How do I feel in my next chapter when it comes to this subject. I pause, as I did when it occurred to me to write about it. What angle would I take. I KNOW I am sick to death of it. I know that everyday as I look into MY mirror, my subconscious visits the place where”it” rests. Armed but no necessarily ready for “it”, for you never know what attire “it” will be outfitted in. Worried and a bit frightened of a sneak attack, because just knowing “it” exists and some places it may dwell in does not mean that is the only place you may find “it”. All of this goes on before I leave the confines of my bathroom.
I live in a predominately white suburb of Atlanta. When we moved to Georgia close to 20 years ago my cousin, the first African American captain for the commercial airline TWA, asked me why the “hell” did you all decide to move there. He flew the east coast and had visited Atlanta many times. He warned that outside the “perimeter” this rumored Mecca was but a mirror of Money, Mississippi. You all know about Money and it’s history right? He and I had many a discussion of the way the south and many cities in the north still quietly practiced traditions of pre-civil war America.
These thoughts are but a drop in the bucket, a heartbeat, a fleeting thought or a similar one that goes through the head of numerous African Americans everyday. Then we move on and prepare for our day. The stresses of life are real for us all, but the added burden of “it” hangs above our heads and weighs heavy in our hearts.
Whites do not understand, numerous feel we are being petty, over-reacting, or they simply do not care. It is easy to feel that way when you are not directly affected, I guess… I cannot say I know, for when something bad happens to a black person such as the events that have recently begun to unfold in Florida, our connecting comes eerily into view, our bloodlines are deeper than we consciously know or realize. We care about one another, even if at times we do not demonstrate such by our actions. Perhaps that is why insensitive whites assume we all know one another, and that it is okay to say as much. Please do not get me wrong I make the conscious effort daily, hourly to deal with PEOPLE as individuals. I work really hard NOT to be handicapped by or display the characteristics of”it” . I will not allow “it” to be how I am identified and defined.
As the years pass, “it” gets old; but remains as ugly, smelly and tasteless as the first time you encountered “it”. Problem is now you are tired and less resilient, your patience is NOT at premium level. Now you run the risk of not only being a victim of “it” but a perpetrator of “it” as well. That makes me sick to my stomach
I hate that I have to write this piece about “it”. I hate that “it” still exists. What is the solution? I think a real dialogue needs to occur between America and ALL her people, conversations with one another instead of AT one another. We need to recognize and respect the fact that we are ALL people and we are ALL flawed.
This is merely scratching the surface I could go on, but what I want to do is to make progress. I do not want my granddaughter in her fifth or sixth decade still talking about “it” in the present tense. I want her and the generations to come to know of “it” and take pride in “it’s” defeat and demise. To graciously realize how fortunate they are to live in a society where “it” is NOT tolerated.