This is not an eloquent, thought out post...this is just me sitting here with something stirring in my heart.
With that being said I have to say that I have tried to open myself up to all ends of thought about the recent case that was just tried in our country. And I came to one conclusion last night...I don't understand racism but I can see why it exists. And I feel that there is only one answer and as cliché as it sounds... love.
I grew up in a very wealthy, predominantly white, upper class neighborhood in Chicago. And there were no black people at all in our schools or in our towns or businesses that I can remember. However next door to my fathers house lived the Thomas family... ( Isaiah Thomas professional basketball player).
Our cultures never intermixed. And I grew up thinking that black people lived in the city. Or somewhere else. Or I don't really even know and that's just how it was, and its sad to me now. The church I went to was all white, traditional middle to upper class people and that was that.
So I am sitting here thinking that probably my upbringing, where I lived and what I saw, was the picture that was painted for me as to how I would see the world around me. Movies, music, pop culture, tv....the news...its all a picture that is painted for me and not really what my own eyes or heart sees in the real world.
I wonder what would happen if we took our most radical stereotypes and faced them. For instance, if you are a middle class, blue collar white man and you are the kind of person who sees the black 30 something and thinks he is lazy or on welfare because he just wants to get a free ride... I wonder what would happen if we actually made relationships with people who aren't like us. To uncover maybe hidden wounds and stories and treasures about why we are the way we are and how we deal with adversity and how we got here.
Does anyone really care how we got here?
That Mexican family down the street who always has a ton of kids playing in the yard and loud music playing.. There are treasures in that house. Valuable life lessons of hard work and a lot of adversity. I'm pretty sure that if we actually made attempts to get to know people and their stories, we would see them differently.
And if we saw people differently, maybe we would all start to look the same?
Just a group of people all living in this great country who are all trying to do the best we can with what we have been given. A group of people who are all striving to take care of our families and provide for them.
Deep down in my heart I don't think anybody really wants to be on welfare. I don't think anybody wants the live a life on the streets. I don't think anybody wants to live a life of crime. I don't think the white war vet standing on the corner with a sign that says "hungry" I don't think he wants to be there. I think sometimes people are so far in that they cant get themselves out.
I think we need eachother.
I was very blessed as a child to have all my physical needs met. But you know what? During my 20's, I was on welfare for about a year. Food stamps and govt medical assistance because I couldn't find a job. And that's not all really true because I suffered with severe depression and couldn't get out of bed for a year. My husband, boyfriend at the time went to work sometimes 60 plus hours a week to support both of us during that time. But if you looked at the surface of that situation all you would see if a 20 something kid who smoked and drank and went to bed for a year because she was lazy...
But that wasn't the truth. The truth was I was suffering with a few very painful chronic illnesses and some major depression and anxiety and paranoia and you would have never known that, known me unless you made your way in...
Unless you tried.
So now here I am. 30 something, NOT a starving artist, and fully living in the hope and love that has been freely given to me by my savior Jesus, and just wondering what would happen if we would make our way into the homes, and into the lives and into hearts of those who may not look like us, or speak like us or do anything remotely like us...I wonder what would happen if we would start searching for the common instead of judging people for what we think they are.
There is a story behind each person, in each of our souls. It makes us who we are. And I'm afraid that we are so far away from each other to even care anymore. The whites, the blacks, the Mexicans, the democrats, the republicans, the gays...the working moms, the stay at home moms, the Baptists... the blue collars, the white collars, the religious...
On the outside we are very different from each other, but on the inside we are all the same.
Desperately needing to be loved.
So why don't you make the first move?
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
1st Peter 4:8