Small Eyes…Again

Five years ago, Ethan was being asked about his eyes from kids at school. I wrote about it here: Why Are Your Eyes Small? A couple weeks ago, the topic came up again this time from his younger brother. Connor is in 3rd grade. During a family dinner, he mentioned that he gets asked about his eyes at school probably much in the same way his older brother did. I wish I could remember exactly what he told me his response was to the question, but all I remember is that I gave him a high 5 over the salad bowl. In other words, he had a response, and I must have liked it. He had a response maybe because we have had these conversations before. He told me that another time he remembered something I had said about his eyes don’t NEED to be as big but can still see the same things. Again, I don’t remember exactly what I had said in past conversations, but I do know that my desire was for my boys to feel that the differences they have from the majority here are NOT deficits. And maybe in fact, some of those differences (counter to how they are made to feel) could actually be assets. To maybe make them feel less like freak shows and more like champions.

To that extent, I am less worried about my younger son needing to feel like a champion. This kid is abundantly blessed (blinded?) with an extremely high self-esteem. I seriously have no idea where he gets it because his father and I are not ones to coddle or inflate. In fact, we probably should praise our kids more. We are more likely to need to focus on positivity in our home because our default can be the opposite. Somehow, in the midst of this UN-lovey-dovey environment, Connor will tell us very matter-of-factly how great he is. “Mommy, I’m really good at (basketball, an iPad game, punting footballs, etc.).” He says it with a straight face, and no doubt believes it 100%. It cracks me up every time a new declaration is made. In last night’s dinner conversation, he calmly stated, “I’m really good at rock climbing.”

But still, our overly secure son brought up the small eyes comments again last night. This time he actually said that he gets “made fun of.” That slight change in description brought a barrage of questions from my husband and me. Is he SURE they are making fun of him? Are they just curious and simply asking honest questions? Does it sound like mean teasing, or they just aren’t used to having friends that look like you? I realized that in the questioning, I was hoping to be able to extend the benefit of the doubt. I was hoping like crazy that they were innocent questions of childhood. When cynicism overrode hope for a split second so that protective mama bear pictured her cub getting made fun, one question slid its way into the barrage at the end: do you want me to go beat them up for you? (Thankfully, he did not even humor that question with his attention because as he has matter-of-factly stated before, “I’m really mature for my age.”)

He instead says that when he described the school conversations to Ethan that his older brother told him that they were racist. Oh, dang. I hope my kids do not use that word lightly. They have seen movies like Selma (after which Connor especially asked me repeatedly why people were so racist). They know in that movie that racism involved blatant discrimination and horrific violence. I know they are not experiencing those latter things at school, but perhaps they recognize the roots of racism. It then suddenly feels like a lot of pressure to know how to tailor these dinner table conversations so that their responses can be catalysts to allow those roots to fizzle out and die rather than grow into  full-blown nightmares. I know in my head that the responsibility should not be theirs or ours. And in fact that most likely the root results rest in the hands of the families of the questioners. But still…my kids and some of their friends are the ones that will be more effected by those results than the questioners, so I still feel the pressure a little. More than pressure though, I want the guidebook on effectively handling these conversations and situations as a mother who loves her children and wants the very best for them.

I hope and pray it is simple childhood curiosity and innocent questioning. Many Asians who are used to being tokens or one of many know that feeling and can often differentiate when it is ignorance versus malicious racism. Ironically, their current school is almost 10% Asian which is higher than I expected. I had thought with this higher percentage they would be around others like them and the student body would also be more familiar with those that looked like them. But Connor gets asked these questions a lot here regardless. And growing up in a city like Tucson, they will definitely be tokens who stand out.

Standing out doesn’t just mean that people mistake you for the other Asians in town. It also means you don’t get the benefit of blending in as much. So when you talk back to a speeding car in your neighborhood who felt the need to stop and chastise you for not wearing reflective clothing at dusk, you are aware that now you will be easily spotted as the mouthy Asian girl from that particular driver. I couldn’t tell you who that driver was if I ran into him face-to-face again (Jeff Gordon maybe judging by his speed around the corner), but he could possibly remember me as one of only a small handful of Asian ladies in the neighborhood. When I make a funny (smart aleck) comment on the subdivision’s Facebook page, I realize now everyone could have opinions about that Asian girl who will be easier to spot than most other random commenters on the page. Sorry to all other Asians who may now bear the burden of my talking back, smart aleck mouth as representative of ALL Asians.

One day after millions of family dinner conversations maybe Connor will add to his repertoire, “I’m really good at handling conflict, representing my ethnicity, educating ignorance, and combating racism.” My motherly hope is that he will not just be “really good” at it, but that he will be a true champion.

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In the Spirit of Christmas

A couple days ago, my boys earned a lump of coal for Christmas. While they sprinted to start their iPad time, their quick mama noticed that the requisite piano practicing seemed shorter than it was supposed to be. Turns out, it was. Deliberately. They set timers for their piano playing, and my little deceiver set his timer short on purpose. I was not happy. Nor am I as quick as I thought because apparently they had done this repeatedly in the past. I really do not like being lied to, especially by my children. Their precious, beloved, almost sacred iPad time got significantly shortened. Two can play the shortened timer game! Plus they had to think about what they did with a writing exercise.


I think they are pretty good kids even with these sneaky transgressions. It would take a lot more than cheating on their piano time for them to actually get coal and no gifts. A LOT. Supposedly, Santa brings presents for the nice and coal for the naughty. Well, that’s not necessarily the case for our Santa. Our Santa always seems to bring them presents even when they pull stunts like this.

I love the magic of Christmas but am also aware of the unfairness of Santa on a larger scale. Kids with big hearts but little resources can get worse than coal, while kids with rotten attitudes may still get the best gifts money can buy (before they end up tripping basketball players for Duke). But parents tell this seasonal bribe for the hopes of better behavior (and who doesn’t need a little help with this!?), but also because there is something about the sentiment that rings true for us. Good behavior deserves rewards. Bad behavior deserves the opposite. We can extend behaviors to the entirety of a person. Good people deserve rewards. Bad people deserve the opposite. It sounds right, and in essence, it is. It just doesn’t always get played out rightly like it should in this imperfect world.

Last week, the boys and I spent an evening writing holiday cards to people incarcerated in our state. Connor didn’t seem to understand why we needed to do this. He said, “But they’re prisoners so….” and his tone suggested an ending such as they did something wrong, they deserve to be in there, and so why should we write to them. He and his brother are too young to read The New Jim Crow or Just Mercy. I doubt I could get them to watch 13th on Netflix instead of Star Wars Rebels. I want them to know why we do what we do, so I attempted an explanation.

Me: “Have you ever done anything wrong before or made any mistakes?”
Ethan: “DUH! Of course.”
Me: “Imagine that I sent you to your room. Then I made you stay there forever so that you had to miss Christmas, opening presents under the tree, and being with your family. How would you feel?
Boys: “Sad.”
Me: “Sometimes the system that is set up to be right doesn’t always get played out rightly by people who also can make mistakes. This can be true especially for people who are poor or face prejudice. Remember how you’d feel if I sent you to your room forever so that you missed Christmas, and try to write things that would cheer them up if you were them.”

I cannot say for sure, but I think that Connor’s subsequent silence held the formation of a new way of thinking. If his thinking was challenged and he began to see the humanity in someone he previously thought as less than himself, then it was well worth the time spreading Christmas cheer to someone behind bars. Maybe he will grow up to see this in all people. To see himself in someone no matter how different (or undeserving) they may seem on the surface. Or even better, to put that empathic connection into action.

I hope this season we all can try to see this common humanity in others, even those that we have a hard time putting in any other category than “UGH!!!!” (For me, that can be bigly hard.) When we promote the spirit of Christmas, it isn’t simply to correct wrongly played out truths, like helping Santa be what we say he is without real-world constraints. It is far better than the spirit of Santa. The spirit of Christmas is the world in its entirety truly deserving coal but being given the best gift that unconditional Love can buy. It showers upon us this abundance and the only proper way to respond is with thanksgiving and active imitation. To shower others with mercy and grace wrapped in Love whether we feel they deserve it or not. For all of us who has ever earned a lump of coal, God bless us, EVERY one. Merry Christmas!

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“S’UP!”

The date might be what most consider unlucky since it was the 13th, but my mother-in-law accurately said that November 13th was her husband’s lucky day. It was the day that he got to go to his true Home. It was the day that he no longer felt any of the aches and pains of arthritis or colitis or the various ailments of age and declining health. It was the day that he entered into the full glory of his foundational focus throughout his life – being in the unhindered, glorious presence of his God.

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Dad was born in NY, NY.

In my human imagination, I see him with his joyful grin entering the city of gold with wide-eyed wonder and delight. When he is shown the room that has been prepared for him, he asks if he can just have the campsite near the lake where the fishing is best. He is told of course that comes with it as well as the top-of-the line pontoon boat and a fresh thermos of coffee. I think he is served endless Dunkin Donuts. Since he gets the straight-from-the-source and angelic live version there, there is no longer a need for a portable radio to hear his beloved sermons and songs.

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He and his sister were MK’s

I only met my father-in-law around the last decade of his 77 years of life. It was just a fraction of time on the whole, but at least it was in the age of emails. With us always living hours and sometimes thousands of miles apart, we could communicate through this medium with ease. I will miss the group emails to Mike, Scott, Jenny, and me that started with “S’UP!” or “Guys, guys, guys” or “Guess what, guess what?!!?” He was eager to share many things with us whether a great sermon he just heard, a new book he loved reading, some interesting historical facts, his and mom’s gardening adventures, prayer requests, or sports tidbits. One of my latest emails from him simply said to Mike and me “Is you is or is you ain’t watching dem Bars?” He became a Michigan sports fan once he had relocated there, but he would egg us on about our Chicago teams like the Bears’ current season.

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50 years as loving spouses

He also had these precious emails with our boys. When Ethan brought home a sunflower seed from school, he provided what I (a black thumb) could not. He gave Ethan loads of advice on how to plant “Sunny” and sympathy when E later sent him a picture of Sunny’s grave. (My black thumb is really contagiously black.) When we got our dog Harper, there were plenty of emails about pet care since he and mom always had a pup in the house. He would even have his Tucker type “bow wow wow, arf, arf, bow wow” to the boys and Harper. Those emails were just one example of how he was such a loving grandpa.

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While visiting us in ABQ, he got to see the machine he worked with while serving in the Navy some 50 years earlier.

In their last visit with us, I was impatiently giving Ethan a stern lecture about his piano practicing. My exacerbation was clearly detectable and my words loaded with negativity. Dad just casually called from the couch how impressed he was with how well Ethan played. He said that when he was kid at a boarding house in Canada, he tried lessons but didn’t get that far. He smiled as he remarked how pleased he would have been had he been blessed with Ethan’s talent. He said with words loaded with love that he was so proud of his grandson. It was a million times more effective than my lecture and had Ethan turn around with a smile to finish practicing without complaint.

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Happy Grandpa

Dad Beckett did not have what this world would consider a lot. But he did not live for the aims of this world. There was no doubt that he had an intimate knowledge of and reliance on scripture. He had a verse for every occasion. Every Christmas he led us all in a time of family devotions to center us on the reason for the holiday. And every time we departed, he would lead us in a circle of prayer together.

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Mom & Dad in the latest church directory. They were faithful members of Bloomingdale Christian Church.

While he cared for others especially his family, he would never want to put anyone out for their care of him. It can be so humbling to have to rely on others when your body limits your independence and abilities. He had no choice but to depend on mom and others for many things. And each time, he would lament his bothering of those helpers as if asking for a mug of coffee was the same as asking for you to donate your kidney. He never took the things others did for him for granted. His deep humility only grew. Politics can be heated but especially so in an election year like this one. Yet even when we were on different sides of certain issues, he had such grace and humility that our exchanged emails felt constructive and edifying when the rest of the world resorted to name-calling or far worse.

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They got to visit us in Tucson just a couple weeks ago.

I am thankful that my boys were able to have known their paternal grandpa enough to mourn the loss of him. I pray they will heed their grandma’s tearful and heartfelt words to them and their cousins to follow Christ as that is what their Papa would have wanted the most. He left a legacy not of worldly possession or renown but something far greater in value. He left a legacy of faith that will continue to bear eternal fruit. We grieve the separation from him now but anticipate with hope and joy the reunion to come.

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A Candle’s Lit. The 80’s Play

A candle’s lit.
The 80’s play.

You went Home
One year today.
One (whole) year….

But grief remains.

You should’ve been able to say,
“Happy 4th, my son” yesterday.

The things you’ve missed…
And how you’re missed…

A candle’s lit.
The 80’s play.

You’re free from pain
In heaven’s glory,
Maybe you’d say
It’s better this way.

But grief remains.

It feels unfair…
Anniversaries…birthdays…mundane details of an average day…
You should be there.

I remember…
Your zest for life!
Your sense of justice
For doing what’s right.

A candle’s lit.
The 80’s play.

I remember…
You went Home today.

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Mom Sighs & Savors

Our Tooth Fairy is really bad. She might even be the worst. It is not unusual for her to be late. She has written apology notes, added interest to the going rate, and been such a repeat offender than even calendar reminders have been ineffective. The latest failure was enough to put her on probationary status here. DAYS (not even sure how many, so THAT many) after the tooth went under the pillow, she somehow remembered and panicked. She felt under the pillow to no avail (dang, Ethan’s head is big and heavy!) and the load of guilt was so large that she dropped the money without a traded tooth even though her husband said to forget about it all. The next day the customer placed the bright green box containing the tooth prominently on his bedside table. The money under the pillow had been successfully retrieved and put away without a single word. Husband’s guess that the gig was up started to sink in as the Fairy felt her fairy days drifting away.

Ethan is almost 11 years old. As a 5th grader, he has noticed other kids his age sitting in the front seat of their cars at school pick up. He has asked to do the same since school started, but I wasn’t ready yet. For some reason, it signified change: closer proximity to the steering wheel of freedom, a crossing over from which there was no going back, adulthood. In my dramatic motherly mind, I wanted to keep him buckled in the back seat with his pacifier within reach. 🙂 Then the tooth fairy hit probationary status. I realized that there should probably be a discussion of some sort before we fired her. The next time I took Ethan to Tae Kwon Do (which is also the nights Connor has soccer and our family is split), I invited him to sit in the front seat for our just-me-and-him ride home.

He was excited, and I could not resist telling him to not want to grow up too fast, that he’ll be able to sit in the front the rest of his life, and that he should temper his excitement to up and leave me. (Ok, not really the last part.) I noticed with a sigh how fully he filled that front passenger space. With my fairy wings dampened by the passing of time, I started my flittering around the topic of her last major incompetency.

Me: (Sigh.)”E, so did the Tooth Fairy finally bring you money?”
E: “Yeah. But she didn’t take the tooth.”
Me: “Maybe she couldn’t get it. Was it under your pillow the whole time?”
E: “Yeah. The tooth actually broke in two.” (It probably couldn’t take the weight of his heavy head atop it for COUNTLESS nights.)
Me, finally stopping the flittering and descending in defeat: (SIGH.) “Ok, so I guess you know who the tooth fairy is now?”
E: “…………”
Me: “You knew it was mommy, right?”
E: “Uh….it is? You’re the tooth fairy?”
Me: (ARGH, I could’ve kept that pacifier a little longer!) “Yeah, daddy and I thought you knew that and had figured it out by now.” (Because how incompetent can she be?)
E: “Well, I wasn’t sure. I didn’t really know…”
Me: “How do you feel about finding out?”
E: “I don’t care as long as I can keep getting money for my teeth.” (Truth. He is his father’s son.)

He took it like a man. If there was a child, it was me, holding on tightly to things that may be ready to be let go. He agreed to not tell his little brother. He went on to the next topic quickly and naturally not allowing me to linger in my fairy dust. (I am still going to sprinkle it on thick at Christmas. Santa is definitely fully employed here!) From that conversation on, Ethan has automatically gotten in the front seat after Tae Kwon Do. We decided that was the only time, so he still sits in the back with his brother every other ride. But those short treks back home are no longer filled with motherly sighs. I find myself truly enjoying his company beside me. Sometimes I get lost in so much nagging, the struggles of his whining or negativity, the frustrations of his having to get his own way, and on and on. These precious front seat rides are miraculously free from those typical trials. We are talking about funny parts of our day with Harper dog. We are reminiscing about things he remembers with the precision of an observant historian. We are having conversations about school, friends, life. There are no pacifiers, but there are new joys for my mother’s heart that I hold onto even tighter. I am loving his presence next to me when I thought it would be hard to no longer have him behind me.

As if on cue, the same night of Ethan’s tooth fairy reveal, Connor had a bad dream and crawled into our bed. Those occurrences are not common, but they are not rare either. Some nights when I get little feet on my face and restless sleep, I wish they were over. But in light of a kid in the front seat, I savored his little sleeping body finding comfort in mama’s bed knowing that those days are numbered.

Connor has a habit of coming out of his room after being tucked in to get a drink of water. One night recently while sipping, he told us that when it’s his turn to have Harper in his room at bedtime, he always goes over and has a snuggling heart-to-heart talk with her before getting his water. I asked him what he said and he answered that some of the conversation is just between him and his dog. He did let us know tidbits like asking her how she likes her new toy or telling her that even when she (play) bites him that he still loves her. My baby somehow reminded me with his amusing dog talk that he is still my little baby. Mike managed to record one of these nighttime canine conversations. It ended like this:

“…so Harpy, I want to say to you one last thing. You’re just a little…cute…pup. And that will always be for the rest of my life. (BIG SIGH.) Night-night, Harpy.”

Boys, you are both little, cute, sons. And that will always be for the rest of my life. BIG SIGH. Lots of savoring. Love, your melodramatic mother aka former Tooth Fairy.

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What my mind thinks it should look like when E sits in the front seat

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One Year With Harper

One year ago today, Harper Jameek made our world stinkier, hairier, SO much happier, and truly complete. Adopting her was the best decision ever, and we cannot imagine our lives without her. Even Mike who jokes every time I complain about the endless dog hair all over the house with “Let’s take her back!” is glad we got her. He will adamantly deny it, but he secretly loves her as much as the rest of us do. Why else would he give her special treats, hold her like a baby on the couch, and want her to keep him company when he’s outside working around the house? Even though he is the strict disciplinarian, she knows he loves her and goes crazy when she sees him. Ethan once made a chart of her tail-wagging range. The highest/hardest wag he called “Whip-o-doom” for when daddy comes home from work.

There is no question how the rest of us feel. In the boys’ bedtime prayers, they faithfully ask God that Harper will have a good day tomorrow, not get sick, and live longer than a normal dog. Every. Single. Night. The way they “awwww” about her and stop multiple times a day to comment on how cute she is or go to hug her reassures me that they do have affectionate hearts that she brings out in full force (and for Ethan it seems ONLY she brings out in him). She provides unconditional love and comforting therapy on a ruff day.

She is often a convenient pillow.img_1424img_1366

She plays a pretty mean game of Chutes & Ladders. (Notice there are appropriately 3 game pieces.)

She encourages us to hold our planks (or maybe sabotages them).

She is a great dust buster for any crumbs that may fall.

She is a faithful welcoming committee waiting for you to come home even when you might be out of town.
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So even though Mike’s determined that Harper’s running tab is greater than the nation’s deficit and never wants to buy the poor dog any non-essential, he relented on this day. Happy “Gotcha” Day, Harp-doggy-dog! May your new toy bring you as much joy as you bring us and last as long as your sweet, enduring love.

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Listening to Their Voices

I first met Samantha and Laquie through church; we served in the same outreach ministry. I am privileged to call them dear friends and sisters in faith. I think they are worth listening to, so please take the time to read their words.

Excerpts from Sam:

Racism is an ugly monster that exists with a vengeance and isn’t going away anytime soon. Alton Sterling and Philando Castile and countless other Black men and women are dead because of racism. Many people are saying that if Alton and Philando had “just listened and complied,” they would still be here. However, many Black men and women have “just listened and complied” and still lose or have lost their lives. I know that the majority of police officers are doing a difficult job that I appreciate and support. I know that something is off kilter when it feels like Black lives are more expendable than others. I’m aware that flags don’t fly at half mast for Alton and Philando (or Eric, Trayvon, Sandra, etc.), but they’re lowered for police officers in Dallas. I’m aware that equality has different meanings for people of color. And sadly, I’m aware that if you get pulled over for a busted tail light, Black people have less of a chance of surviving than a White person would – even with video evidence.

…What I wasn’t prepared for (in this whole discourse) was how the “All Lives Matter” hashtag made me feel. Like part of who I am should be ignored. It feels like a blatant denial of the real problem. The harsh truth is that we use the term “Black Lives Matter” because we feel like we don’t…

…We are all made in the image of God. In our human experience, I don’t believe we were ever intended to be “color blind.” That seems silly to me. Christ made us individually and if Genesis 1:27 is true, we are all collectively made in the image of God… My life is full of people with the most diverse backgrounds, skin tones, personalities, character traits, and quirks. Their stories are all amazing unique – they are complex. Complex people with complex issues. I’m a Black, Hispanic, Christian, divorced and single mom of two kids, for crying out loud.

…Last week [early July], I’ve never felt more fragile. I’m caught off guard at every turn on social media – by truths, by lies, by sheer ignorance. Everyone has an answer or so it seems. People seem to forget that we would be known as disciples of Christ by our love for one another (John 13:35), not our posted hashtags, videos, or even our silence.

I intend to focus on loving my family and friends well. I want to be able to encourage them and sow love and hope into their hearts. I pray that our hearts would remain pliable to God’s love and that we would “follow the way of love” according to 1 Corinthians 14:1. I intend to speak up for love and speak out for justice. We can no longer afford to be silent or ignorant. Now is the time to do the right thing. Act justly. Love mercy. And love LOUDLY.

Excerpts from Laquie’s voice recording (you can listen to her full clip by clicking here):

…I think a lot of my frustration is built on the fact that my whole life I’ve tried to understand the side of the majority culture. I’ve tried to understand from a survival standpoint, as well as a standpoint of grace.  I’ve had to conform to your ways and traditions. I’ve had to tame my Blackness and field the same questions over and over (no, you cannot touch my hair). I’m constantly making excuses for cultural ignorance…but I can’t anymore…because you’ve shown me you’re not meeting me half way. This is not a mutual exchange, and I’m only playing into your ability to minimize and discredit everything I embody.

When I woke up that morning and learned five police officers were murdered….I cried. Period. My first instinct wasn’t to go digging up dirt on whether they were adulterers, smoked pot in high school, drank too much, or beat their wives. I didn’t need to locate their records, to see if they had anything other than exemplary service. I just cried for their families and for the evil that exists in this world. I wish I could say the same for some of you. Many of you were steadily looking for justification to kill a man point blank pinned down by not one, but two male bodies, for selling CDs. You were desperately trying to justify the killing of a man that announced his legal possession of a firearm. When I heard the comment, “Let’s wait for the facts…” I only heard that kind of consideration for the police officers. Would you have the same attitude if it was me lying in that car taking my last breath?

…When I have to validate the Black American experience to you, it feels… condescending, infuriating and humiliating. Do I really have to relay all times I’ve been verbally assaulted with the ‘n’ word (the last time was just a few months ago by the way. 2016.)? …how in the world can you dismiss what I’m saying or feeling so easily? Why does it hold no weight or credibility?…

…How do you account for the fact I can meet Black people from NYC, LA, Georgia, Chicago, and still have similar experiences and cultural narratives? There is obviously a problem too many of you want to claim doesn’t exist, but it’s staring you dead in the face. Your token Black friend is telling you there is a problem.

Alright, as nice as it would be, I guess I don’t necessarily need you to blindly accept what I’m saying or feeling. But I also don’t need you to be part of the problem or the harmful rhetoric. I guess what I need or expect is that our relationship would make you think twice before you speak…I would hope you’d be willing to have dialogue of substance instead of lobbing emotional bombs on FB (Facebook) with your memes and quips. I wish FB didn’t matter, because it shouldn’t…But it is what it is, therefore it matters. If we’re not going to keep it frivolous with cat videos and Top 10 lists, then we address it all. It feels distant, but it’s ultimately your messaging. Since Trayvon Martin, I’ve noticed so many of you say things that made my blood boil, but I just ignored it at best, or unfollowed you at worst. Enough already. If I was minding my business, walking home, perhaps wearing a hoodie…would you honestly defend some flashlight cop attacking me, and then pulling his gun to finish me off because he picked the wrong fight? So many scenarios, and I’m always wondering, “If it was me…”

…“BlackLivesMatter” bothers people because it implies Black people think they are more important. Let me tell you something real quick: as a whole, there has never been a time in the history of this country that Black people have been in a position to even begin to feel superior or dominant. That is foolishness. No one is attempting to dominate or oppress you…

…I think police officers have an extremely difficult job and I’d protect and defend a good police officer any day, despite my negative experiences the few times I’ve been pulled over. But at the end of the day, officers can go home and take their uniforms off. I’m Black 24/7, and you wouldn’t believe how much of the day I do not feel safe, from either physical or emotional harm because of the color of my skin. I do not get a reprieve…

I’m perfectly alright with people that disagree with me on many things….but when your rhetoric supports oppressive ideologies of me or Black people in general being stupid, worth ignoring, being violated, invalidated, or inferior – where do you think we go from here?…

…This is what I’m willing to do though: if you ever want to start a real dialogue, I’ll spend hours with you on the phone, I’ll invite you into my home and make you a meal, I’ll meet you for a drink…my point is I’m willing to walk through this with people, but only on that level.

By the way…the epitome of white privilege is that you can be upset over all of this mess when it initially occurs, but then you can choose to go on with your regular life and not think twice about until the next time it’s hot news. I don’t know what that’s like. I understand it’s hard and uncomfortable, but if we don’t start walking through this together, history will continue to repeat itself and it will only get worse as it goes. Let’s do better.

I hope people read through the entire post. I hope it brings some understanding. I have hope because I know that no matter how much hate, division, evil, injustice, racism, intolerance, dismissive labeling, hurt, and wrong there is in the world that ultimately none of those things have victory over Love and understanding. They are defeated in part now and will be in full later. Till that later is fully realized, let us keep fighting them together. Listening is ONLY the first step, but it is a necessary start.

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True friends take you in the beehive. Sam & Laquie = my true friends.

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