I’ve been living in a bubble. A bubble of I don’t know whose creation. A bubble where racism is a radical idea held by the few and certainly not where I live. I am not lonely in my bubble. There are lots of us in here.
But it’s leaking. Expelling air at an incredible rate.
You see, the interior of this bubble is lined with every time I didn’t experience racism. One of my best friends in high schools was black and I did not experience her discrimination, so clearly racism didn’t exist. One of my best friends and roommates in college was black and I did not experience her discrimination, so clearly racism didn’t exist. My children’s first best friends in their lives were black and I did not experience their discrimination, so clearly racism didn’t exist. I lined my bubble with these comforts. If racism existed at all it did not exist here.
And then there was a news story; racism, death. And another. And dozens more. In places not that different from where I lived. And it poked holes in my bubble. And then my friends, my black friends with whom I’d lined my bubble, they told me they were afraid. For themselves and for their children. And I looked at their babies, whom I have held and loved, and thought:
They are no different than my children. Why do they need to be afraid?
And my bubble came crashing down around me.
I look at my son, with his red hair and bright blue eyes. I look at his best friend with his black hair and dimples that melt me. And without my bubble I see that they will be treated differently. And it makes me scared. And furious.
There are two sets of standards. Two sets of rules. Justice is not color blind. America is not equal. Our bubbles only make things worse.
I look at my daughter, with her blond, tangled mop of hair. I look at her best friend with her black, beaded braids. And without my bubble I see…I see love. Despite my lack of bubble, I still see love.
Because racism is not naturally occurring. It is taught and learned.
We need to learn to love like children. We need to be taught that the color of our skin or the way we pray or what language we speak are not symptoms of evil. We need to realize that neither love nor evil discriminates.
And the only way to stamp out indiscriminate evil is with indiscriminate love.