Empathy

Today, I’m primarily addressing my white, Christian loved ones. I’m doing so out of love and encouragement, though many of you will likely not readily receive the piece of perspective I’d like to offer up. Once again, I see and hear your earnest expressions of anger and disgust at athletes who have chosen to kneel during the national anthem. I know you are defending your country and the sacrifices that have been made to make our lifestyles possible. I know that these feelings come from a good and honest place in the heart of a patriot. That being said, I fear that we the majority are not understanding this act for what it truly is. Not an act of anarchy or of hate, but it is the start of a conversation. A conversation that maybe this group of people have been asking us to join for a long time with little results. We have an opportunity here to better ourselves first on an individual level, an opportunity to examine and correct our own biases and flaws. But first, we must recognize that we have dropped the ball. We are so quick to be proud of what we as a country have done right, I’m afraid we wear blinders to the problems that still exist. As a white woman, I know what is said behind closed doors, when our colleagues of color aren’t there. Just in my professional career, I’ve seen their hard-earned accomplishments belittled. I’ve heard tasteless comments by the droves. I’ve seen people of color used as scapegoats and workhorses when, in fact they had SO much to offer. And yes, behind closed door, and even in front of our children, many of us aren’t the equality preaching humanitarian we claim to be on social media. These issues add up and reach beyond the individual level and cause serious systemic problems. If you are angry because these displays suggests that our beloved country, and perhaps you as an individual may have some flaws, then I’m afraid nothing is going to ease your rage, as this kind of denial is exactly why these individuals are going to such “extreme measures.” They are advocaring for a group of AMERICANS who are disproportionately being killed and socially brushed to the side. If you are angry because these displays are “unamerican,” I encouraged us, the majority to step up to bat. The ball has been thrown, lets seize this opportunity instead of dwelling on how offended we are. I’m asking no one to apologize for their skin color. I’m not sympathizing  with hateful radicals on any front. I’m  just asking that we exercise our Christian values on a very basic level and listen to those who have walked a very different walk than ourselves. Which do you love more? Your fellow countrymen? Or a piece of cloth? 

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