My Children Aren't White...

My children aren't white. Sometimes I forget that.  Sometimes I think their race doesn't matter.  That my race doesn't matter.  And then tragedies like yesterday's shooting happen, and I'm quickly reminded of the injustices that are still happening in America today.  I can't stop thinking about how that was someone's son.  No matter what his past, did that warrant the brutality he suffered?  

Of course, as a whole, we cannot make blanket statements about blacks, whites, or police officers.  I do truly believe there are more good cops out there than bad cops, policemen that are serving and protecting our country well.  However, sadly for most minorities, they see an awful lot of the bad cops.  It goes beyond what we see on the news of criminals being victimized.  I know so many friends and family who have been personally victimized or harassed unnecessarily, people who have actually feared for their lives.  For me, I don't know that feeling.  For me, when I walk on the subway and see police officers on the train, I feel a sense of comfort and relief.  For others, a sense of unease and fear comes about.  

Why is that? Why should we have different perceptions?  Why should my skin color save me, while another person's skin color condemns them?

I'll never forget, one evening when Ron and I were dating, he was walking me back to the subway station on a late night.  We were holding hands and went to cross the street. There was a car coming, but it was one of those times where we could have either easily crossed or waited.  Ron tried to stop and wait, while I started to go.  Being silly, I started jumping around and trying to shake his grip from me and jokingly saying something like "let go, let go of me!"  The look of panic in Ron's eyes is something I won't forget.  There was a police officer down the road, and Ron quickly hushed me telling me, I couldn't joke like that in front of people; it wouldn't look right with a Hispanic man and a white woman.  Wow.  It was then I began to realize that, despite my husband being a great man, he, and so many others, are automatically type cast a certain way.  He gets completely different service at stores just depending on what he is wearing that day.  He has gotten passed over for promotions. He has gotten stopped by the police for no reason.  He has felt unsafe.  All because of his skin color, and he is not alone. 

Growing up in small town Oklahoma, I was sheltered much of my life to the injustices of the world around me.  I never knew that my skin color made me privileged in a lot of ways.  If I saw things happening on the news, I would just turn a blind eye to it because "it didn't concern me." 

And now I find myself living in one of the most diverse cities and in an interracial marriage with two biracial children.  It has greatly opened my eyes to the world around me.  Not much has changed in the last several decades.  Racism still exists in fullness.  I love my family fiercely, and I can't stand the thought that my children could experience the prejudices that others around me and across the country have experienced.  I truly pray that the eyes of our nation are opened and we would see real change come about.  I thank the Lord for opening my eyes to the injustices around me.  I am no longer blind to these issues.  I pray that in our lifetime, we would see radical change come about, and while we wait, 

"The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit." -Psalm 34: 17-18

Brooke ArevaloComment