I felt apprehensive posting my last post and even after posting it, I edited it several times later. Although I am finally content with it, there is still a part of me that doesn’t feel contented with my way of thinking leading up to the post.
So, this may be something small, but may be the most profound for my spirit and for my own peace of mind.
This is my apology.
I am sorry.
I am so sorry that you have gone through years and years of systemic oppression.
I am so sorry that I was naïve enough to think racism was gone.
I am so sorry that innocent people had to die for me to accept the fact that racism still exists.. and to open my heart and mind to the oppression that you’ve long endured.
There’s no excuse for this but this was mine: I grew up in a diverse neighborhood and went to diverse schools. I’ve never personally seen acts of racism toward my black friends.
However, I realized silence doesn’t erase the hidden fears that you may have faced but never felt comfortable speaking about.
It wasn’t until a year ago that I met a black brother who felt truly uncomfortable being the only black person in the restaurant.
I am sorry that I didn’t have the compassion to address that.
Even if I, myself, have never been racist, it’s not enough to just not be racist.
It’s not enough to just be kind to people who normally face oppression, so I am committing to standing by and standing up for people less privileged than I am because I almost get it. When I go to a dominantly Hispanic grocery store, all eyes are on me as if I’m in the wrong store and I hear the word “chinita” at least once…so I understand you…but what I can’t understand is: how could I not have the compassion toward you if I have faced this a few times where as you have faced this many times and your ancestors have gone through so much more and so much worse. I might never understand that type of pain. So, I’m sorry.
And in addition to my apology, I also want you to know that I see you, I hear you and I respect you.
I’ve always been proud of my kindness but I think the reason I have been feeling so restless lately is because when I came to the realization that I knew there was an issue but dismissed it, I didn’t feel proud of my former level of kindness. I thought about the many “small” moments that I’ve dismissed over time. So, I’m changing that. I understand that these “small” moments lead to bigger issues…issues that aren’t addressed…which lead to wounds that never heal.
And I don’t want that. Not for you. Not for anyone.
I want to stop being apathetic toward your long-lived oppression. I am rooting for the day where your oppression no longer exists and you don’t have to think twice about going out and about secretly wondering if you’ll be judged by the color of your skin.
I remember reading about Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King Jr., Fredrick Douglas and so many more just in awe of their pride toward their culture and community. The bravery. The strength. The excellence.
Since reading about them in middle school, I have gained and even bigger amount of admiration toward the Black Community because after years and years of fighting for equality, you are still some of the best people with the best energy. 🙂
(If we’re being honest here, I’ve always said how much I enjoyed being around my Black Brothers and Sisters because of the infectious energy y’all have. There’s usually many laughs and stories to look back on. 😊)
This letter is far from perfect but it’s a letter that I feel proud of because I am opening myself to a newer level of compassion and consciousness which should have already been here in the first place.
Michael Jackson couldn’t have been more right about “starting with the man in the mirror”.
To see change, I know I have to start with myself.
I hope that if you are reading this and you are not black, you are encouraged to open up your heart and mind as well because enough is enough.
These conversations need to be had.
P.S. Here are some links to resources so that we can take some action:
Make sure to register and vote! https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/voting-resources/voting-california/election-dates-and-resources/
Ways to help! (Petitions, Text/Call, Donate, More Resources, For Protesters) https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/#
Equal Justice Initiative! https://eji.org/