Today is the day you can claim me as your black friend. So put your arm around me or better yet, I’ll put my arm around you, and we shall sing old Negro spirituals. Don’t worry if you’re an old racist. Today we celebrate, not only Martin Luther King but all the people who let you kick their asses during non-violent protests until you got winded and they had your balls.
That’s right, don’t feel guilty if your ancestors were assholes just explore the benefits of the Civil Rights Movement with the rest of us. Go someplace where you are the only white person. Someplace where if there is another white person people think you know each other. Don’t be afraid, other races do this all the time. Also, if you have kids make sure that by the time they’re four they’ve at least talked to a black person long enough to realize we’re not brown because we’re dirty white people. (Yes, children still ask me why I’m so dirty. Come on, get on this white parents.)
Hello, Black People!
Be happy. We have white friends and if we have sex with a white person it’s not a crime. (Well, at least not if you’re doing it right.) My mom’s generation went from having to step off the sidewalks to make room for whites to having a black president. So little time for things to change so much. The extreme poverty gap between the races is something that stems from that time. In fact, poverty was the next civil right that MLK was going to tackle before his death.
Think about it. Besides the institutionalized oppression, we were forced to oppress ourselves. People said things like: If you educate your black boys they will be competition for the white men. If you’re black and educated you’ll think you’re equal and you’ll want more. People who want more get lynched. For heaven’s sake, all we were doing was trying to stay alive. Now there are generations still stuck in survival mode. Unable to believe there can be more for them. Let’s not feel handicapped by what happened to our ancestors. Be proud of what they fought through to not only survive but to thrive.
Hello, Asian/Hispanic/Mixed/Native American/African/Other People!
Each one of your races has your own struggles and accomplishments. Never forget that when society seems to forget you, your stories still exist and are worth knowing.
You too have ancestors whose experiences shape your world today. Respect that and keep what’s good but don’t dwell on what they did. Live in the now.
We are scary and beautiful. We are cruel and good. We are our past and our present as we strive for a better future. We are.