It's been a rough week in Minnesota, and a rough week for our country. I don't want to be silent. I think White Americans are finally being shown, over these past few years, the reality of what dealings with law enforcement have been like for our African American brothers and sisters. I believe that our first responders and law enforcement officers deserve better training, and deserve for their colleagues to be held accountable; it's not fair to those who put their lives on the line to protect us to all be painted with the same brush.
Neither is it fair that parents who don't look like me have to teach their children how to survive encounters with law enforcement so that, they hope, their children won't end up dead. There is a gross imbalance in our country.
I am working hard to unlearn the lessons of oppression taught through a million tiny impressions throughout my lifetime. "You have to be taught, before it's too late.." I heard sung last night in the Guthrie Theatre's beautiful production of "South Pacific," "Before you are six, or seven, or eight, to hate all the people your relatives hate. You have to be carefully taught."
My parents did their best to teach me to treat all people with love and compassion, but meanwhile, the media, the lessons chosen for my history classes, the words people use, the fear I was told to have of people who don't look like me, still got in.
It's a long road. But it's one we have to travel, together, if we are to avoid the destruction of all we purport to hold dear. I believe we can do that, that we can turn things around. Together.
I don't have answers, really. But I am listening, and witnessing.
Sara is a storyteller, writer, artist, teacher, wife, mother, and singer living in Minnesota. I write about storytelling, and about living a life with stories.