The newest angel in our life is a respite caregiver named Jasmine. She came for her meet-and-greet last week and we hit it off immediately. By the end of our one-hour visit it felt as if we were old friends. Despite coming from different backgrounds and life experiences, we quickly found common ground and were able to connect in an incredibly openhearted and honest way- especially for having just met.
Jasmine is a single mother of three with a free flowing passion for life and encouraging spirit. She smiles easily and interacts in a warm loving manner.
Jasmine is also black, which to my bi-racial family, makes absolutely no difference at all.
She came for her first shift on Wednesday night and was eager to get Oliver out of the apartment and take him for a stroll in the park across the street. It was a beautiful day with warm sunshine, clear skies, cool air… the perfect day for a walk. When they returned from their outing Jasmine came in shaking her head and said ‘Oooo boy it’s just a good thing I had a baby with me… Can’t waste my time on them’. It was obvious something had happened so I inquired further.
She told me that she had walked past a group of white women at the park and one of them said loudly ‘Well it’s a good thing she knows her place.”
My jaw dropped. All I could say was “Are you fucking kidding me?!”
I felt my stomach turn as the tears stung my eyes and the primal rage of a protective mother burned up from my chest. I call these moments of profound emotion ‘seeing red’. It’s like the whole world drops away and I am consumed by waves of powerful feeling.
Although the color of my skin is white, the wounds of the collective conscious are alive and well within my heart and I feel new cuts like these with all the anger and pain of hundreds of years of hatred and violence. Why must we continue to foster this disgusting display of ignorance??
Although I see racism in the news and hear about it constantly, it never ceases to shock me when I actually witness it. (I know that is a privilege) It boggles my mind that in the year 2019 this utterly insignificant difference of skin color still creates a divide filled with cruelty, hostility and revulsion. For God sakes, it’s a fucking color!!!! How can we be so caught up in this deluded idea of duality… this illusion that the shade of our skin sets us apart from one another?! Wake the fuck up world!!!! We need unity and oneness, not divisiveness and fear. We need to come together and pool our energy for good instead of squandering our precious recourses to keep racism alive and well. We have SO much more in common than that which is different. Why don’t people see that?
I wish that lady from the park would come spend a shift with Jasmine in our home. I wish she’d sit quietly and observe how sweetly J lifts Oliver in and out of his swing. I wish she’d listen to the heartfelt words of encouragement Jasmine gives me while I do my best to stay afloat. I wish she would escape the trappings of her ignorance and open herself up to befriend this angel who has given of herself to make our lives easier. I wish she’d realize that the quality of our character and the love we share with the world are what define us… not the color of our skin.
There are so many important issues that so desperately need our attention… With a planet full of resources and wealth, there are still people starving. On the opposite end, people are eating themselves into sickness and death. Collectively we are population of zombies lost in our addictions to drugs, our phones, media and escapism. Our oceans are filled with plastic and the fish are going extinct. Young people of color are losing their lives from violence rooted in judgment and fear. Children are being ripped from the arms of their mothers and fathers as they make a run for a better life. The planet is getting warmer and the pollution continues. These are the issues of our time… Can we please let go of the idiotic notion that any of us is better than the other and just come together?!!?!?!? We need each other!!
Let’s not forget about the privilege we all have to live at the time we do, where there is access to education and ample opportunities for communication and connection. We no longer have to dwell in the shadows of ignorance. We have the power to open our eyes and hearts and allow antiquated systems of bigotry to fall.
Sigh… When will this happen…
I’ve been trying to shake this feeling of disappointment all week. Jasmine took the whole thing in stride. We had a deeply heartfelt conversation at the end of her shift that day. She told me never to worry about people like that. She said, “Once you become a member of the conscious community, you just begin to feel sorry for them. They’re unhappy with themselves.” And she’s right. Our deepest insecurities and self- loathing often manifest outwardly as hate towards other people. In that, I guess I understand. I have certainly been guilty of lashing out at others due to my own underlying issues. But it’s really just time to rise above all that.
From this experience I will take away a reminder to practice kindness instead of judgment, to remain open to learning from every unique human being with whom I come in contact and to stand up tall against injustice, racism and violence. All we can do is Be The Change we Want to See.
I hope you’ll join me in this quest to make the world a little bit kinder, gentler, loving place for us all to BE.