In college, I was dissociated from race matters.
I was a very ignorant person.
Because of my own, personal matters.
I should not have been at an IV League University.
A decade and a half later, I was renting a townhouse in Germantown, MD, a mixed race, “bedroom community” of DC; with my ex and our 1 year old. The carpet was red. The realtor said not to worry about the color. Our landlord, it turned out, was a black man married to a Hispanic woman. They owned the home and were trying to sell it. I was not prepared for this situation.
I said something to my ex as I was cleaning the kitchen floor about “what’s this black scum?” under the metal join between the kitchen tile and living room carpet. He said furiously, “What did you say?”
At that time–as at others–he talked about his Black, Dominican Republic friends in the Virgin Islands, where he was a survey consultant for a couple of years in the mid 80’s; before we met.
Later he changed his tune. At that time, we were in love.
So, at that time, I wound up on a psych ward in nearby Rockville, raving about race matters; where a majority if the techs and nurses were Black.
That became my persona for a long time afterward.
We moved to Florida, where race matters were worse. Vicious, and dangerous.
After being there for awhile i told my son that you can just never tell about a black person, it is so deep and so serious, all you can really do is extend your love.
Because, any black person will tell you, their racial identity us personal and individual, don’t take anything for granted.
I made a big mistake with racial politics regarding the election of Barack Obama in 2008, which I am finally able to see.
I saw he was Black in America, and fell into some commonplace mistakes.
I dont know how to put it into words.
Finally, in the last couple of years, I watched the movie about him in his years at Columbia University, “Barry.” It was a beautiful and enlightening film.
I just wasnt getting it.
I was being SO RUDE!
So, a year ago, my therapist here had me watch the music video “Gone” by Kirk Franklin–a Black man, the video featured several difference races in pain and abuse scenarios being freed from their pain and shame. It so moved me. I played it every day for a week; and through that, i was freed from a decade behind the 8 ball in the “Obama years,” where i was totally alienated from my own deeply held caused of love for and emancipation of Black America.
I have written about this all over the place and I don’t have the time and space to do so again here.
Suffice it to reference the Harlem, scholarship roommate, Freshman Year at Kent School and that I had been given the book, “To Kill a Mockingbird” for summer reading before starting there.
Today–after the incident of the Kirk Franklin song– I can walk into the Wawa without feeling like a criminal; moreover, as of this letter, I am repentant, a sinner; and ready to change my ways.
“For the love if Jesus is very well said…for Jesus keeps time in perfect justice because of love.” (St. John of the Cross, The Cloud of Unknowing.)
It has taken TIME for this healing.
For me, it was from literature to psychoanalysis to Christianity.
“If you have not love…” (1 Corinthians 13: 1-13)
Now, it is to be an American; instead of looking backwards on England (from whence my mother and father emigrated) I am embracing the many colors and styles of America.
And loving every moment of my life!