Yes, I saw what happened in Charlottesville. No, I am not being silent and failing to stand up for the right. That kind of silence is not one of my choices. I am a white woman married to a black man. My life is a declaration every time I go out in public and the lights are on or the sun is up.
Except for this: my life is not a statement. It’s just my life. It’s just marriage and parenting and friends and work and grocery shopping. It’s not created or experienced in reference to people who are not participants in it.
So much of the injury and agony of the world happens because people decide that another person’s existence impinges on them and should be controlled. It’s the fundamental error of believing that you can change everyone but yourself – and of failing to understand that this is your belief.
The only skin color that should matter to you is your own, and if you haven’t ventured any deeper into yourself than your skin, you’ve missed everything. Absolutely everything. The inner world is more truthful and expansive than anything you will find outside it. Your skin is the least thing, the visible, vulnerable, deteriorating cover for what’s actually happening to you.
So much intricacy and accuracy are lost, or actively avoided, on every side of the American conversation about race. Fear dominates – fear, guilt, rage, embarrassment, and deep wells of ignorance. I don’t see an end to it, or even a realistic solution.
You can’t change a human being on the inside, not even for their own good. Not even for your own good. You can’t decide for them, or convince them. You can restrict behavior to a point, with laws. But your enemy’s heart is no more available to you than your heart is to them.