I try not to talk about political things on my blog. It's not because I don't have strong convictions but rather because someone usually has to point out how uneducated or ignorant I am. So I usually keep my thoughts to myself. Today I am going to make an exception.
Living in a small town in western Nebraska it is easy to become insulated to the outside world. We don't have street gangs or slums. I don't worry about driving through unsafe neighborhoods or feel unsafe going out after dark. And I have never had to worry that I might be treated unjustly because of the color of my skin. I grew up in a white county in a white state and racism never really affected me much until my friend moved to town when I was in 5th or 6th grade. She was native American. In our tiny little community I was stunned to hear the things said about their family. And I was confused. Because she was very nice, very pretty and very smart, how could people dismiss her just because of the color of her skin? That was when I decided that I would value people for who they were not what they looked like. This decision helped me greatly when I married a military man and we traveled to new places with new people in our lives.
In the first few years of our marriage I got to know a lot of people who were of different races than me and I learned so much from them. It wasn't the things we talked about that I learned from but rather just the way they lived and how their childhoods had affected them. For instance, my beautiful Hispanic friend who was a fastidious housekeeper and fanatical about her children being clean. She commented once that all of her life she had heard people talk about " those dirty mexicans" and she would never give them reason to say that about her. This broke my heart and it was an example to me of how words can change ones life.
Fast forward to 2016: This has been a tough year for me because it breaks my heart to see the race war escalate. But it also is disturbing to me because it seems that police officers have been the ones to blamed for most of it. Many of my friends are police officers, retired police officers or wives of police officers and it makes me angry to see the media lump all police officers into one mass of so called corrupt and prejudiced. As far as I can see there are people of all races who are fine upstanding citizens as well as people of all races who are criminals. The same goes for our police officers. There are some who serve their communities every day with compassion and go home with aching hearts for what they have seen. Then there are others who are bullies who hide behind a badge. These are the police officers that have to go.
But there is so much more to this story. There are the athletes who are not standing for the national anthem and people are enraged. And why are they so angry? I had to really think about this because at first it made me angry. I didn't see this so much as a civil protest but as a slap to our service men and women who fought for this country. BUT...our country was founded on this kind of principle of protesting injustice. Theses athletes are not refusing to play, they are not inciting riots, they are simply quietly making a statement to show that they see injustice and a need for a change. I have enclosed a link below to a press conference with a Nebraska football player. I wept when I listened to him. This was not the action of a man looking to get attention but a man with true convictions, a man who loves his country and his God. And to think that people here in my own state actually said that he should be hung made me so incredibly sad.
So this leads me to my dilemma. How do I as a middle aged homemaker in nowhere Nebraska make a difference? Well, I think the first thing I can do is ask God to help me see opportunities here in my own community. I can teach my children and grandchildren to be color blind. If I see a racial or social injustice I need to stand up and speak against it. I can encourage others to love as our heavenly Father loves. I can pray for the people that have a louder voice than me to walk wisely and humbly as they speak out. I can write to my congressmen and ask them to find better ways to help the downtrodden with real solutions to better generations not just give handouts to make people dependent.
It is just a drop in the bucket but drop by drop the bucket will eventually become full. If every mother in America would teach her child to see the person behind the skin color we could make an amazing impact on the world. If we aren't better than this we certainly can be....and we should be.