The divide between us


“If someone says a racial slur or says something and you’re like, ‘I can’t believe they said that,’ actually say that outloud to them. Do not normalize xenophobia, do not normalize anti-blackness, do not normalize transphobia. Take a step back and analyze why it’s there.” – Angela Peoples

The image is a stark contrast. Three white women in their fashionable J. Crew clothes taking selfies for Facebook and texting their BFF’s “Guess where I am?”. This is there Woodstock. A time and place that they will tell their kids and grandkids, “I was there.” But how will their story end? What can or will they say that they accomplished? That part of the story is entirely up to each of them. For many, they will simply go back to their comfortable and privileged lives. It will be enough that they were there, took a selfie and posted it on Facebook or Instagram.

When I look at Angela Peoples, the lady holding the sign “Don’t forget: white women voted for Trump”, in the sea of white faces and pink hats it reminds me that is the world that I exist in. I don’t have any friends that are black. I don’t have black neighbors. The church I attend is lily-white. In truth, my social and business world is completely void of people of color. But my question is, and the question I ask myself everyday, whose fault is it?

William Tell, a blogger that frequently comments on my post and whose insight I have great respect for, first shared the Angela Peoples story with me. William commented recently “As the term is used in my world, to be white is to be “racist.” Period.”  I commented back “Thankfully William the world is bigger than the world you live in.” but honestly is it? Now that I think about it, now that I take a step back, my world really isn’t that big and it certainly isn’t very diverse. But again I ask, whose fault is that?

I am not trying to assign blame. I am just searching for some answers. For years I have simply chalked it up to where I live, this medium size southern city in a very red and conservative state. I rationalized that if I lived in a bigger city like Atlanta or Charlotte things would be different. My universe would contain more diversity. But looking at Angela Peoples standing there in one of the most heterogeneous and metropolitan cities in our nation I wonder now if my thought really is true.

In my heart I don’t believe I am a racist. But does my lack of having close personal relationships with people of color send a different message? Does my friendly banter with Rick the Indian at the convenience store or Henry, the African-American at the dry cleaners count? I don’t think so. Maybe it proves I am open to those opportunities or maybe it proves the larger divide between us.

Angela Peoples is sharing her story with us. She is encouraging us not to let it end with just a selfie. But both Angela and the J. Crew girls will need to make some adjustments. Yes there is a divide, in my mind a divide of culture, not just skin tone and each side will need to make allowances for that. Each side will need to accept some things while overlooking others but understanding there is a lot of common ground between us. The question is, are we willing to wade through all of the other bullshit to find it?

About ends and beginnings blog

I am a frustrated writer and poet waiting to be discovered. A stand-up philosopher performing on a street corner near you. A Christian with questions but I don’t want to hear your answers. A Buddhist with a bumper sticker on my truck to prove it. A collector of quotes. A grower of lettuce. The Patron Saint of earthworms who name their children after me. A cyclist whose big ass strains the seams of his Lycra bibs. I am American by birth, Southern by the grace of God. My goal in life is to leave an imprint on the lives of the people I love not a footprint on the earth. I am a son, a husband, a father composed of 65%-Oxygen, 18%-Carbon, 10%-Hydrogen, 3%-Nitrogen, 3%-Diet Coke and 1%-Oreo.
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18 Responses to The divide between us

  1. William Tell says:

    Interesting, in that, this very moment, I am engaged in a similar discussion elsewhere. The approach I feel called to IN LIFE: love each person as a child of God; see God’s image in that person, regardless what bullshit appears; BE God’s image to and for that person, here and now. This also entails accepting and wading through the bullshit about oneself. Love for oneself — as a child of God, as a gift from God — is the beginning, and enables all the rest.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nan says:

    You ask, But does my lack of having close personal relationships with people of color send a different message? And my answer is, I don’t think so. I think it’s the mindset. To some, every non-white person is suspect, even dangerous. And some see them as just downright no-good. But fortunately, there are those who see them as human beings who just happened to have been born with a different skin color. I don’t know you, but I tend to think you fall into the latter category.

    We have much to overcome in this nation …

    Liked by 3 people

  3. manqindi says:

    Interesting to see the two major liberal issues antagonistic to each other – that’ll suit the conservatives very well. Let them vent their spleens against each other in the fight to claim the moral high ground. The rest can just tune out for a while, which will be a relief!


  4. mrsgldnegg says:

    Well-said. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this.
    I say give the JCrew girls a chance. Don’t dismiss them. Don’t demonize them. They aren’t the real enemy. They’re trying. They’re learning. We all have to start somewhere. Yes, they don’t totally get it, but they will. Unless their support is rejeced. We are stronger united. Invite them in and teach them.
    A first step to eradicating bias is to recognize the disease. Even in ourselves. And your reflection demonstrates a new level of exploitation that can only lead to something good. We must be aware of our own faults so we can work on them.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I am deep disturbed by the sign that woman is carrying. 1st of all, what is she saying? That white women should be treated badly? Secondly, even if the stats are accurate (which I highly doubt), only 50% voted for him. What about those of us who marched against US intervention? Against Apartheid? Against Police Brutality? We marched with the NAACP. We worked to get Jesse Jackson elected. Much of this was before this woman was born, so maybe she doesn’t know about us. But if ignorance is to be excused, it should be excuse on BOTH sides.
    Peace, love & Justice for ALL,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherrie, my view of the statement this woman was trying to make is this, understand what you are fighting for and who it is you are fighting against. Being silent in most cases is worse than the crime being committed. We have “friends” that voted for and support Trump because they don’t want to step outside of their sphere of influence namely their friends and neighbors. They want to be invited to the cocktail parties (my wife and I aren’t), and backyard BBQ’s (my wife and I aren’t). In their heart they may not agree with all the rhetoric being spoken but by god they will act like they do to remain Facebook friends with their peers. The march was more than selfie time. It was a beginning that has a middle and an end and middles and ends require action and steps. Will those J. Crew girls have the guts to follow through with what needs to be done? Only time will tell.


  6. JJS says:

    Regarding racism and white people (like me), I truly believe we don’t know what we don’t know. I can read all the enlightened literature I want, and try to do and say all the right things, but in my opinion there’s no substitute for having real, difficult conversations about racism with people who endure it on a daily basis. No matter how good my intentions, they are based on assumptions from a cis, white, male perspective and it needs to be tempered by the first-person perspective of others.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. tsepotheview says:

    Nice one…keep posting

    Liked by 1 person

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