I saw something, for once not on Facebook, it struck me, the person said that the five slain officers were overshadowing the civilian deaths that had recently taken place.
I admit I sat there for a long time just looking at it, the words, the sheer audacity, the sheer non-understanding of why these five deaths are resonating with the nation. No, the world, they ran into the line of fire to save the people protesting them. How does that not express the profound meaning that their lives had? That their deaths have? They ran towards gun-fire to save people who protested them.
I have seen a lot of things recently spouting “race” as if ones’ race is based on skin tone. It’s not, we are the human race, created in God’s image. He did not create different humans with different skin tones, He didn’t say “you know what, I’m going to separate these people I have created by color”. He didn’t color code us. He created man in his own image and saw it was good.
Good. We were created good, prejudice is not inherent, it is learned. I was taught all of my life to judge a person by the content of their character not by the outward appearance. A hard lesson for me, oh, not by skin tone, apparel. I judged by what a person wore, their hair style, shoes, oh my, yes the shoes. My poor mother, she really had her work cut out for her with that one. I remember one Sunday, in Owasso, OK at the First Freewill Baptist Church, a woman came in with jeans.
WHAT!? This had to be 1979 or around there, I was aghast, one simply did not do that in 1979. As soon as we got in the car to go home I just could not contain myself. The judgements flew out of my mouth at a rapid rate. I could not believe someone, much less a woman, would come to church in jeans.
I’ll never forget the look on my mothers’ face, it wasn’t anger, it was sadness and disappointment. She looked at me for a long time and said Angie show me in the bible where it says don’t come to church in jeans. Or for that fact where it says all ye women come in a dress.
I sat there in that back seat and just stared, then I said well you won’t let me do it, she said no, I won’t. Here’s why, when we go to God’s house we wear our best, that’s why it’s called our Sunday best. You are very fortunate that your Sunday best is stylish, nice, pressed and what we, as your parents, deem appropriate.
Not everyone has those kinds of garments, did you ever once, in the middle of your judgement think that the jeans were her Sunday best? Those are the best jeans she owns, they are clean, no holes and fit, her shirt was nice, clean, pressed and she was presentable. She was dressed in her Sunday best and here you sit, judging her. I never forgot that, disappointing my mom it was up there with disappointing God. I learned a strong lesson that day, it is one, I admit, I still struggle with.
To judge a person by something they cannot control is idiocy, people cannot control the color of their skin. The pigment they are born with, it is who they are, that is not something we should be judging on.
No matter what color your skin is, if it is white, peach, ghostly white (Irishman shout out there), brown, light brown, dark brown, black, olive (Tammi shout out there), tan, red, yellow or any other color that can be found in a child’s Crayola box, one should not be judged for it.
Before my life in Owasso, the one I don’t talk about too much, I lived in Oklahoma City, as a matter of fact, I lived in a really tough neighborhood. Capitol Hill, if you are from there, then you know, it’s rough. Or it was when I was a kid.
In the 1970’s Oklahoma began desegregating, I know, 10 years behind everyone else.
There was a good mixture of skin tones in my elementary school, we had everyone, white, black, brown, red, everyone. You know what, no fights based on skin color, I did have a fight with a boy named Kevin, he was my skin tone. He made me mad and I hit him with my lunch box. My metal, partridge family with the thermos in, lunch box. Mr. Jackson was our principal and I went to see him fairly often, only once did he call my grandparents. Never anyone else.
Did I mention he was black? A lot of my teachers were as well, I never thought anything about it. Skin color was never mentioned and as children no one cared. At all. There was one incident, but I really can’t talk about it here and it’s not “race” related it was more an explanation gone wrong issue. And yes, it had to do with me.
When I got to Middle School, Capitol Hill Middle School, things had changed, it was not an equal mixture of skin tones, it was roughly 75% black, 15% white and the rest Indian, I am using these terms due to the fact that is what we used then. Please take them in context to the time frame.
In middle school, still no issues, no one made any reference to skin color, a lot of classes, as I look back, I realize I was the only one in there that had a pale appearance. No one held it against me, I wasn’t called names. I was confused when I watched the nightly news, as it was talking about “race” riots, minorities and things of that nature. In my school, I was the minority, so I really didn’t understand.
Then I moved to a different part of Oklahoma City and started going to Jefferson Middle School, way different demographic, back to more of an equal balance of skin tones. Here is the funny story from there, I saw my friend Paulette from CHMS and we were thrilled to see each other. I said I didn’t know you guys were going to go here! She had a twin brother named Paul. She said yes, her mom and dad wanted to get out of the old neighborhood. She then said, and I’ll never forget it, there were too many black people there. I looked at her for a minute and said Paulette, you know your black right? She laughed and said that is what she said to her mom and dad. She said she really never got an explanation for that one.
Oh and before you think oh they must have been too light skinned for “the community” at that time. Not the case, her family was very proud of the fact that they were pure, no Indian and no White. I didn’t know what that meant until later, all I knew was Paulette and I were friends, her family welcomed me into their home and mine welcomed her into ours.
Then the move to Owasso, now, I have to tell you, Owasso was a shock to my system, a huge shock, on so many levels. Gone were the museums, the symphony, no orchestra at school, I was so depressed about moving I didn’t want to join the basketball team, I had played in OKC, I didn’t want to join the band, seriously, I was a cello player. No cellos in Owasso at that time, also, not a lot of people that didn’t look like me.
I remember the first day of school there, my BFF Tammi and I went, we took the bus, spent all day going from class to class. Then after school, we waited for our bus, I couldn’t take it anymore, I whispered what did they do with the black people, she said I don’t know, but don’t say anything because they might do away with us. Tammi came from Tulsa, huge diversity there as well.
Owasso is much more diverse now, however it wasn’t then, and it was a shock to my system.
But I still was being raised in a household where you did not judge based on outer appearances, especially based on something you cannot change.
Something has to give in this country, if you are judging me based on my pigmentation then you are prejudice, if someone is judging you based on your pigmentation they are prejudice.
I am a regionalist, I admit that, I judge on what region of the country you are from. I states, well, I am not overly fond of I states. I am not going to say what those are here, as I would get hate mail. Just know, that the job I have, I get to see how people behave when they think they can get away with speaking to humans any kind of way. I think we all know what that means.
Every day, I work side by side with people who do not look like me, we all get along, we all joke with one another, help one another and share knowledge and experience. We don’t base our opinion of someone’s ability to do their job based on the pigmentation of their skin.
We are one race, we are the human race, God made one race, humans, until the aliens come, and they totally are, but for now, on this big blue marble, we are it. Human. We might come in different colors, different shapes, sizes and have different thought processes, but we are all one. And if you are a Christian or even Jewish, then we are all descendants of Adam and Eve. We are brothers and sisters; we all need to remember that.
I do not judge a situation based on a snippet of a video someone took with their phone, from an angle that doesn’t show everything that happened. I do believe that the media and politicians and people who are in power want to keep everything stirred up. They want to keep humans fighting over pigmentation.
Just stop, stop and take a good long look at what the people in power don’t want you to see. Take time out to forge friendships with people of differences. Physical, emotional, intelligence and personality, those differences in us make the whole.
I’ll leave you with the words of Downtown Julie Brown, peace, love and gossip.
As always, if you have any comments or questions you can direct them to firstname.lastname@example.org