This morning a FB acquaintance posted she was mistaken for the parking lot attendant at her condo building in Boston as she was waiting for HER private car to pick up she and her assistant. My acquaintance is a CEO, founder of her own company, bold, beautiful, formidable, beyond accomplished, and black. For any one who knows her, this is utter ridiculous-ness. And not.
After reading her post, I continued on with my thoughts. How many years ago in the early 90’s, one early morning in Haverhill, MA., i was dressed for my PR job, leaving my building early and a car drove up to me, put the window down and asked how much I charge. Didn’t see the briefcase, did you? Yes indeed, i must be a well dressed prostitute at this hour of daylight. How last week in the grocery store i was asked by the YOUNG clerk, ‘do you “remember” your phone number’? in a sick, sweet, ignorant voice. Yes, she is young, but no excuse. (we enter # in when we pay to use bonus points) The young man who knows me, bagging my groceries, looked at me, smiled and smirked…..I immediately looked down at her, “Do I LOOK old enough to forget my phone number???!!!” (The rath of Deborah, as my husband calls it.) Assumptions of one with white hair and NOT looking at ones being. How this ignorance has nothing to do with just the color of ones skin, but the blindness of the one not seeing. How when we are NOT present, we DO NOT SEE ACCURATELY. How judgment, biased, assumptions, prejudice of anything is ALL about how one sees. Their own perception, ignorance, lack of BEING PRESENT.
Yes, there are folks who dislike only based on the color of ones skin, or the education, or family, or community one is from, as well as what one does for a living or the clothes they wear. We ASSUME. We CATEGORIZE.
Yes, there are certain traits to clans. Yes, their are certain personality traits to those who this and those who are from there. BUT, we are talking about individuals. Open our eyes.
There is much prejudice which is subliminal also. Not known to the person. Really, be honest, when do you not feel safe? Once, when I had my art gallery and first healing center, a patron came in one day asking me to call the police about the ‘gang’ of young people down the street. I looked. Maybe 6, outside the coffee shop, smoking. I assured her I knew some of them from the alternative high school and they were simply smoking outside the coffee-house. She went on to share how unsafe she felt. They need to be broken up. Kids, in a group, not good. Assuming. Fear. Like a pack of dogs. Nothing she was feeling had anything to do with those teenagers. Nothing. Yet, they are blamed.
When one has not done their own work to reveal ones heart center, they will be coming from the ego/mind fear/defensive mode.
Years ago I drove to Florida with my son. He had rented a townhouse and was moving for work. We were to meet a friend of his who would give us the key and lead us to the property, right off the interstate at a MacDonald’s. We walked in. We were the only white people in the restaurant, from employees to customers. All i could think was, ” Oh, this is what being the minority feels like.” I was safe, that was not an issue, but i was lovingly aware of the ‘difference’ and the gift i was receiving in this moment. This is what it feels like to be a black person in the room of white skin. This is what separation feels like. Somewhere within me, this is planted.
I once dated a beautiful black man from the Caribbean. Heavy, delightful accent. Once at my condo I ran out to get something at the corner store. I came back to this sweet man apologizing, he had answered the phone while I was gone for maybe ten minutes, it was my mother. I called her right back; ‘are you okay? are you hurt? who was that?????’, in full blown reactionary panic mode.
During my first marriage to a Sicilian man, my father actually said very casually one night, don’t all Italian men beat their wives?
Good God, our lack of faith in human kind, our trained ignorance, our unknown beliefs. Our judgmental assumptions. Our fears. Defense mode!!! Yes, in our humanness we group together through interests, many times we group together through community. Everyone is seeking like community, whether it be our soul group or the best golf course. Yet, too many still live from fear, not yet realizing we are each a child of God, all created from the same energy, made in the image & likeness of the Supreme Beingness. We all have a heart. And all too often, hearts are totally closed and assumptions are made without one having eyes wide open to see what is directly in front of them; a VERY well dressed black woman with an assistant waiting for her private car or a young professional going to work early.
Shared with love, Deborah