I am spending more time than usual thinking about my world these days. I am intentionally slowing myself down and listening very closely to what people have to say. I am paying closer attention to the words they use. Their mannerisms. The inflections in their voices as they speak. I think I’ve always been a good listener, but I think I can be better. My intention is to understand. I think in today’s world more understanding is needed.
Today my focus is on skin color. Given the circumstances the world is facing these days, this is a hot topic. It always has been, but I think it is being reignited and being left to rage out of control in many instances and it has to change. Though I would love to say I have the answer(s), I know I don’t, but I do have some thoughts to share.
So many I have spoken with recently have stated at some point in the conversation that they “don’t see skin color.” I DO SEE SKIN COLOR. I see it as clearly as I see the color of their eyes. The length of their hair. Their height. Their weight. Their choice of clothes. The way they walk. And it all matters to me. It matters because that is what makes them the unique person standing in front of me.
So YES! I see your skin color. And when I do, regardless of what color it is, it makes me think about what your circumstances may be. It makes me focus on why you might think the way you think. It makes me realize that we are not the same, nor did I come from the same place as you, and that I have much I can learn from you. It makes me want to question and discover and become a better person!
Please don’t hate me for the questions I ask or the way I ask them. I am curious and I am trying to learn and understand. Please don’t turn against me because I unknowingly said something that deeply offends you. Teach me. Help me understand why what I said or did is so hurtful to you.
Though I try very hard not to be racist, I willingly admit that to some extent, I am sure I am. After all, I have my set of circumstances too. I was raised in a family that has their own set of values and ideas about the world around them, just like you were raised according to your family’s ideals. This doesn’t make us bad people, it makes us different. And I do think we are all doing the best we can with what we know.
So if we are all doing the best we can with what we know, it is our job, TOGETHER, to help each other know more. To understand each other. To slow down and listen to the person in front of us.
The root of racism is fear. Fear comes from a lack of knowledge. We can choose, everyday, to teach others and to alleviate much of the fear in our world. We can choose to be compassionate. We can choose to make this world more peaceful.
“People are motivated by fear but inspired by love.”
~ Lance Secretan