Reading Aiden’s column struck a chord with me for several reasons. First of all, I have to say that it was extremely refreshing to hear a young white male call for racial equality. That doesn’t happen much. At least that hasn’t been my experience. So when I read what he wrote this week, I got excited. Because he brings a message that we need to hear. I say we meaning what the majority of this county is…white.
The other reason I got excited is that this topic is a passion of mine. Coming from a much more diverse background in California where my children where the minority in their schools and where my friends all looked very different from each other, I very much dislike living where everyone looks the same, sounds the same and even thinks the same. It is frustrating to try to talk about race and color and hear people say that race and color don’t matter when they very much do.
I think the reason these topics are so hard to talk about is that they are scary and very big. We don’t know what to say and we are so afraid of offending others so we clam up and we don’t say anything. That doesn’t help anyone. But I understand that.
And I used to do that, too. But then I met some friends of color who I could ask all of my big questions to and they could ask me questions and we could talk openly and honestly and finally, everything was way less scary. And it had been very freeing. Because, at the end of the day, we are all people. We just want people to try and understand us. We want them to want to know us and to show interest in who we are and what matters to us.
Maybe over the holidays as you are traveling or as others come into our town who aren’t normally here, we can begin to venture out of our comfort zone and show interest in those who are different from us. Ask people questions about the things that seem “weird” to you. Reach out and try to understand more where they are coming from.
If a young man in high school can chance taking a big stand, surely all of us can. Let’s start having some of those big conversations. I mean isn’t part of what makes America so great is the diversity of her people?