To know him is to love him. My husband is hands down the most warm and loving person I have met in all of my life. He has a light in his heart that is most certainly part of the divine. His smile is soulful and his words are deliberate. He is my favorite. Our friends and family, coworkers, neighbors- they all share their love for him in sincerity... even people who barely know him, they see who he is and they cherish him.
I often wonder: would we have all cherished him when he was a 17 year old Haitian boy deplaning for the first time into this country? Would we have loved him when he didn’t speak English yet... before he taught himself by reading Court TV with subtitles on? Would we have loved him when he was working at the dry cleaners, paying his own way through college? Do we all love him as much when he’s in a hoodie as much as we do when he’s holding a scalpel?
I say “we” because I’m asking myself too. Is it easier for you to see a Black person for who they are when they hold a position in society that is held in a high regard, or leads you perceive them as more trustworthy? Think carefully, and quietly about the answer to this question. If your honest answer is that it is easier for you to allow yourself to get to know and relate to a Black man who is saving lives, than a Black man who is serving food- that does not make you an unequivocal racist. It makes you a product of a racist system. One in which legislation, education, advertising, media, public policy, and social norms have been robbing and looting Black people of the opportunity to be seen, loved, cherished, protected and respected as individuals.
Being actively anti-racist looks like telling the system that planted these seeds in you, “You can’t grow here anymore.” It looks like holding up a mirror and seeing the truth in who you are, and how you live your life, even when the reflection upsets you. Imagine all of the gorgeous human beings, with soulful smiles and divine love radiating from them you have never had the pleasure of sharing your life with because they weren’t steeped in skin or circumstance that made you feel safe.
(Written 6/6/20 & I still mean each word. 🖤)