conversing with the person directly. I stepped back and allowed their conversations to continue as I believe dialogue is important. After the conversation stopped, I left it up because I believe my wall should be a place where all opinions are welcome, differing or not.
|All the stories my grandparents and great-grandparents told me of wars and things in Civil Rights times.|
I never thought I’d be seeing that play out in my lifetime.
Later, I watched the news with my husband and son and saw there seemed to be a lot of minorities being shown rioting. Again, this is wrong. But I wasn’t seeing the rioting and looting that was being captured on social media videos of other races causing damage, writing stereotypical language, etc. to make it look as if minorities were buying into the violent stereotype. The next morning I commented on it and had another productive conversation with another person. I walked away from both encounters thinking the conversations were productive and, while there was an agree to disagree, I felt each side had been respectfully heard.
I apparently was wrong. This evening, after taking a day break from social media, I received a message informing me that I was being immediately blocked and deleted as the person had no room in their life for racist friends. Wow. While I will be the first person to admit that racism is not limited to one particular race and that even perceptions can be seen as racist, I certainly have no issues with any person for race. The person, true to word, blocked and deleted me.
I was disappointed—not because I was called racist. I have been called much worse. I felt disappointment because I genuinely believed there were productive conversations being held that allowed people to speak their opinions, hear the opinions of others, and to do so in a respectful way that opened the door to future conversations. I felt like this person who has known me since before my oldest son was in my womb knows me so much better than that. I felt sadness for someone I’ve prayed for and with, who has done the same for me.
I recognize that the discussions of police brutality and racism are hard. I recognize that violence is WRONG. I don’t care who you are. Wrong is wrong. I understand emotions run high and I genuinely hope that one day this person and I will be able to sit down and have a conversation that leads to a reconciliation.
But should it not, I wrote this post for the purpose of encouraging you to continue having difficult conversations—in a respectful manner. Continue to share your thoughts and opinions. Unfortunately, there will be misunderstandings. There will be emotional responses. You may lose people who are genuinely dear to you. Pray for reconciliation and their health and strength, but do not stop the conversations.
I believe that we will never get anywhere in terms of a more peaceful nation until we all put down our defenses and open our minds to uncomfortable dialogues in the future.
Thanks for your time.