Friday
Dec212018

White!

In integrity with NVC process - please note the following piece of writing is mostly "evaluation" as opposed to "observation."  I felt compelled to share nonetheless.

 

Random Thoughts and Musings on my White Experience!

It’s July 2nd – 2017.  I’m sitting in my pavilion in Hayesville, NC with the misty morning mountains as part of my view.  Mama bird perched on the water spigot, tweeting her chirpy anxiety, as she tries to figure out the best route to her youngins who are directly behind me in the rafters.  A hummingbird tentatively sputters up to the feeder and quickly flies away, once spotting me. I know he will return; the sugar water is too tempting.  And all of this activity and beauty is surrounded by the constant humming – no rumbling – no actually something between a hum and a rumble of Tusquittee Creek just to my left.

When I come here, to our property known as Big Land (named after my brother and my husband, Bigbie and Landis), I’m swept away.  It’s like the creek sound literally drowns out my thoughts.  All remnants of my daily life back in Tallahassee – gone!  That inaccessibility is similar to the general experience I have going through life as a white woman, running a restorative justice program, for mostly black youth and living as a born Jewish northerner so much integrated into the South, that my heritage is barely  known to myself or others – and I like it that way.

But the parallel I’m trying to explain is not between my lost thoughts and my heritage; it’s about the ache in my heart I experience every day as I go through life as a white middle class woman deeply enmeshed in the intimate lives of black folks, mostly whom have far less than me – at least materially speaking.  That ache is not so much about their inequities, and difficulties, and tragedies – for sure those are there.  But the ache is about my utter desire to explain the fullness of my experience as I dance among my black brothers and sisters, some who may not initially see me as their sibling.  There is so much to grasp regarding privilege and the lack thereof, what privilege actually is, how it shapes our world view.  There is so much to know about class differences and how poverty is not all bad and wealth is not all good – and vice versa.  There is so much to tell about crime and the way our society is arresting kids for much of the same things that I see my white counterparts partaking in casually- and then these kids walk uphill with a ten ton pack for life.  Or how they get arrested because they are playing out the violence pattern that was handed down to them as slaves in a power-over system that they now tragically perpetuate.  Or how they steal because they are hungry and too embarrassed to explain their actions to a world that wouldn’t listen anyway.  These are the things I wake up at night thinking about, along with uncontainable love in my heart for the kids I have the honor of knowing every day. 

There is so much I want people, everywhere and from all walks of life to know and deeply understand about my experience.  I wish people, everywhere, could have a window into my being – because I have a sense that it could bring some healing to our scarred world, in particular regarding the race and economic divides.  The ache in my heart, that I described, is because my words could never adequately capture it all.  My thoughts and experiences are too non coherent – like the river’s rumbling washes over them and scrambles them all up.  Yet, I deeply believe that if I could let everyone live inside of me for a week or so, our world perspective could change for the better and a quicker turn towards true unity and community could possibly happen in my lifetime – or at least the next.  So, as I sit here on this blissful North Carolina morning, this is my initial attempt to share.  I pray I can keep my sharing going in the days to come and I pray my writing is captivating enough to hold your attention.  I pray for the guidance to help me capture my heart’s experience adequately – so that we can bring some wholeness to our broken world.

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