Toughskins

 

I am white.

It is the skin I was born in. It’s actually kind of peach and sometimes blotchy in the sun, but in society, I am classified as—white. I’m married to a man with similar skin, and all three of our children are shades of us. We are a white family living on a single lane road in Arizona.

My friends are white, and some are brown, I guess. I didn’t choose them because of their color, it simply worked out that way and it would be disingenuous to seek out friends with darker skin simply because they are. . . darker.

There are those that will say I have no idea what goes on in the communities splashed across the news, that I live in the world of “white privilege” and have no business discussing anything race related. They might add that I am out of touch, isolated by choice, and I should shut the hell up and run to Starbucks.

I have something to say, but those people are in my head, and that’s what makes this hard. Honest questioning is often tough.

To say that I am heartbroken by what is happening in our country would be to pander to the media and the “leaders” on both sides that seek attention and nothing more. Hate sells and division weakens.

No, I’m not heartbroken because that is too easy.

I am tired of being sad, angry, and confused. I’m not interested in surface music video messages or pissing contests over terms and correctness.

I want to understand.

Not in a do-gooder, keeping-my-hands-clean way. I want to know if there are, in fact, officers preying on communities or if it’s a handful of ugly bigots.

I want to know if justice still has her blindfold on or if she is wide-eyed and targeting.

I want to know if darker skinned couples out for an evening are pulled over for no reason, and if school children in certain communities are bullied by those that should be an example.

I want the truth. The numbers instead of the spin and above all else, I want answers. Not hate yelled at a camera.

I want to know if citizens in these communities share the blame. Are they lazy, drug addicted, unmotivated and abusing the welfare system, or are the majority of families with non-peach skin working for the same things I’m working for, and again it’s a handful the media like to turn the cameras on?

I want to know the hours these officers put in and the conditions under which they work. The staffing in police departments, how much of my tax-paying dollars are going to them and the training these men and women receive before they go out on the streets to deal with trauma in every shade.

I also want to know why it has somehow become acceptable to disrespect all law enforcement in such a way that they are now targets. How can they possibly do their jobs?

I am no longer interested in teary faces, angry Facebook posts and people throwing hate and division back and forth for their own purpose.

Our country is unarguably broken, divided with our hands over our ears.

The time for heartbreak has passed. Maybe we need to stop dancing around one another and have the uncomfortable conversations. I’d like my government to do the same and focus its full abilities on fixing instead of talking before one more innocent person, citizen or officer, is made to feel desperate, scared and backed into a corner.

My thoughts from the laundry room. Rise.

 

8 thoughts on “Toughskins

  1. A very thoughtful, brave narrative… I’m sure a lot of us feel and think these sentiments without being able to somehow put them into words, let alone write & put them right out there for all to see and ponder. But, respectfully, I submit that a subtle resonance – that this was not written by a person of color – hangs in the air, even without reading the opening five paragraphs.

    “I want to know…”
    How does one ‘find out’? Unless, and until, we as individuals intentionally seek out truth, we will be fed ‘perception’ – what the ‘”leaders’ on both* sides,” filtered through the Media, hand us. [*I’m thinking it’s probably more complicated than just two camps vying for the upper hand; there are several agendas and hundreds of years’ history to consider – or not.]

    Yes, it would be disingenuous to seek out friendships with certain folks because of skin color. Why would I do that? Unless… my motives are to open discussion and find out what it’s like. To hear and be heard, to see with our own eyes and sense with our own heart – without waiting for The middle Man.

    1. So, part of the answer is to actively seek people that know what it is to be non-peach?

      I’m starting to think you are right because I find myself wanting to ask the perspective of strangers that are darker than me.

      I’m not a fan of the middle man.

      However, in doing that I’m still only gaining individual perspectives which can vary. I have known people of color and their stories are vast.

      I guess that’s another thing fed to us- all black people are…, all white people are…, etc.

      But, I need to start somewhere and smaller is usually better so I will seek out different and hope it turns genuine.

      Thank you for reading and your comments.

  2. I love this post. Why do young children carry the realization that people are NOT a box of crayons, yet older people spew vitriol about racism and hatred? It’s time we put these things to rest. But how? True, there are bad police officers and some that have been badly taught, but the same goes for bad people and ones that have been badly taught. I so fear the world we are leaving for our children. Thank you for this post.

  3. Great post, as a fellow “white skinned” middle age man, I’m tired of being blamed for all the world’s problems.
    Let’s all put on our big boy pants and get to work fixing the problems instead of bashing each other.

  4. Such a great post. I have wanted to write like this, about all these things, but like you I’m so hesitant. Should I even have an opinion?
    We live very close to Ferguson MO where the BlackLivesMatter movement started. I can only speak of what I see…and that is most officers here a good, hard-working human beings that truly serve. About a third are power hungry assholes and about half of that third should never have been given a badge let alone a weapon. I know there’s no easy answer but no longer hiring out of need for more police and instead by vetting them carefully and training them to withstand the immense stress of their profession is a great start.

  5. Yes, I know where you’re coming from. But I’m afraid there are so many problems in so many areas of our government, law-enforcement, health-care, Medicaid – on and on – that those answers you’re seeking require a complete shut-down and re-haul – a reboot. And how do we do that? For the topic at hand, look what I just came across: Former CIA contractor Steven Kelley says that the US now has a policy to not hire potential police officers if they show signs of empathy or logic. “There is a policy here in the United States that people of a relatively high IQ are not allowed to become police officers,” said former CIA contractor Steven Kelley in an interview with Press TV.
    The state of our country is such that to get to what you’re asking, which I believe for the first time may be actually heading our way, the slate will have to be wiped completely clean, with ALL of us in the same boat – with nothing but the clothes on our backs.

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