|Ann Arbor, MI -- 1964|
Tresa, Tim, Me, Dad, Linda, Mum
Coming from a county where policemen did not apply fire hoses to anyone, I discovered my twelve-year-old self outraged that so many white people had so many excuses for police brutality--especially in the name of God. I see we've come full circle.
For decades we've lived in slow but sure progress, at least on the surface, but with the election of Obama that surface shattered, giving way to the entrenched and systematic hatred that seems to define America.
When St. Louis Police Office, Ronald L. Fowlkes, can email 23 other city cops the day after elections with "I can’t believe I live in a country full of NIGGER LOVERS!” (followed by 31 exclamation points) it's indicative that blacks DO live in a scary shadow no white person ever has to know.
I was twelve when Sandy, a black girl, and I became friends. I was twelve when I had sleepovers at her house, with too many children crammed into close quarters, Sandy and I curled up on broken bed, my back to the thin wall that allowed me to hear the black dialect of Michigan's impoverished working class. I was twelve when I understood that her family faced discrimination daily, that violence met her every day at school. I was twelve when I understood that I loved this family.
Love forever freed me from the sin of racism--or prejudice of any kind--so prevalent in this country I adopted as my own.
The following blog http://maryalicebirdwhistell.blogspot.com/2016/07/we-can-not-not-know-any-more.html was written by my son and daughter-in-law's minister. Her thesis is that we have to know what it's like to be black. I did this when I was twelve. I invite everyone to do the same.