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I’m just a white girl. I have feelings about the race related riots that were spurred by black people being shot by cops. But I’m just a white girl who grew up in middle-class suburbia. What do I know? I have not experienced oppression for the color of my skin.

I’m a white girl who once, while serving in the military, had to be held back from fighting with a black girl. As I stood in formation the 6’ black girl wasn’t happy with where I stood. She butted in, shoving me to the side. I took my place again refusing to move from my spot – A stupid reason to get into a fight in retrospect – We were children. That black girl and a group of her friends were from Mississippi, I from Ohio. She never said why she shoved me that first day, but I assume it was because I was “that” white girl. We were from such different backgrounds that the culture shock was almost funny. We became friends, this 6’ black girl with a Mississippi draw so thick I needed a translator at times, and I. “You’re like one of my girls,” she said to me about a month later. “So are you,” I said back.

I’m just a white girl who married a brown boy. I once got into a conversation with a seemingly harmless old man in the waiting room of a doctor’s office. He was one of those old, lonely types that strike up conversations with who ever will listen. I always try to engage with people like that, hoping one day someone will do the same for me when I become the crazy old lady I’m destined to become. I feel the need to point out this old man was white. It’s important only in that what came next smacked me in the face and punched me in the gut of “white privilege”. <- A term that makes me cringe by the way. He wanted to see pictures of my kids. I indulged and scrolled through my phone. I showed him a picture I’d taken on father’s day with my husband, father, and two kids. There on the screen, my little family stood frozen with goofy smiles. He looked at it and then up at me. “What’s a pretty girl like you doing with a man like that?” He asked, referring to my not white husband. You could hear a pin drop in the waiting room. Others had been listening and all eyes turned to me. “What is she going to say?” they probably wondered as they fixed the “Michael Jackson eating popcorn” meme in their minds. That old man, not two minutes before, had been talking about his faith. His faith in Jesus! I don’t remember everything I said. I was so righteously angry at his ignorance. I was so angry at his judgment. I was so angry for my husband. I was so angry that he would profess faith in Christ and then say something so filthy and evil in the next breath. Let’s just say I embarrassed him with scripture, and facts like – Jesus was middle-eastern and most probably not a white man -. I took heart in seeing nods of agreement from others in the waiting room; bless their hearts.

I’m just a white girl whose brown boy husband became a cop. He’s a good one too. He cares about the people on the streets. He talks to the families, to their kids, gives stern ‘talkings to’ of kids who may veer off course now and again. Checks on families of people he’s put in prison. Checks on people who have been let out of prison after their time is served. Helps connect them with people and programs to help with what ever situation they are dealing with. But I know not all cops are like him. My brown boy husband has been the recipient of racial slurs in the office by ‘good ol’ white boys who think the system is just fine and my husband needs to slow down his pace because he’s making them look bad. They are just a hand full of cops in the majority of his dealings. Most of the cops out there wouldn’t dream of being so bigoted. But they do exist. Just as in any profession or walk of life, there are some bad folks. It would be idiotic to think otherwise. I’m just a white girl and I see it.

My heart broke as I watched the latest riots in North Carolina. I couldn’t stop watching. There on the screen, were some people trying to be heard with a peaceful message. But then there were the others, stealing their voice, breaking windows, stealing crap that ISN”T THEIRS! SHOOTING A MAN IN THE HEAD! I see this and I long for a black leader to stand up and lead. I saw a picture of Martin Luther King JR yesterday and I cried. I cried because everything he believed in, stood for, is being trampled on by a hand full of careless people. Who does that to their own city? Are those people, smashing and grabbing, even from that city? Where is the one strong, calm voice ringing out of the chaos to bring us back from the brink?

But let me be clear, I do not support the black lives matter movement. I support black people. I validate that racism still exists. I agree that there is a difference in the system. But the black lives matter movement has called for the death of cops. My brown boy husband and many, many other men and women – who are not white — serve as cops.

Stop letting the media tell you what to believe. Stop taking such hard lined stands. Stop refusing to hear everything before you speak with conviction. Open your eyes, open your mind, and open your heart. All of you.

I’m just a white girl who loves a brown boy.

I’m just a white girl who has a broken heart for the state of our nation.

I’m just a white girl down on her knees praying for love to overcome the hate.