“Things are not getting worse, they are getting uncovered.”
I have to admit that as someone who practices mindfulness every day and works extremely hard to stay in my own energy – I’ve been sucked into the negativity lately. There are so many opinions (and very strong ones at that) surrounding the riots, George Floyd’s death, everyday racism, police brutality, among many more.
My head has been spinning as I’ve tried to understand everything in the best and most respectful way possible. And as I’ve watched almost every opinion be shut down in some way, no matter how helpful it seemed to be.
After days of research and watching countless videos, I’m still confused about a lot, but of a few things I’m sure:
Violence, destruction, looting, and rioting in general is never something I will stand behind. No matter how many times it’s worked in the past. To me, it is along the same lines as rewarding children for throwing a fit. It only gives them positive reinforcement to use the same tactics next time. Is this how we want our children that are watching to act in the future when things don’t go their way? I can understand being overwhelmed by anger and lashing out, but that doesn’t make your actions okay.
George Floyd should not have died in the way he did, no matter his past. The same goes for other members of the black, white, or brown community that have been killed at the hands of the police without reason.
Racism is something that does still exist today, and we should be teaching our children that we are all equal right from the beginning if we hope to see less division. Unfortunately for much of the older generation, their views cannot be changed. But the next generations can begin fresh, if we teach them to.
That point leads me to a personal opinion I’ve had since my son was in Kindergarten. I raised him in a unique way – and consciously chose not to explain the gender norms of our society. He liked baby dolls, so he carried a baby doll. He liked toys with pink and flowers all over, so he played with those too. He thought nail polish was pretty (especially the glitter kind) so I’d help him paint his nails. This was our normal. And I did the same when teaching him about people.
I taught no differences – we are all the same no matter the color of our skin or
the amount of money in our pocket.
The only differences are governed by behavior.
One day my son came home from Kindergarten confused. He asked me why “people with black skin” had to drink at a different water fountain or use a different bathroom in the past. I was shocked, upset, and immediately thought of complaining to the teacher, but my husband showed me reason.
I’ve never been a fan of teaching history. I think we should all try to focus on moving forward, but I can understand why the memories of people like Martin Luther King Jr. need to live on in our young. I can’t understand why we need to go into so much detail at such a young age and teach differences and division though.
Why can’t we let them decide? Why can’t we find a child-friendly way
to teach about MLK and leave the rest for when they’re older,
and able to understand?
My family lives less than a mile from where the La Mesa riots happened and know many of the business owners whose buildings have had destruction and are now boarded, hoping the riots are in the past. My husband and I watched hours of close-up footage from an undercover reporter while the looting and vandalism was happening. From what I saw, the people partaking in the destruction and stealing were just out to blow off some steam and take advantage of the situation.
I am a white woman who has experienced privilege my entire life, but I’ve also experienced being a friend and chosen family member to a black family. Before I continue though, let me be very clear – I know that what is going on is not about me. I would just like to share my perspective, and from what I’ve seen, there are many people of color asking the white community to do just that.
My mom’s best friend was a black woman. I knew her since I was born and called her “Auntie”. As a teenager, she was one of the first people other than my parents that I told about the abuse I endured as a child. She talked me through some of my most troubling years. My Auntie passed years ago, but had a huge impact on everyone she came across, and I looked up to her. She was classy, respected, funny, and had this heir about her that made you want to forever be a part of her world.
My Auntie, her husband, and their two kids were my family growing up. I attended multiple parties where a few members of my family (including my son) and I were the only white people there. We were always accepted, no questions asked. I don’t remember ever feeling like an outcast, or like someone that didn’t belong there. If it were the other way around, I can’t help but wonder if it would have been different – and that’s not right.
The first time I truly understood the dangers of racism was when my uncle
was shot by a white man while doing his job.
He walked onto his lawn to serve him court papers… So I can see why we are where we are.
I do not condone many of the behaviors I’ve seen from the police, and from racist white Americans. But I also don’t condone the violence, looting and extreme behavior by not only the black community, but by the white and brown communities as well.
And I think it should be okay that I say that, and not be deemed a racist.
There are monks and pacifists that of course, never believe that violence is the answer. Does that mean they are racist too? Or do they just have a belief and want the world to be a safer place for everyone?
It is human nature to watch this type of extreme behavior and see something wrong with it. It’s not human nature to be able to watch all of this (including the video of George Floyd), and have no reaction. The fact that that video is played over and over on the news proves just how much we as Americans are desensitized to violence.
I think that somewhere along the line we’ve all forgotten that
it’s okay to use our intuition in times like this.
We don’t have to acknowledge the memes we see calling us this or calling us that if we have certain beliefs. I’ve watched the black community show many different viewpoints – so why can’t the white community have their own opinions as well without being labeled?
Regardless, I have faith that all of the upheaval is showing the world exactly what is wrong with our society. Only by realizing what is not working, can we be pushed to make the change that is needed.