When you have been consistently shown images and told stories of people who look like you, your family and friends,
working in fields,
working as “the help,”
receiving sub-par education,
and being murdered…
it does something to you.
We all may handle it in a different way, but there is no denying the residue.
The person who becomes extremely right-winged, is ashamed, embarrassed, refuses to believe that the history of their people group can or will affect the form of their existence today.
The person who becomes “hardened or angry,” is tired of seeing these repeat narratives that constantly remind them that there is still so much work to be done.
The residue remains.
I was raised in a two-parent home where we wanted for nothing. I’ve been in rooms and met people that some would only dream of, yet and still, when I see a white man driving a pickup truck, I feel unsafe.
I shouldn’t feel unsafe, but I do.
Not because anything has ever happened to me directly, but because it has happened to people who look like me and I’ve seen the pictures, heard the stories, and watched the movies replay these tales again and again.
The residue remains.
To tell someone they shouldn’t feel a certain way is not right.
We can tell our stories a million times, a million different ways and still some will never get it.
And I guess we have to be okay with that truth.
In the meantime, for those of us who carry this residue, we have to find our own ways to function with it.
And so we do….we all forge our way down familiar paths of shared experiences, processing them all differently.
Were they being racist?
Are they looking at me strange?
Does my skin color have anything to do with how I’m being treated?
Does my skin color matter at all?
I am nothing like them, I know better.
We have come too far, right?
Every black American is walking the same unavoidable path of being black in America, yet, we each will process this journey differently. Kandis Reese
Every black American is walking the same unavoidable path of being black in America, yet, we each will process this journey differently.
And honestly, I don’t think any of them are crazy. Although I do not personally agree with them all, I do understand how logically people can land in different places.
I always say, “you can rationalize just about anything.”
And this, my friends, is exactly why human wisdom should rarely, if ever, be trusted.
People are a hot mess. WE are a hot mess on our best days.
But thankfully, we have the opportunity to receive some help. I believe that help is found in the person of Jesus Christ, but here also lies another point we all won’t agree on.
So instead of making this a narrow conversation where only people who think like me come and speak. I hope I can offer everyone a seat at the table, especially those who have been silent like me.
Because progress isn’t made by “holding our peace.” Progress is made by sharing it. This is my peace. I hope you find yours soon too.
Progress isn’t made by “holding our peace.” Progress is made by sharing it. Kandis Reese
Images by Clay Banks (IG: @clay.banks)