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Country needs love, ‘acceptance’

Commentary: ‘Sadness, frustrations, disappointment’

Tonight I’m thankful for my long commute home from work. That way my tears could dry by the time I pulled in the driveway so that my son does not see them. I’m still sitting in the car though trying to collect myself. I always keep an open dialogue with him. But tonight, for one night, I just want to shield him.

Today is another day of sadness, frustrations, disappointment. It breaks my heart sometimes this world we live in. For many, this is nothing new. It’s all some have ever experienced dealing with. And that’s even sadder to me.

For others of us, we may just now be waking up to the attitudes, opinions and even prejudice that may surround us but we were too blind or even too hopeful to acknowledge it.

For my dear friends who are black mothers of black children, there are simply no words I can offer you that will ever make up for what you’ve always had to deal with in raising your children in this world. You may experience right away who is racist and judging. I wish your innocent babies didn’t have to grow up in a world where they are judged by the color of their skin from a far too young of age.

I’m going to take a moment to express myself as a white mother of a biracial son. Because my perspective and experiences have been slightly different. I grew up knowing racism existed. Whether it be the rural area I grew up in, family or friends I had, things that happened throughout school, but I always had love in my heart for all races. I look at my loving, handsome, kindhearted son and think how could anyone possibly judge this child. But they have. For the most part though he’s accepted and loved by many in our community. Then experiences like this happen. Words are posted on social media, opinions are given, racial things are said. And I pause.

Is it that people in “my” world secretly do judge him for being black? Do they hold that against him deep in their core where they may not even realize they feel that way?

Maybe they judge him enough to even accept him and think “he’s a good one” but then aren’t so accepting of “the next one” that comes along. Or … here’s the other aspect that as a white mom of a biracial son has to sadly be considered. Do they only approve of him, even to go as far as love him, because they see the “white side” of him. Because I’m the white parent more directly raising him (not to ever discount his Dad’s role and how much my son loves him) or because his white grandparents play such an active role in his life, or because he’s raised in a predominantly white rural town.

They may accept and love the whiter version of him but then show their racism elsewhere still. Guess what? That sweet young man of mine is both black and white! So if you accept him, then you must accept and love both races of him. If you see good in him, then you must honor that he’s just as much black as he is white. Do you know what it’s like as a white mother of a biracial son to wonder how people really feel? Or even worse, to realize how they really feel. There already has, and will continue to be, times where unfortunately he’ll never be white “enough” for white people and for that matter, black enough for black people. I tell Brayden all the time that biracial is beautiful and I instill in him to always honor both of his races and cultures. But that doesn’t mean that he won’t still be judged because he will. And I will do my job as a parent to prepare him for that. Because as sad as it is to have to do that, it’s also worse for him to be shocked to experience it for real on his own one day.

This has left me to start detaching from relationships, friendships, or acquaintances from anyone who I don’t feel aligns with where my heart is right now. I’m hurting. I’m hurting for my son. I’m hurting for my black family members. I’m hurting for my black friends. I’m hurting for society in general who are judged merely by the color of their skin.

I’m hurting that more people continue to seem offended by other things than they do about a senseless murder. I’m hurting at some of the most appalling words I’ve ever seen written and the racism that still blatantly exists despite people’s choice to be blind to it.

I’m hurting.

I ask everyone in our lives, please find it in your hearts to break down the barriers of racism. Teach your children to love all people. Even if that’s not how you yourself were raised. Take time to self-reflect. You may not even realize things in your life that you’ve already had preconceived notions about that have directly or indirectly played a role in how you have thought of people.

Make a promise to yourself to try to do better every day. Spread that acceptance around to others you meet in your life. Share this message with others you may think might need to hear it too.

Show love. Not racism.

Karen Smith is a Forestville resident.

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