I do not know what to say about Michael Brown’s death. I, like everyone else watching these events from afar, do not know who is innocent or who is guilty.
But what I do know is that this was a wake up call. It has me thinking. It has everyone thinking, or so I hope it does. But somehow, even just writing in this very, very tiny space feels like a gamble. It is so incredibly uncomfortable to talk about this. To talk about race. Especially when you have spent 31 years on the blind side. But this is a start, because this is what I can do.
In college I took a class called, “Curriculum”. A very vague, non descriptive title for what would go down in between those four walls during that semester. My teacher, Robert Kelty, led us through article after article of eye-opening material. We read Sherman Alexie then we talked about why he was the only popular native american writer any of us could think of, we read about Disney and the messages it sends children (damn it people, it really does), and we read about white privilege. That one was hard to swallow. Oh I resisted quite hard. But, it turned out, I did in fact have such a skewed one-eyed vision of the world. So much so that I couldn’t even go into the library and pick out a picture book that wasn’t blatantly ambiguous and cliche. (For the record I picked The Girl who Loved Wild Horses... you can read about some of the issues we found with it here.)
My point is this: I don’t know what to do about the injustices that occur in this country EVERY SINGLE DAY. But it makes me feel so sad. They don’t happen to me, or near me, or around me, and somehow it makes it feel like they don’t happen at all. Now, with all this in the lime light, I am thinking about it. I am thinking hard, and taking the time to think up ways to explain these complicated things to my boys. I am talking about it here. I am talking about it with you. I am trying to learn.
I am thinking. I am beginning to ponder the idea, the possibility, the likelihood, that this change is up to me too. It is up to me as an individual in just about every move I make. And it is up to me as a mother, in the seeds I plant inside these little minds I spend my days with.