I clutched my purse as you passed, but it wasn’t from fear.
I wanted to make room for you on the narrow stairs.
I realized as you looked up into my face, that maybe wasn’t what it looked like to you.
And it didn’t matter what it actually was, because of what since birth society has taught us it is.
Our world and our culture have taught us that we are just too different to understand each other and so we can never really reconcile our differences.
Our world and our culture have taught us this divide is far too deep to cross and filled with blood.
So why bother trying?
Have taught you that when I clutch my purse as you pass it is in fear.
Have taught me to covertly fear and look down on and pity you.
Our world and our culture are beyond broken and the shards are cutting our futures to ribbons.
Have taught us that at their best, people who look like me are self-righteous saviors, at their worst bloodthirsty bigots.
Have taught us that at their best, people who look like you are still angry, at their worst even angrier.
If you are angry it is rightfully so and I’m truly not trying to save anybody, just be part of the fight.
But how should I know how you feel, we never actually spoke.
Our world and our culture have taught us that anything unlike us should be feared and never tried to be understood.
Our world and our culture encourage collisions rather than real conversations.
Encourage pulling the figurative trigger or far worse the literal trigger before ever trying to talk it out.
People who look like me are still killing people who look like you.
People who look like you are still learning to hate and fear people who look like me.
This is what comes from teaching children to make automatic assumptions.
This is what comes of actions with no words.
And even though in this one moment I am actually innocent, I am still a part of the problem if I don’t make real moves to fix it.
So I won’t waste anyone’s time with guilt that gets us no where.
So I’ll try to really speak with people who don’t look like me at all.
I’ll revel in my discomfort during those conversations because I know some people are forced to live in discomfort for their whole lives.
I’ll protest the people who look like me who won’t speak to people who don’t look like them.
I won’t expect anyone to teach me, the burden is on me to teach myself.
I’ll read and do the research and show some respect for the struggle.
I’ll try to start real conversations with anyone who says something not quite right (or worse alt-right).
I’ll condemn anyone who can’t see the problem with the current state of affairs.
I’ll keep fighting and encouraging others to fight too, because that is what I must do.
I’ll continue encouraging education and discussion over inciting popular violence and cycles of perpetual vengeance.
I’ll be a cold soldier in this cold war because the dream was for all children.