If the year 2020 taught me anything at all, it’s that there is so very much that I don’t know. It’s not because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and fighting an invisible enemy — it’s much worse than that. There is an enemy out there that is far more deadly to the body, heart and soul. It is visible, and it’s as grossly ugly as it is destructive — racism.
What 2020 has taught me is that I truly do not know the plight, fight and struggle that my black sisters and brothers face every day of their lives. I really mean I have no idea.
I always prided myself on loving and respecting all of God’s children no matter what. There’s the problem — pride. I’m not a racist and I thought that was enough. I’m a fool and I’m embarrassed for being such a fool.
I don’t know why I was born white. I don’t know why I was born a man. Only God can answer that. But what I’m learning more and more each day is that being born white and male comes with incredible advantages and privileges and opportunities that others in this country just don’t have. Why? Because for some reason, they were born of a non-Caucasian ethnicity, or female, or both.
Again, only God can answer why they were born that way. What God doesn’t have to answer is why that matters. Mankind took that cold, calculated, cruel step all by itself. White mankind to more specific. That’s not to say racism doesn’t exist outside the United States. It does and always has. But I wasn’t born elsewhere, I was born in America, the “land of the free and home of the brave.” Except, too many aren’t free and that’s because of cowardice, not bravery.
Slavery was abolished by Abraham Lincoln with the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862-63. But not the slavery of racism. Blacks made major strides toward equality with thanks to brave people like Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and countless others, many of whom gave their lives for the cause leading to the Civil Rights Act in 1964. But in fact, the Act didn’t bring equality, it didn’t eradicate racism.
No political act or proclamation will squash the scourge of racism. Only a change of hearts, minds, and souls will.
I don’t know what it’s like to be a Black man in America. I don’t know what it’s like to enter a store and be watched like a hawk because of my color. I don’t know what it’s like to be pulled over by the police because my skin is dark. I don’t know what it’s like to have suspicions cast my way because I’m Black. I don’t know what it’s like to worry about my children out in the streets at night, wondering if they’ll be killed because of their race. I’m not a racist, but I never gave any of this thought before George Floyd’s gruesome murder. I don’t know why I didn’t, and I’m sorry for that.
If you’re not part of the solution, then you’re part of the problem. I’m not a racist, but in 2020 I learned that I’m part of the problem because I haven’t been part of the solution of burying racism in this country. I don’t know why. Maybe I’ve been too comfortable, too complacent, too selfish to give it thought. And to my brothers and sisters who experience the hell of racism, I’m sorry for not changing my heart to teach others to change theirs about your plight, fight and struggle.
Maybe this column is a tiny step in the right direction to tell others that no one, NO ONE, is more important in God’s eyes than another. God created all people, not just white males. I know in my heart that racism breaks God’s heart.
There is a lot of hate and anger and violence and destruction out there, and there are those of us who see it and shake our heads in disgust. Why? Because it upsets us.
Well 2020 has taught me that I am not them and I have no idea the hurt and demeaning my brothers and sisters have endured to have such anger and frustration. I don’t know that pain.
I do know that I love. All. And I know I have to listen, learn and act to be a part of the solution to end racism in this country. I know that now in 2020.