This was at approximately 8:30 am. I’d just returned from Los Angeles via red eye, and my mind was apple sauce. I was exhausted and nonexistent and beaten down and … and …
I’m fucking pathetic.
I am the uncle of two bi-racial kids, and I said nothing.
Many of my closest friends in the world are African-American, and I said nothing.
I grew up in a town where my best childhood friend had crosses burned in his yard, and I said nothing.
Why did I say nothing? I’d like to believe it’s because of the exhaustion—but, truth be told, I simply wimped out. I knew I’d see this guy again and again and again, and I didn’t love the idea of future awkwardness; of weird stares and passing silence and all the accompanying weirdness.
Well, I’m calling bullshit—on myself. The next time I see this person, I’m saying something. I’m telling him that, just because we’re two suburban white guys doesn’t mean I share his crap feelings; that when you look at black kids and make assumptions—you’re looking at my family and friends and making assumptions, too. There is absolutely no value is staying quiet; in not speaking up; in choosing safety over awkwardness. Hell, it’s the awkward moments that quite often lead to the greatest change. Someone has to be first to sit in at the lunch counter. Someone has to defy his/her parents and march. Someone has to quit the Boy Scouts; befriend a gay child; turn to Mom and Dad and say, “You’re a bigot, and it disgusts me.”
Well, my inaction disgusts me.
It ends here.