doing nothing…that’s cowardice. thinking the problem is too large for you to make a difference, so you don’t look for ways to be a part of the answer to the problem…that’s cowardice.
talking about your opinion of the problem and not educating yourself on all sides of the issue…that’s cowardice. posting click bait articles on social media outlets because they support your biases and not checking to see if they are the least bit true…that’s cowardice.
telling the lady at the checkout at the grocery store that you are baking cookies to, um, give to your neighbors because she is biracial and you don’t want to tell her that you are actually baking them for your local police departments…that’s cowardice.
That last one…yeah, I did that. Today, I did that. She saw the flour, baking soda, and powdered sugar I was purchasing so she commented that it looked like I was going to be baking. I told her I was. She asked what I was going to bake. I told her cookies. She asked what kind. I told her sugar cookies. I said, “my daughters are going to bake cookies to…” (then I realized what I was about to say could cause…I don’t know what…could cause something unpleasant to happen, I guess)…so I said they were baking cookies to give to our neighbors, instead of telling her what they are really baking them for, which is to give to our local police departments to show our appreciation for them. I was immediately ashamed, but I didn’t know what to do in that moment. I didn’t want to start a discussion in the checkout line and I didn’t want her to think I only side with the police on the issues that have sparked such debate and hate and misunderstanding in the past week and months and years. I felt paralyzed because my heart’s desire is to educate myself on all sides of these issues, but right now I don’t know her side well. I’m only just starting to open my eyes and my heart and my mind to the things I was so ignorantly unaware of until just days ago, because I had never taken the time to think about them or educate myself on them before. And that annoys me to no end. I mean, I lived in another country and I embrace that culture and love those people, for goodness’ sake, so why have I not been better about understanding and embracing the cultures within my own country??
So right now I am doing all that I know to do, which is to reach out to the police to show our support (a no-brainer and an easy thing to do, being that my husband is a retired state trooper and that’s the narrative I know well) and to educate myself on the African American culture, their history, and their daily reality. But sadly, my resources in that area are much more limited at the moment. That’s why I am researching. That’s why I’ve started following people like Latasha Morrison, the founder of Be the Bridge, so I can become more educated and find out what my next steps need to be. I want to know everything I can know about all sides of the issues in order to be a bridge builder so that I personally, and hopefully we as a country, can cross this cavernous racial divide. It’s too late in the game to stand by and do nothing. It’s too important to talk about only on social media. This country needs bridge builders. It needs people who refuse to take the cowardly way out.
And I need people to come alongside me and walk with me. I need people to educate me…both black people and police officers and anyone else who is ahead of where I am in this discussion. So, please, if you can be helpful, I would love for you to add a comment and point me in the directions I need to go. Where can I help? How can I help in my community? What resources can I tap to educate myself? I know there are so many more avenues than the ones I have begun to look at in the last few days, but it IS overwhelming from where I stand in this moment. I want to not be afraid to engage the woman at the checkout in an honest conversation, should the opportunity present itself. I want to have this conversation with friends and with new people I meet. I want this country to be a place where we can all feel heard and where we can all feel accepted and understood.
Let’s refuse to be cowards.