Mid workday, I have reached an epiphany. BlackEveryday is not a haven for personal drama, nor journal or diary, but self exploration is something we all, hopefully, deal with. Far too few, in my opinion, ask the question "Why am I the way I am?" How did you grow to feel the way you feel, act the way you act? Jimmy Baldwin, who is in my opinion the greatest author to ever live, said "I am what time, circumstance, history, have made of me, certainly, but I am also, much more than that. So are we all."
My epiphany, as I call it, is actually just one of many answers to the above question. The journey of self discovery is a lifelong process, but recently I have been wondering why I strayed so far from what seemed to be the set path before me. Why I vary so steeply than many of my peers raised in such similar circumstances. I asked myself the question so few racist do: Why I feel the way I do about your skin, if it varies from mine. Like a portrait of a long tunnel, the answer has narrowed through the years until I have pinpointed it to a single event, or rather, a single person. Her name was Mrs. Hudgins, and she was my third grade teacher at Mitchell Boulevard Elementary School, and I loved her.
She was not unique in any obvious sense of the word, nor was my love for her, but her significance lies in the effect she had on my life. An effect that lay unrecognized until today. For although it was a predominately black school, she was white. I had had white teachers before, but none impacted and inspired me to adoration as she did.
Long story short, because of my romancing of her character or our relationship, I have been unable to accept the notion of inherent white evil. What does that matter? A great deal indeed! Black progress in America has been hindered because of a lack of unity on what should be a simple matter: who is the enemy? Our enemy is the fundamental racism that caused legislation to be drafted just to deliver us some humanity in the law's eyes. Our enemy is the many racist institutions including the legal and criminal justice system. Our enemy is the white superiority mentality that still plagues our nations leaders and the political process. Our enemy, however, is not the white man. Malcolm discovered this during his Hajj to Islam, and left the NOI because of it to practice the true religion of Islam, yet many of us today still are fighting the wrong enemy.
Because of my relationship with that woman, and select white people since then, I knew and know that all white people aren't evil, and sought to find the true source of our problems. That relationship protected me from becoming what I vowed to destroy: a racist. And hate breeds only more hate. Like Malcolm, my goal is black unity and progress. I am Pro-Black, not Anti-White, and now I know why.
So, ask yourself the question so few racist do: Why do I feel the way I do about your skin? If the answer is simply tradition, rhetoric, or you don't know, then those shallow convictions will not stand, and one less racist in the world has to be a good thing.