What will it take for us to finally treat our black people with the equality and respect they deserve?
I believe we can’t count on politicians and laws to make the change; it will happen when the women stand up and say, “It’s time.” So many changes have happened when we’ve done that. Will 2016 be the year we take charge and say, “Enough! It’s way past time”?
We can start in our own daily lives by not just being friendly, but engaging with each other. When I asked a black friend why black women politely decline invitations to join white women’s groups, she said, “We don’t want to be your token black.” Okay, I get the sentiment, but not the logic: Why? Wouldn’t that be a place to start? I’d happily be a black group’s token white.
We need to know each other; we need to know that there are wonderful black men; there are wonderful white men. Wonderful women and children of all colors.
We need to play together.
Maybe we could do a better job writing school textbooks – make it clear that white people brought black people to America and treated them terribly. Show what it must have been like for slaves to be removed from their homes, transported to another country, and be made to work, with no rights, at the whim of another person.
Textbooks could show how, once free, many black people contributed a great deal to our country with their inventions, their art, their hard work, their patience.
Schools could teach how much people are all alike: in the beginning, what we want most is love and respect and acceptance. Racial acceptance could be demonstrated by teachers, employers, law enforcement workers, clergy, politicians, media, creators of music and movies.
And, at some point, we all need to stop pointing fingers at each other and listing all the wrongs done to us. We need to stand together and insist on justice for everybody.
Could 2016 be the year we make a real change?