I was born and raised in the south. I was raised to see a person, a boy or girl, not a color. When I was really young, we lived in VERY south Georgia. I don't have many memories from then, but I remember 2 friends from church. Kitsi and Summer. Kitsi was white. Summer was black. The only reason I knew Summer was different from me was by her braids. I loved them. I wanted braids just like hers. I'm pretty sure I begged her mom to braid my hair too, but was told my hair couldn't be braided like that.
Fast forward a few years. My family moved to Roswell...but our church was downtown off of Ponce. You wanna talk about diversity? We had black members, white members, homeless members...you name it, we saw it.
One Sunday, a black girl was visiting. Her braids looked just like Summer's. I couldn't take my eyes off of them. But apparently my stares made her uncomfortable. I'm pretty sure I had no idea I was even staring. To my 10 year old eyes, I saw the possibility of a new friend. But to her eyes, she must've seen a little white girl looking down on her. I don't remember exactly what she said to me, but it wasn't nice or friendly. Something along the lines of "quit staring at me"...but it felt like a slap in the face. That was the day I learned there was more than braids that made us different.
I'm not racist. I'm not a bigot. I'm not a xenophobe. I'm simply white. I can't change that any more than a zebra can change their stripes. I'm afraid of where our country is headed. Today was supposed to be a day of exploring new places with my girlfriends. Starting with the Ponce City Market, right down the street from that same church. But because of the possibility of protests & riots, we've been forced to change our plans. I'm disappointed and I'm disgusted that it's come to this.
How did we get here? I know my parents raised me to treat everyone the way I wanted to be treated. They raised me to respect authority, not defy it. The police ARE the good guys. They sign up for the job to protect us, not to gun down innocent people. But their lives are threatened everyday, by people (black, white, Asian, Indian, etc.) who mean to do them harm. They have to protect themselves too. I can't quote statistics, but I'm sure the innocent person shot by the police is an exception to the rule, rather than the rule. Just like there are a few bad cops out there too, but that doesn't make every police officer the enemy.
This fire of HATRED is fueled by activists like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton...and Barrack Obama. The media does their part to throw a little gasoline on it too. Yes, there are racists, bigots and xenophobes in this world, but they're a small number compared to the millions of people like me, that are also labeled by their skin color. I have no idea if my ancestors owned slaves...chances are they probably did. However there's also an extremely high likelihood that some of their descendants (more of my ancestors) fought to abolish slavery. For how many more generations are we gonna fight this war? We're all people. We all matter!