Thursday, July 7, 2016

What I take for Granted.

Yesterday I loaded up my twins in our shiny orange bike trailer. To the doctor's office, for lunch at the grocery store, then the hardware store, the park, then home. (Don't fret, it was a round trip and not that far overall.)

It was joy and light and color and happiness all day.

I never once thought about my cloak of invisibility.

I am white.

My children are not at risk because of their race.

In fact, they can go many places without question because of it.

I sit here with a hole in my stomach thinking about the men who were taken away yesterday. From their children, their partners, their moms.

Because of race.

I don't understand. I can't understand.

I remember walking into a fancy designer store in Asia after months of living out of my backpack, wearing one of the few shirts I owned and one of the bottoms carried. I'm certain I smelled a bit, hair was uncombed. Yet no one said a word to me as I entered. Not everyone was allowed in. While traveling where I was the white minority, I knew I could go anywhere because of it and I was safer because if it as well.

We have several African American neighbors. All walks of life. One family is well-off, has a boat and nice cars. One is scraping by unable to get a job after losing hers in her sixties, but is so sweet and loving. My kids love her. Another is an old man in his eighties who doesn't even know his real last name but still mows his own yard and has three cars that are older than me. One still runs. Another family lives in the rental up the street. They are newer to the neighborhood.

I think about them. What are they feeling? I want to ask. I'm afraid to ask.

How can we fix it?

We still are mostly white. We still are mostly insulated

The color and happiness I felt yesterday were real. But I live in a bubble.

Last night, I watched a video of my friends who has beautiful twin boys. Trying on their new green rain jackets. Trying out the word Jacket. They prance around, sweet and unassuming. The only difference between them and my twins is the color of their skin. The innocence, the curiosity- they are the same. One looks like his mother, one like his father. 

We must do something. We must do something.

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