Thursday, August 24, 2017

You were on my mind

I loved my daddy. I miss the ornery old coot.

It saddens me that he perpetuated abuse with my mother and my brother. I accept that deeply troubling flaw made their and his life more miserable. He also said racist things.

I've had lots of people in my life who said things that turned my stomach and made my blood boil. I value a rational take on the world more than any other viewpoint. Prejudice bugs me.

I challenged myself. It confuses me when other people choose to stay in the shitty family traditions they were raised with. If something fails to serve you and your community, why keep it around?

I lived with a guy exhibited the same kind of armchair racism my daddy held onto. I didn't realize it until he mentioned how uncomfortable he would be living in a predominately very nice black neighborhood. He learned it from his dad.

My dad, my roommate and his dad all lacked the self awareness to change their minds. None of them would be marching or hurting anyone directly. They all would speak loudly and inaccurate about the differences between races. Spouting.statistics completely out of context. I tried to find ways around their racism and failed.

Making changes to one's life has unforeseen costs and benefits. Someone may not see the advantage to opening up to diversity. To do so may set one apart from family.

When I called dad and told him I wanted to come visit him, he asked if my now husband was black. He had enough awareness of my character to know that I would date someone based on their character. I don't think he would have rejected me outright, but it sure would have caused tension between us for a while.

The first way I started challenging my own believes came from realizing that people judged me solely on my lack of pigment in my skin. Kids beat me up and adults praised me all for something I had zero input in creating. I thought that I would be hypocritical to do the same to anyone else.

Later, I started realizing that diversity builds beauty and stability. Nature made our skin different to take advantage of the benefits of sunlight. That's it. Just like nature made the beaks of finches different so they could eat the different food sources available to them.

Speaking of food, where would we be if we didn't have a tasty variety of Italian, Mexican or Chinese cuisine? What about the art and history of far flung nations? I don't believe in god and even I can see the value of Michelangelo's Pieta or David.

I want more compassion and joy in my life. I want more joy and compassion for people who happen to be black, or brown too.

When people start using history to maintain bigotry, I will call that out. My love for my daddy does not give him a pass. It does give me some hope that there are other qualities inside the hearts of people who have hate for people with different skin colors. I failed with opening dad's heart.

I'm gonna keep at it. Maybe something will get through.

Kind comments encouraged.

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