The Journey of Dialog
Internal struggle of Race
Over the course of five years, I have hesitated to share my thoughts, feelings, and opinions of the current racial state of America. I have cried, laughed and wondered as we are stumbling through the motions of social change. If I was honest, I was blind. I was blind to the color of my skin, blind to my condition and blind to the fate of my brothers and sisters of color. Because, I determined that, it doesn’t impact me. I lived in a bubble but I was left uneasy, unsettled and disconnected.
Bursting the Bubble
First, Tamer Rice was killed. A twelve-year-old kid, shot in the chest in my own backyard. I don’t live too far from the scene of his unfortunate killing. I sunk into the chair of my car when I first heard the news. I didn’t know whether to cry or be angry. I watched the video, over one hundred times to see, why it was deemed justifiable to take another human life. This moment was a tipping point for me, I could no longer be a casual observer for civil rights, I was compelled to see change. That child in the park could have easily been one of my children, and I often wonder what would have happened if Tamer was white.
When Philando Castile was shot and it was made public through Facebook live, I knew what my cause needed to be. When looking at our current polarized landscape I ask myself one question, how do we speak with honor on issues of race, without demonizing each other for our different perspectives. What is the art of racial dialogue?
Be the change
The truth of the prayer, Saint Francis prayed, Lord, make me an instrument of your peace, is not more true. Any change we wish to see must first be internal. For myself, I asked myself, how do I engage peace through this conversation. Rather than participate in groupthink, which Facebook can easily facilitate, How can we honor in the context of complex situations?
I have changed my thoughts on rights and social justice issues. As a person of color, I have sought to understand both sides of the argument of equality and loved the process of discovery between the two communities. How do we bridge the divide which we currently live in? Be the bridge.
So, how do we choose to speak in honor? Intentionally, deliberately, and directly. Seek first to listen than to be heard. Learn to set aside how you see a situation, yet be willing to see the world through the eyes of another. That’s the key, the issue at hand is never the core problem during a time of conflict. It is a symptom of a deeper problem that has risen to the surface. Learning to distinguish that fact, separates those who are empathic and impactful to those who push an agenda and surface-level change.
The Road Ahead
The dream that Martin Luther King Jr, the forecast was a prophetic foreshadowing. As we travel down the road that Martin saw, we set new heights and assign new landmarks. We are growing together in progress and there is so much more to discover.