Yesterday I saw a white woman with a school aged black child. I was in my vehicle with my best friend’s two year old son, keeping him content with pieces of a chocolate chip cookie while we waiting for his mom to come back from the parent teacher conference she was having about her other son. I knew nothing about this woman and the child she was walking with, but it started a reflection, rather an introspection of sorts, about race. I can only assume the woman is the mother of the child as they were walking hand in hand toward the school.
I am guilty of white guilt. There has been contention with race since before I was alive, obviously. But my guilt, white guilt, doesn’t make a bridge to better understanding. No. It is in fact a form of racism. I shouldn’t be an apologist for having been born with white skin. In a perfect world, we wouldn’t see the differences between one another as obstacles, but would embrace them because that, that is the opposite of racism. It’s not ignoring the differences and saying we are all people and bleed all the same. It is embracing who we are and where we come from and knowing that it’s our diversity that makes us beautiful as humans.
But ever since I was middle school aged, I have tried different ways of conforming so I can feel at ease. So I can feel accepted, overcompensating the fact that even though there’s difference, I’m not like the racist white people out there. And that’s a shame. That is not the way. And though on in intellectual note I am fully aware of that, I still do it.
After the introspection, I went with my best friend and her two children to the football field where she assistant coaches for a group of 9-11 year old children. I walked to the field with her and upon seeing a group of white and black people, didn’t know how to be. I smiled. I laughed when something funny was said or happened. I chased her two-year-old around. I see color. I see differences. But I am guilty of white guilt. I don’t know how to be comfortable in a diverse crowd. And that’s a shame. That’s on me. It’s something I need to work on.