Brian took the girls to the city for the day and night and so I have had the house to myself for over 24 hours. I had grand plans of doing all the things that a mom thinks she’ll do with such freedom, but instead I sat in front of the television the entire day and night in a saddened daze.
How is this possible?
How is it possible that in the year 2017, I am having archaic conversations with my children that my grandparents had to have 60 years ago with my parents?
How is that possible?
In the last 24 hours, I have been consumed with the sadness and fear – and realization – that we will be fighting this battle over bigotry and racism as parents until the day we die. And then our children will be fighting it with their children. Because these horrific people will always exist. And the real sadness comes in that they exist in not only large ways – groups marching down a street filled with hate – but in small ways that seep in slowly like a methodical poison.
A racist joke, an off-handed comment, a generalization… these all chip away at everything we are trying to teach our children. Brian and I can drill into our girls over and over the absolute importance of equality and love – and it will take one fucking idiot with a racist joke to plant a seed of doubt.
Do you understand that?
A friend posted yesterday, “Where is the outrage now from the many of you who very loudly [criticized and mocked] the Women’s march?” – a peaceful march of four million people. And his question could not be more on point. How quickly your energy for outrage has vanished. And don’t tell me it’s because you don’t feel the need to “acknowledge” a small group of white supremacists. That “small” group of hate marched down a city street and reminded us of what is still out there. That “small” group of terrorists (say it, Mr. President) proudly affirmed all the quiet hate that is still swarming in this country.
That is what this country is filled with. The people with the small, “off-color” jokes. The people who say “them” and “those people.” The people who completely miss the point of Black Lives Matter. And sadly, just reading “Black Lives Matter” in this post will instantly either turn people off or put them on the defensive. Somehow they believe that saying “Black Lives Matter” is saying no other lives matter. I have news for you. Your white life has always fucking mattered. It has mattered so much that there has never been a fucking question of it mattering.
How do people not understand that?!
Me writing this is not jumping on a soapbox or an exercise in self-righteousness. I am a white suburban mom and I will never, ever understand what it must feel like to know that if my black child goes missing, she will fall into a secondary importance of a white child who has gone missing on the same day. When is the last time you saw a Dateline episode or even the nightly news report on a missing black child?
I will never understand how it feels to know that if my child were shot walking down the street, the outrage, if any, would last a day and then be buried along with her.
I won’t truly understand the fear of a mother who watches the news and sees a parade of grown men and women proudly carrying hateful signs that tell my children they don’t belong – that this is not their country.
I don’t pretend to understand how any of this must feel.
I do know this. If my child, sister, friend or neighbor came to me with her heart in her hands and said, “It has been bruised and broken for years – and no one can help me,” I would not then pull out my perfectly beating heart and say, “Well, my heart matters, too.”
There is loud hate on the streets. There is even quieter hate slowly filling the small spaces surrounding us. In those small spaces, our children are watching and listening.
So, we will teach our kids what all sides represent.
And we will also make damned sure they know which side is filled with blatant hate.