heart broken

by humanmama on July 6, 2016

If you didn’t hear about it yet, there was another police-shot-a-black-person incident yesterday. His name was Alton Sterling, just so you know, and he was 37, younger than Carpenter and myself. And just so you know, he was a dad. My heart hurts from it. Aches for the mamas and the children and the cousins and the loved ones of yet another person. Another family who won’t ever, ever get the answers they need from their one question, “but, why?” The silent Black Benghazi.

My heart hurts because we were born white and my husband is white and our sons are white and therefore we’re never worried if we’re pulled over by the police any of us might be pulled out of the car, or detained, or shot. We just don’t have to carry that on our shoulders.

My heart hurts because, only since we’re white, I don’t have to fear when my husband goes into a fancy neighborhood to do a construction job at night. I just don’t even have to think about him being arrested for looking suspicious, or thrown in custody, or shot. In fact, I actually worry less if he is in a “fancy” neighborhood, thinking “he’ll be safer.” I never have to worry.

Because I’m white, when my Polish ancestors came over on the boat to America, it was out of their own free will.

My heart aches because I’ve been at a dinner party, a concert, a funeral, a graduation, where I’ve had to defend blackness. I’ve had to explain why it’s never okay to use the word “n—-r,” not even occasionally, for white people. I’ve had to try to tell a drunk guy that nothing in our language can ever cause white people the pain of ten thousand black souls like that n-word does for black people. Why no, there aren’t “good blacks” and “n—–s” Why no, it’s not ever okay to say “there are n—-r whites and blacks, and also decent whites and blacks.” But I’m white, so even if they disagree or haul off screaming or swinging, people will defend me and it’s okay because I have my skin color to hide behind, to cushion me from the true meaning (or even of the impact) of that word. Do I feel lucky to be light-skinned? That is not the question. The question is, as my eloquent children have stated, “but, why?” Why is “whiteness” still rewarded with safety (…), as if we had something to do with it?

I am as tired as my black friends are of seeing yet another black person die at the hands of people who are “sworn to protect.” I am as tired as my black friends are of trying to explain to my kids the hullabaloo over skin color in this world and trying answer their one and only question, “But, why?” I am as tired as my black friends are of trying to change opinions about race and melanin that I thought were changed decades ago. DECADES ago. But I am not black. So I am totally, completely protected from all of that.

Well, everything but my heart.

Post to Twitter

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

Previous post:

Next post: