I’ve been wanting to blog since Saturday…from the moment I saw the first image out of Charlottesville. The Confederate flags…the Tiki torches…the hate-filled signs…the arms held up “a la Hitler.”
I’ve been wanting to blog. But I had no idea how to put anything into words. And I knew the first conversation I needed to have was with my children. Because they were watching the very same images.
I was disgusted by what I was watching…but I wasn’t surprised or shocked at all. And that is what upsets me the most.
Several years ago while living in North Carolina, I remember getting a call from my husband at work: “I am so pi**ed off right now!”
He proceeded to tell me that one of his customers at the bank asked him how long he had been living “here.” It went something like this:
“How long have you been here?”
“In North Carolina? About three years now.”
“No. In America.”
“I have been here since I was 14.”
“Don’t you think it’s time to get rid of that accent?”
Not too long after that incident, a viewer wrote me a letter and told me that he would no longer watch me on the news. He said, “I just found out that your husband isn’t white American!”
My first thought was: the only thing considered “white American” is deli cheese.
No, my husband was not born in the United States…he was born in South America. But my husband is a proud American CITIZEN.
I was born here. But so many people in my family tree were not. They came from across the Atlantic.
Our children, appear to be “white.” But they’re not. They’re so much more than a shade. They have thick Latino, Sicilian and other European roots. They have a story. My husband has a story. I have a story.
Our children will tell you their skin color is peach…because everything is still based on a box of crayons…as it should be. They will tell you they are American. They will tell you they have family who came from Spain, Bolivia, Italy, Sicily and a few places in between.
They will tell you their history makes them no better than anyone. They will tell you their history makes them no less than anyone.
They will tell you all of those things because that’s what they are taught. I can’t control the filth and hate that comes out of so many mouths. Unfortunately, that is learned behavior. But I can control what happens in our house. We believe in someone’s STORY. Who they are. Where they came from. What brought them to this very moment.
I used a recent trip to a frozen yogurt shop to put things in perspective. My kids each poured out their choice of flavors…one got vanilla, one chose chocolate, one opted for banana.
“You guys want to eat it like that?”
“No way! It’s too boring…I don’t like it plain.”
They then proceeded to load on the toppings. Nerd candy, M&M’s, strawberries, Reese’s PB cups, whipped cream…you name it, they threw it on top.
Their frozen yogurt was a lot more interesting and fun with a bunch of different flavors loaded on top.
“It’s kind of like people isn’t it? A bunch of different flavors added in makes it more exciting right?”
If we got to know someone’s story…and everything they are made of…life would be a lot more interesting.