Disclaimer: I was going to put this at the end of this piece but realized many of you might not make it that far. I know this is out of my norm and is the second controversial type post in nearly as many days. This post is touchy. I talk about race. I talk about being an American. I ask you to read it with a longing for understanding. I love my friends no matter what their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion or anything. I would rather you ask me genuinely about how I feel than to decide what I feel for me. Also, please know that this isn’t directed toward any person or race in particular. This is an open letter to everyone.
Bear with me for a minute while I try to articulate what I’m thinking. I’ll try to go slowly — or quickly — depending on your available time. Here goes.
I saw an image on IG the other day that showed the towers in NYC that said “We will never forget.” Right next to it was a picture of an enslaved man with a lashed back that said “Get over it.” This struck me. It’s true. We Americans like to forget our horrible pasts but avenge the things that have been done to us. The problem is that part of our horrible past involves injustices towards an entire race of people. So while a HUGE part of this country wants to NEVER FORGET the horrible tragedy that happened on September 11, 2001, there’s a large part of our population that wants us TO FORGET what happened as little as 50 years ago.
Are you still with me?
Let me just clarify that I am absolutely appalled by the events of 9/11 and the Holocaust for that matter. Don’t get it twisted and say that I’m some anti-American. That is far from the case. I am a proud American. I believe that our country has come leaps and bounds over the last 50 years. I still believe this is the land of opportunity. What I don’t like is when we American’s don’t like to own up to the hurts we’ve caused ourselves. Because I’m an American just like those that enslaved “inferior races” here. I’m an American just like those that carried burning crosses while hiding under hooded dresses. I’m an American just like the peacekeepers that beat “suspicious” looking men in the street. I’m an American just like that family with a separate toilet for the help. I’m an American just like that family that was “searching for supplies” right after Hurricane Katrina. I’m an American just like that celebrity that overdosed because of his/her mental illness. I’m an American. Go to bat for me, too.
The more you ask me to “Get Over It” the more it makes me remember it. Asking me to “get over it” is like saying that it never happened — and it did — and it does. Asking me to “get over it” is like saying that what happened to people that look just like me just because they look just like me is not worth worrying about because it wouldn’t happen to people who look just like you. When you tell me to “get over it” you’re defending the people that did these horrible things. Saying that it’s time for us to just all come together is absolutely true. Now live it and don’t just say it. Everybody. That means Black, White, Yellow, Beige, Rainbow — everybody needs to come together. That means that while I’m asking you to try to understand me, I’m putting in the effort to understand you. Trust me. I am.
Please also understand that not every White person in this country is out to get every Black person and not every Black person is a ruffian — or thug — out to get the next White person that crosses their path. Stop generalizing everybody into these all or nothing categories. I end this with a token of love. I know that we are all good people at heart. We want the best for our family and friends. I pray that you find peace as I pray for my own. I’m not angry. I’m sad. But I’ll be okay and I know you will be too.