First I would like to make it clear that this post is not politically correct. It is also not meant to disrespect any person, group, community, gender or ethnicity. However, it is not meant to please all persons, groups, communities, genders or ethnicities either. It is simply my point of view, as that is the only point of view I can accurately provide.
Allow me to tell you who I am, in demographic terms. I am a 30+ Polish born and raised, naturally blond, light skinned women, who came to America as an immigrant at the age of 12, in search of a better tomorrow. I found my purpose when I met my soulmate, a half black, half-white, blue eyed and jewish New York City Firefighter. We created meaning when our daughter was born. A light skinned, curly haired, perfect blend of our combined DNA, and all that is pure from our souls, little baby girl.
I grew up in a country that is 99.9% white. In fact, in my full 12 years of living in Poland, I only knew 1 person that was not 100% white. But contrary to what you might think, I was absolutely obsessed with women and men that did not look like me (I still am today). As a kid I found black and hispanic women to be the most beautiful human beings to walk this earth. Their absolutely gorgeous skin colors, stunning facial features, beautiful hair types of all kinds, and body types, spoke to what I believed was the true embodiment of what a women should be. I shared the same exact feelings towards diverse men, with perhaps slightly more enthusiasm at the time as I was just starting to transition into a little women.
This wasn’t an isolated opinion though for kids my age back then. I very clearly remember a moment of my childhood, as I believe my whole family does still to this day, where my older teenage brother cried intensely one afternoon, simply because he wanted to be black. He was so infatuated with the artists of the American Hip-Hop / Rap industry, that he wanted nothing more but to be like 2Pac or Notorious B.I.G. As a 37 year old today, he is comfortable in his own skin, but of course he still has tremendous respect for the fact that diversity is beautiful.
Although myself and many other europeans might have shared the same outlook on the physical aspect of diversity, I was never educated on the historical significance of their struggles in America. I have had various personal experiences with individuals from all backgrounds, but it was never more significant to me than it is today, as I am now a mother and a wife growing a mixed family.
My husband came to be from the love between a beautiful black women, and a handsome white men who both journeyed through the path to Judaism together. He was born with curly blond hair, beautiful brown skin, and piercing blue eyes, with a soul of lion. His character was build through the parental choices that his family felt were best for his wellbeing growing up. He moved often, learning his fundamental values about life from the Jewish school system. Underneath it all, he grew up loving this nation deeply, and wanting to help others. That is why at an early age he joined the FDNY, and is now in the Special Operations Company helping not only the people of New York, but the first responders as well.
Which Lives Matter
As a white mother, I look at the conversation around this nation today surrounding which lives matter and racism, with a broken heart. A life is a life. Murder agains any human being is devastating and wrong. But in the argument of all lives don’t matter until black lives matter, I fail to comply, as for me, all lives matter. My half-white, half-black, FDNY husbands life matters as much to me as the life of his black, nurse mother. The life of my 1/4 black daughter, matters as much to me as that of my white mother. The lives of all the black men and women murdered everyday, either through the hands of the authorities or domestic violence, matter to me as much as the lives of all the immigrants being killed throughout this nation regardless of their skin color. All lives matter to me. All humanity matters to me. The pigmentation percentage of your skin, holds zero weight in my estimation of importance behind your life. It is the relationship and proximity of your lives journey to mine that makes me care about you. I would put any life ahead of mine, because the life that matters least to me, is my own.
What Else Matters
I cannot under any circumstances ever begin to understand the struggles that the black community is faced with today. The fear that I hear and see so many mothers and wives have every single time their husbands and sons leave the house. The pain that so many carry through generations of oppression and racism in the years past. I now know just a little bit of the history behind the African-American community in this country, and through the interactions with my extended mixed family, I am learning more and more everyday. I 100% acknowledge that this is a real issue taking place in this nation, that many refer to as a civil war. And I acknowledge that I am a white mother in this situation. But what I also will acknowledge openly is that I believe that you cannot demand for someone else to care. You can only educate them hoping that they will.
Just as I cannot demand of you to actively care about all the struggles of the immigrant community, you cannot demand of me to care about all of the struggles of the black community. The humans I was born into, and the journey I have taken in life so far has brought me struggles of my own. Struggles that are very different from those of the black community, but ones that I am deeply passionate about. In acknowledging this, I do not mean to in any way diminish the struggles that you might be face with in your path of life, I am only trying to point out that everyone of us has their own struggles to deal with.
So….What Can I Do
When I ask myself what can I do to help, there is not much I feel that I can do, today. If you want me to copy and paste a black picture with a hashtag of support, I can do that, although in all honesty it feels like empty promises because I am not sure it really matters. If everyone in the world were to do that, without any action tied to it at all, would it help racism? If everyone were to use a different color for domestic violence and use a different hashtag, without any action behind it, would it help decrease domestic violence? If we did the same for immigration, would it help?
These social media strategies, together with peaceful protesting (which I am very much in support of) are used to bring awareness to the communities around them. But what do we do when everyone is aware? How do really change the world for our future generation?
We Start at Home. I Think.
Let’s start with an open conversation amongst all mothers (who wish to be a part of it), privileged and not. Let’s educate ourselves on … ourselves, and remembers that being human is a journey. A journey that we evolve through everyday. We might not care about the same things, but we all care about something. And what most of us care about deeply, is the safety and wellbeing of our families.
From what we learn, let’s educate our children as best we can about the struggles of our communities, but also, support them deeply in finding their own self worth and passion in life. As Michelle Obama states in her “Becoming” documentary on Netflix, it starts with finding the strength within ourselves, before we can empower the communities around us.
So let’s teach our children about humanity, about caring for our different backgrounds, about respecting the people on the front line and respecting the cities all of our communities before us build through sweat and tears. Most importantly, let’s teach our children about knowing what’s right from wrong, regardless of skin color, job title, gender, or community.