i realized that for the past week, i walk into almost EVERY interaction with ANYONE, with this mantra running through my head
friend or foe... trump or no??? ok... i just made that up today
i dont particularly like this new vigilance, but i am accepting it.
because only by accepting it can i consciously act on it
this morning i had pellets delivered from home depot.
i met the flatbed driver at the bottom of my front steps.
scraggly white guy, fifty-something, no front teeth, john deere baseball cap.
as stereotypical a trump voter as i am not.
i smiled and said hi
and right off the bat, i saw fear in his eyes. who knows, maybe he saw fear in mine as well
i asked if he could forklift the pellets to the top of the driveway, to make it easier for us to move them into the garage.
sure! i'll put one pallet here and one there so you dont have to carry them too far
awesome! thank you!
that's all it took
after, he brought paperwork for me to sign.
thank you so much... have a good day
oh thank YOU ma'am. you have a great day too.
and he smiled at me from his eyes... relief...gratitude...
i believe we are more alike than different.
i DO NOT BELIEVE that all, not even the majority, of trump supporters are misogynist, racist, xenophobic, anti LGBT creeps.
seriously... i don't
I DO believe that they are frustrated, hard working folks who want to feel safe and secure.
they want safety and security for their children and loved ones.
and as arguably misguided as i think their blame may lay, i also think it may be misguided on the anti-trump side as well
am i still afraid? am i still sickened?
do i have to work every minute of every day to not fall into the abyss?
do i think that this morning's brief interaction with the home depot delivery man was a gift?
an opportunity to strike a spark of light in encroaching darkness?
do i think that maybe it affected him as much as it did me?
i will do my best, every chance i get, to peel away The Different and find the place of The Same.
i will keep wearing my safety pin, and i will keep popping bubbles
This morning I dropped the kids off at the high school and noticed police cars in the parking lot. Yesterday there was an incident with a student who apparently made a threat, so today there is increased security.
But that's not the issue...
The issue is, when I saw the cop cars I automatically put both my hands at 11 & 1 on my steering wheel.
About a month ago, in my hometown, where I have resided for 12 years, I realized I get REALLY NERVOUS every time I drive past a cop car. So of course, because I live in my head, I thought... it's me it's my problem it's my...whatever...
But then I thought... hold up... what if I were... Me... but White... would I still be so mistrustful... so PARANOID???...
I am a 52 year old health care professional. I have degrees from an Ivy League school. I have paid taxes since I was 16 years old. I drive a light blue Mini Cooper forgodssake. But I feel more unsafe in my hometown when I pass a police car than at ANY other time, whether driving or on foot.
Are White Women who are, other than their 'race', just like me, nervous when they drive by a cop in their hometown? A hometown where they own property and pay taxes? A hometown where they love the Mountain and the River and Main St? A hometown where they wake up every morning, look out their bedroom bay window and think... oooh... so pretty...? The hometown where that, in most ways, they feel privileged (as in grateful) to live?
My answer is 'no'. I am not sure that a White Woman would have the same visceral reaction that I have. But like I said, I'm not sure. I haven't taken a poll or asked The Question. Maybe a lot more people are mistrustful or fearful of police than I am aware of.
So, back when I had this realization... I asked Jack. Because my kids are my reality check. They have a completely different perspective from mine and are super savvy. And they are usually dead-on. But Jack's response was... well, yeah mom... of course... so do I... there's no way white women have the same response you do...
Like I said, I had this conversation with Jack during the summer. He's 19 now, and had just finished his first year at a relatively exclusive expensive private liberal arts college near Albany. He's able to attend largely because he has a guaranteed merit scholarship covering half his tuition for the full four years. But after a few weeks of him being there I received a text saying "racism is alive and well". He excelled academically, and although he's aware he's really smart, he attributes his GPA to spending most of his time in the library because he doesn't want to fuck with those people
fuck with is current lingo for hang with
Mom, I never thought of myself as a background person, but I'm not at all interested in the social life there [at college]
I never much second-guessed my decision to forego what's typically considered "quality" k-12 education for my kids (school district reputation/tax base) for diversity until Jack started his college career.
One of the reasons I fell in love with Beacon 12 years ago was the diversity. I chose to raise my kids in a socially, culturally, and ECONOMICALLY diverse community with an "ok" school district, rather than a largely wealthy community with "stellar" schools". I wanted my kids to grow up with the chance to learn that at our core we are more alike than different, regardless of the labels we carry. And I truly believe it was the right choice.
Plus we could afford to buy a house here.
On the way up to drop him off 2 weeks ago, Jack told me about an encounter he had with his best college friend's older brother. The whole thing knocked him for a total loop and sounds like the most hurtful experience of racism he has had in his short "post racial" life. When introduced, his friend's brother looked at him and said "so, are you like one of the ones who is here to meet the quota? like... being Black got you in?"
are you fucking kidding me???
Jack, in a way that he definitely got from his dad or maybe my sister Halona, responded, " well... I have a 4.0 average... and I don't know anyone else who has that GPA... but it [being Black] sure helps with the ladies..."
to which this turd replied "yeah.. but... that's not REALLY a 4.0... your professors probably went easy on you so it would look good..."
Jack was devastated. He had a few choice words for the jerky brother and then walked out of the room. He and his best friend never talked about it, but he knew his friend was ashamed and embarrassed. His friend's mom is a pediatric nurse practitioner just like me. His dad is a nice guy. His friend is sweet and awesome. But the brother's words cut my boy to the quick and more than anything else he experienced made him want to run from that school.
So... back to my issue with being in viewing range of cops in Beacon...
Today I took Ty for his learner's permit. As I said, cops were posted outside the high school. As I drove past them, my heart skipped, I suddenly felt like I had to pee and I automatically placed my hands on top of my steering wheel in plain sight. I talked to Ty about it, kind of hoping he'd shoot me down in his mom you're so old, you're so out of touch, you're so clueless kind of way.
No. Such. Luck.
...ummm... yeah mom... of course... how else are you supposed to feel...
"it occurred to me that the only real sin you can commit as a mother is to deny your children's right to be who they are and what they want to be and that the only real sin you can commit against yourself is to deny who you truly are and prevent yourself from being who that is"