Only hate has earned hate. Learn to hate only hate.
I’m trying to work this morning and I just can’t focus. I’m crying with sadness, just pure sadness at the hate that has swept the country. I thought it hadn’t touched me here in New York. Not the City. The mountains where we have a healthy mix of nearly every race, religion, ethnic, and sexual background you can think of. The minister of my wedding was gay. My best friend is black. My doctor of more than 25 years is Chinese. My Tai Chi instructor is Indian. My son had friends with two mothers. My husband is Native American. I am white as are my children who have been called niggers lately. You read right. My 12 year old son has been called nigger, and my 9 year old daughter was accused of being racist because she told 10 year old children on her bus not to say fuck. The children happened to be black.
When my children were younger, I sat down with each and taught them every swear word I could think of. Because they will hear it. Because they will repeat it. Because I can’t protect them from hate. Believe you me I tried. When I finished with their swearing lesson, I said, “Now you know what these words are and what they mean.” I smiled. “Now you know you will get into trouble if you say them.”
My children don’t swear, and they know exactly what “fuck” means. There is one word, one topic I have avoided discussing in hopes that they could grow up “color blind.” When they look at a person, they see only a human. Not white or black, Muslim or Christian. My children don’t even know what racism is. I was hoping they would grow up with such a thing being foreign to them.
These last two weeks, I lost all that.
My son came home asking, “What is a nigger?”
“We don’t say that word. Ever.”
“What does it mean.”
I turned to my black girlfriend. “I’ll let you explain this.” She has seen a world I have never seen. The horror stories she tells me about racism.
She gave the definition as only she could.
“It’s like mudblood,” I told my son…”Only it isn’t a word from a book. It’s a real word people use to express hate for another. It’s a hate word. We don’t say it. Ever.”
A week later, my daughter came home crying because she was accused of being racist. “What is it! I’m not! What does it mean!?”
“Some people hate other people just because they’re afraid. It’s a vile, disgusting thing.”
As hard as I am trying to teach my children to not see the world in color, other parents are trying just as hard to teach their children to see only in color.
I started watching “Smith and Jones” last night in Doctor Who.
Jones is an English woman living in London. I see Jone’s brother kiss his fiance. For an hour last night, I got to look into another world where racism and prejudice doesn’t exist. In my American mind, Jones is black, Jone’s brother is black, and the fiance is white. I hate this about me. I hate this about us. I hate this about Americans. I hate our hate.
I have always pushed the idea that we are too advanced, too educated to hate. We are too modern for racism, sexism, prejudice to exist anymore. The world is too small for hate. This last week, I feel like only a few of us have received this memo. How can I raise my children without hate when it seems to be everywhere? I’m told often, “I can’t believe you don’t hate men.” “I can’t believe you aren’t gay.” “I can’t believe you never turned to drugs.”
No. In all the abuse I received, I never once hated men. I feared them. I learned not to fear them, but no. I don’t hate them. I have only ever reserved my hate for hate. I abhor the hate that has swept the country this week. I’m embarrassed to call myself an American. I’m embarrassed to be part of this country.
I can’t handle how much hate is everywhere right now. I feel like this election has done nothing but encourage and promote bigotry, sexism, abuse, bullying, and hate…the very thing we have worked so hard to stamp out. I’m ashamed to be part of this country right now. I thought we were beyond this. I thought we were too educated and advanced for this. The world is too small for hate anymore. A reminder…this election didn’t breed this hate. It only made it visible. This is important that we all understand this. Trump didn’t create the hate that is currently sweeping the country. He only made it visible for us all to see. He put it where none of us can now ignore it. And a reminder…the fear US citizens are driving into the hearts of each other is a form of terrorism. When US citizens, Americans, wake up terrified to leave their homes, this is terrorism. We have started a second Civil War as violently…aggressively declared as 9/11…Only this time it’s US citizen against US Citizen. No. I am not proud to be an American.
I won’t say what’s already been said. I’ll only leave you all with hugs, my love, my strength, and the words of Booker T. Washington and Martin Luther King, Jr.
Booker T. Washington…
“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.”
“Character, not circumstances, makes the man.”
“Few things can help an individual more than to place responsibility on him, and to let him know that you trust him.”
“If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.”
“I will permit no man to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him.”
“No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem.”
“You can’t hold a man down without staying down with him.”
“There are two ways of exerting one’s strength: one is pushing down, the other is pulling up.”
“Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way.”
“Associate yourself with people of good quality, for it is better to be alone than in bad company.”
…and Martin Luther King Jr.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
“The time is always right to do what is right.”
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?”
“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”
“I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, [religion, gender, heritage, culture, and/or sexual preference], but by the content of their character.”
Me too, Doctor King. Me too.