So what is the safe word America?
Discourse is important for social change. There is not a safe word for the black struggle in our society. Still.
This hopeless plight brings to mind an experience I had as a child which started out as a delightful day and a trip to the candy counter -a day that I was introduced to racism. I was a child of approximately 4 years old, and remember going to Browns Beach with my family. There were carnival rides and a long line of souvenir stores, ice cream shops and arcades, but what I remember most is the little country store on the corner with the brightly colored candies under glass. These “penny candies” were displayed to be chosen as the candy man filled a waxed white bag. I’m sure it was the bright colors and the rainbow display of candy 🍉 fruit slices more than the taste, they were just so joyful looking- all bright and crusted with sugar. I got a few of each color in which I would later suck off the outer crunch before I bit into the chewy centers. Engrossed in the contents of my little white bag, I turned and bumped right into a wall of a man hovering over me with the kindest smile I had ever seen. I was charmed in that instant!
“ You have yourself some sweets little one?”
before I could answer, my mom swept me up and took me out of that store with real panic in her eyes and rushed me down the sidewalk, ruining the joy of the day, causing me to cry in dismay. What had I done wrong? I remember thinking…then my mom introduced me to the real fear some white woman feel around a large black man, no matter how sweet the smile.
Myself being a ‘brown bear’ as my mom called me after hours in the sun, didn’t see a difference in the color of our skins, only his bright smiling eyes and toothy grin that would give any little princess pause for a bow from an adoring adult. I remember those fruit slices to be the most interesting topic that day and had a lot to share with this fine man.
While I cried she told me I would understand one day but I still do not -because all people can be scary, cruel, lawless and immoral. Even mothers.
All people are to be feared unless you see what I saw in that man’s smile that day, his gentle and empathetic understanding of the importance of my outing, this candy, this moment of joy that he tapped right into- in a way my mother never could. I yearned to share my joy, uninhibited, with his gentle inquiry about my precious sweets in the little waxed bag. It was quite sad, really.
When I was much older and still in college, a young woman in my glassblowing class made glass fruit slices and it bugged the crap out of me because it was a cop-out and NOT BLOWN and we were and are glass-BLOWERS!
Inexplicably just about everything this girl did pushed an emo button and made me furious, sad, or have pity, the fruit slices no exception. They were beautiful! She made solid fruit out of glass, or at least her boyfriend did, (snark) pit by pit, flesh and skin, and then when cool, she sliced them with a diamond saw and polished them clear. One of the most time consuming and tedious undertakings a glass artist could do is slice solid glass to then hand polish them clear. My emo buttons didn’t allow me to appreciate these glass slices of fruit, and besides, their very existence, and hers, made me feel a bit melancholy, but now I think I was just jealous I didn’t think of it first.
The rainbow slices of fruits, just like the Candy at the Counter, were magnificent. But if all the slices were the same fruit, the same color, would it still be?
Most white people are just complacent and are relieved they are not a marginalized race. In general, lives matter. And the truth of those two statements is why it need not be articulated.
Quoting a meme a friend sent me:
Upon entering a neighborhood where a house is on fire, you call the firemen-because that house matters. When you say Black Lives matter, you are saying that house is on fire. Water it. When you say All Lives matter, you are saying the firemen should water all the houses, wether they are burning or not.
Pointing out All LIves matter means putting out non-existent fires.
Once I was eating a push up popsicle, you know the ones that come in strips and packed in multiple colors/flavors. It was blue. I can imagine the taste even now but couldn’t tell you the flavor..
I was enjoying this tasty treat as I drove to a friends place. As I arrived at his country home and rocky driveway, I inadvertently inhaled a chunk of blue popsicle that got stuck in my windpipe. I could not take a single breath for what seemed like a very long time, maybe a minute, maybe two, as I put my truck in park and ran panicked and almost fainting to his door, my mind screaming what my mouth could not- I can’t breathe!
Then suddenly it melted, I swallowed and it was over. I cannot imagine another 7 minutes with that pop in my throat but that is the worse fear of suffocation, as an adult, I have faced. Although once while getting steroids shot into my spinal column, I had this reaction that closed off my breathing for over a minute. I nearly threw the attendant, that was holding me down, in fear and unconscious flailing that anyone who has seen a drowning person has witnessed.
That is scary stuff and your body reacts.
Black Lives Matter Too. As well. And also.
Show your support by listening❤️