I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what to do. So I’ll just share a story.
At bedtime for the last few weeks, my daughters are choosing a book that I bought in February to honor Black History Month. The book tells the stories of forty four African American individuals in history who made a difference in the lives of black and white Americans. My oldest daughter’s favorite story is about Simone Biles. My youngest daughter’s favorite story is about Stevie Wonder. Both stories appropriately picked for what I know about each of their young personalities.
In this book there are stories about the underground railroad, civil rights, marches, and slavery. There are stories about musicians and athletes, presidents and Nobel Peace prize winners. The girls ask questions, they laugh, they get sad, and they get distracted by a beetle running across the floor. My daughters talk about how they are black and brown and how my husband and I are white.
The book tells of racial issues as stories of the past. My girls ask why people used to treat black people that way. We say we do not know. We want to say that our world is not like that anymore. We want to say that no one will ever treat them as less than because of their skin. But we know that this is not true.
I want to be honest with my daughters and tell them how everything has changed and how nothing has changed. I want to prepare their little hearts but I also want to protect their little hearts. At their age, their world revolves around “twirlable” dresses, a pet grasshopper, and the desire to get a dog. They are in a school where they see loving classmates and families of multiple colors and ethnicities. They have yet to hear the “n word” except when we play an unclean version of a Jay Z song.
So I sit and I process. I read and I listen. I struggle. I ask myself questions. And sometimes when I feel brave enough, I ask other people questions.
Because my children are black, we are having these conversations. If my children were white, would we have these conversations? If my children were white, would I be writing this? Probably not.
What I do know is that my children are black, my neighbors are black, and my pastor is black. What I do know is that although all lives matter, the only ones in danger right now are black. And Black Lives Matter.