Black & White

 “Mama, you know how God says that he will come back again?” 


“When will that be exactly?” 

“Oh babe, I have no idea, no one knows. God told us to be ready at any hour of any day so it could happen tonight or in a thousand years, we just don’t know but we know we need to ready”

“Today would be a good day I think. I wish he would come today and make everything better”

‘Today would be a good day I think’, where did that come from right? He is barely eleven years old and he has learned that the world is broken and needs to be redeemed today. When I was eleven I was starting to think about boys, clothes, being a famous movie star, collecting tiger beat magazines with my allowance and River Phoenix.  Times have changed so much with the age of the internet. The topic on his mind last night was Philledelphia and yet another black life snuffed out, another death where proper training for mental health could have been avoided, another demonstration of power gone wrong or given to the wrong people. We talked about his friends who are all ‘minority groups’ though to be honest he is one of a dozen white kids in his school. How is it that his friends can grow up and be afraid of the police, he doesn’t understand and sadly neither do I. I don’t hate cops, I have had some really good interactions with the cops in our neighbourhood, I have seen them working up in Regent Park, playing basketball with the kids or soccer or just standing around talking with them and getting to know them. I don’t think all cops are bad, but cops are human and humans can do horrible things to each other. Christians did/do horrible things to people, white people do horrible things to people, muslims, gangs (of any race), husbands, wives, children, we all have the capacity to do and be wrong, to be mean, cruel, abusive. Words and fists, guns and knives it doesn’t matter what weapon you wield you have the power to to hurt and abuse. Privilege then, is knowing you have that power and choosing to use your weapons to protect, to defend and to stand beside the people who need defending, the people who need protection, the people who need to finally feel safe. Privilege is a line of white Moms who stand arm in arm in between the the protestors and the police because they are Moms and any Mom who heard George Floyd call out for his Mom that day in late May immediately wanted to to go to his side, to fight for him, to save him. He was everyone’s son when he called for his Mom. Privilege is stepping in because you know that you are safer than the person you are stepping in for. Privilege is coming to understand that you will never know what it is like to be in the another persons shoes, coming to fully understand that I will never have to ‘have the talk with my boys’ about how to avoid confrontations with the police, how to remain calm, how to do as I am told to avoid trouble, it’s knowing that I will never have my 12 year old ask me “will I be next?”. 

I have no idea what it is like to be anything other than what I am, a white woman, a Christian, from a nuclear, middle class family, straight, English speaking and able bodied. I can never say I understand and I hate that I can’t, but I am thankful as well. I want to learn, I want to understand so that I can know how to take action in a helpful & positive way, I don’t want to be afraid that I will say the wrong thing, I want to be the woman standing between the black and blue lines, I want to use what I have through no amount of effort on my part but rather through birth and circumstances, to protect, to defend and to be a compassionate ear and more importantly I want to know how to teach my kids, my two white christian middle class males how to use their privilege for good.  

It is just not good enough anymore to say we care, to send our ‘thoughts and prayers’ to the victims families, to say we are not racist or to speak into a moment but when the moment passes we move on. There has been hundreds of years of racism and this insanity needs to stop. Our fellow brothers and sisters, these HUMAN beings that we share the planet with need to finally be set free, they need walk down the street and feel safe, they need to be able to BREATHE and they need white people, yeah, us, to start the conversations, to start the change, it’s on us, not them to make the difference. If a husband is abusing his wife and she tells him to stop will he? No, he needs to see it in himself and then make a change from within. It starts with me, my kids, it starts with white people making the choice to see, act and think differently. Our black brothers and sisters have been begging us to stop, when will we finally listen, finally act? How many more lives need to be lost before we accept that this is just no okay any more. Why are our children more willing to see the wrong than we are?

I’ve moved into a rant and that is not what I had intended. I don’t know the answers, I too am afraid to ask the questions because I don’t want to be misunderstood. This is an open discussion that needs to be had and if our kids are having it then so should we. 

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Published by lauriehaughton

Author & Photographer

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