Tonight when we walked the garden I asked her if anyone had been unkind to her about the color of her skin. At first she shook her head no, but then after a moment she told me a group of girls recently had laughed at her and said that when she was old enough to get a boyfriend, boys wouldn’t like her, since boys like white girls more. (UGH)
We talked about racism. We talked about love. We talked about forgiveness, repentance. We talked about what being a black girl with a white mom felt like. What being a white mom with a black girl felt like. What was hard. What was beautiful.
And then she asked if someone had ever been racist toward me. I thought back, all 38 of my years, and the only thing I could come up with was the prejudice I faced when I chose to gather a little brown baby into my arms. Not everyone understood. Not everyone agreed. I felt judged, by either side of the coin. Some were rude. Some gawked. Some whispered. Some still do. In the entirety of my life, the only possible prejudice I have faced was not even actually about me. It was her.
I’m grateful to live in Alaska. I am grateful for the many arms she has made her home in. I’m grateful that neither one of us have very many stories to tell. But I know she will have more. She is still so naive. She’s just barely opening her beautiful brown eyes.
To some people the Black Lives Matter is an establishment, an over-blown movement, it’s even sometimes perceived as new form of racism. There are a lot of opinions and politics and pain floating around the internet. But to some people, in some hearts, the Black Lives Matter movement is an actual person. To me, she just looks like a ten year old little girl, twirling in the flowers.
My point here is this: Love your neighbor. Break it down, reduce the movement, reduce the numbers, until you find an actual person at your arms length to love. Black lives do matter, because they are your friend, your coworker, your brother, your daughter. And chances are, your heart will soften as it opens. Chances are the phrase won’t sound sour very long. Love is a person. It was always a person.
Here are a few pictures from my night with Keza, my daughter, my heart.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. And love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”