I learned a valuable lesson today. We really do walk a lonely path. I had a friend who used to always say the spiritual path is a lonely one that we travel alone. I used to vehemently disagree with him but I think I am starting to understand it.
I have been really vocal about recent news, specifically the death of Trayvon Martin and the acquittal of George Zimmerman. I am white, as many of you know. But despite that, the death of someone young and innocent, hit me in the heart. I don’t care what anyone says, I believe it was race related.
I grew up with parents who didn’t teach me prejudice. All people were/are equal to me. So I have a really hard time understanding the concept of hating someone or being afraid of them because of the color of their skin. As far as I’m concerned, Trayvon could have been MY own son. I haven’t made my opinions based on hear say. I have done my homework. Done my research, and through my tears, looked at the photographs.
But today I learned what it means to have a voice and use it and speak out. I was on Facebook and there was a post about racial issues. Someone (friend of a friend) wrote that “this whole race stupidity is annoying”. OK. Well. Hmmmm. Let me think about this one. What defines “annoying”? A fly inside the house is “annoying”. A mosquito biting you is “annoying”, a pimple on your face is “annoying”. Rain, when you don’t have the umbrella, is “annoying”. But racial stupidity is “annoying”? Really? Come again? WHAT?
No, racial inequality is MASSIVE. It’s HUGE. It’s a major problem. (No, that’s not even close to being right. That’s a MASSIVE understatement.) A boy lies dead at 17 years old because of his color. Countless others are discriminated against daily because of their color. It’s not OK to look the other way anymore. It’s not OK to pretend it does not exist anymore. We can’t pretend that racial injustice is all better and it’s gone. It’s not. IT IS NOT OK. IT IS NOT OK. IT IS NOT OK.
I can’t look at anyone of a different color anymore without wondering what kind of discrimination they’ve faced in their life. I have become so very conscious of it.
So, me, being the vocal idiot that I am, commented on the person who said that the “racial stupidity is annoying”. I said that I could no longer read the responses from that post. I said that I could not tolerate the bigotry and ignorance. (I was shaking.) Because I can’t. I can’t anymore. I can’t. There’s no place in my world for that. I can’t look at it or hear it anymore. No more. Enough is enough. Yes. I am intolerant of intolerance.
For my comment, which was how I felt in my heart of hearts, I got blasted. By the owner of the page and by the person who said the racist remark. I was insulting. How dare I be insulting? How dare I call a person bigoted and ignorant? (Which I didn’t. I just said I can’t take ignorance and bigotry anymore. I guess if the shoe fits, wear it. Right? Yeah, right.)
Well, fuckity fuck. It’s OK to be racist but it’s not OK to speak out against it. Guess any moron should know that, eh? I’m learning. I’m learning. Some of us are slower than others.
So, apparently, this makes ME the bad person. Not the person who was making racial remarks was wrong, but ME. I AM THE BAD PERSON. I AM THE PERSON WITH NO MANNERS. I have learned that speaking out is not in fashion. We are supposed to go along like sheep. Following the shepherd. Blind and mute. (No, sheep really aren’t blind and mute, but the masses are.) Apparently the lesson of the day was this: when a person makes a racist remark, the appropriate thing to do is make “nice” with them and be polite. (Yes, that’s sarcasm.)
I ended up deactivating my facebook account. I’m gone. No longer on Facebook. Because I don’t know how to do and say the right things so that I don’t piss people off. Because I called the elephant in the living room an elephant in the living room. Guess I didn’t know. Guess I am stupid. I will go back on eventually, but right now the drama is kicking my ass into next week.
Sigh. This path is lonely. It really, really is. Unless you do and say the right thing, you are left out. Excluded. Chastised. Accused of being rude. I have left social activities because I don’t fit in. I know how to have fun. I drink. (Tequila, baby, is my favorite!) I am not a teetotaler. Not by a long shot. I dance. I’ve been known to have a sailor’s mouth. But I’ve been pushed out. Because I don’t “fit in”. I don’t play along with the jokes that deprecate other human beings. Whether we’re talking about race, religion, sex, weight, size or anything else. I have this crazy ass idea that we are all equal; so I don’t fit in.
As I write this tonight, I am sad. Sad on so many levels and for so many different things. I am sad we live in a world with so much prejudice and so much hatred. I am sad that I feel so alone on my path at times. I am sad that speaking out against racism and hatred makes me the minority. I have only wanted acceptance and respect. I want to fit in. But this is not to be. Oh well. Deep sigh. It is what it is. Ironically, is this what people of other races feel like? Do they just want to be accepted and fit in for who and what they are?
I am thankful, on the other hand, for all of those who stand next to me and have the bravery and tenacity to keep speaking up for what they know is right. Keep on keeping on. And I will, too, given a few days to get over this. I’m tired of being slapped in the face. I feel like it took me 40 years to find my voice and for the last 5 ¾ years, I have been slapped down for speaking my truth. The “truth”, apparently, is not acceptable. At least not in some circles. Not yet.
A lonely road, indeed. But someone must SPEAK before there is no one left to speak anymore for anyone. We are all one.
Kathy Lee 6/25/2013