Tonight, as part of the UUA sponsored 30 Days of Love, B and I read a blog about rewriting history to reflect the experiences of all people. The author, Dayna Edwards, reflected on being a white woman, with all of her white privilege, married to an Afro-Caribbean man, raising their two daughters to be black women. This struck home for B, because one of his favorite cousins has a white mother and a black father, and his skin is dark enough that he is more likely to be identified by others as black, no matter how he self-identifies. It gave us the opportunity to talk about white privilege in the “simple” terms of not having your intentions questioned when you’re white and having them regularly questioned when you’re black. We didn’t, yet, tackle all the other things that go with white privilege.
Next we went to the website for the Race Story reWrite Project (http://www.racestoryrewrite.com/join-the-conversation/video-stories) and watched several videos of stories posted there about the individuals’ experiences around broadening our understanding and experience of interconnection and race. Jeremy’s story of spontaneous musical connection across race, age, and background reminded me of a beautiful moment B and I had at Thanksgiving one year in New York City. I may have blogged about it in the past. Today the memory flows in slow motion for me. I raised it with B, and he remembered it well, too:
B and I had stayed overnight in the city to see the Macy’s Day Parade, and, when all the festivities were over, we were passing some time before our train arrived in the hotel lobby. The lobby was massive, with marble and mirror and grand, high ceilings. It had been beautiful at one time; now it sparkled in remembrance. It was cold out, and the lobby was full of an assortment of people speaking many languages, some in a great hurry. Many, though, were waiting for something, like we were. There was seating for at least a hundred, most of it on continuous couch-style embankments that ran for 10 feet or so along the wall and then jutted out into the lobby for 20, turning back on themselves to return to the wall and begin again, forming a series of “U’s”. B was probably 7, maybe 8 years old, and had a rubber ball about the size of a baseball with him. He sat across the U of seats from me and we tossed it back and forth. We had not been at this game long when I saw a hand waving in my peripheral vision, and turned to see a tiny gray-haired woman who appeared to be from India, wearing a brightly-colored sari, smiling and waving, and gesturing for us to throw the ball to her. We did, and a little boy from her family joined. A few minutes later a man near me wearing a business suit, who had been speaking a Slavic language with a young woman, raised his hand to enter the game. Before we knew it, it was a huge game, and the players were of every imaginable age, skin color, size, and shape. It proceeded in an orderly way, with much laughter and delight. Not a word was spoken, but everyone instinctively knew they were included if they wanted to be. People left the game as they needed to, and eventually we had to end the game to catch our train. On our way out of the crowd, a woman stood and hugged me; people tousled B’s hair. It was one of the most magical happenings of my life. But it wasn’t me that started it; I was just open for the opportunity to widen my community.
B and I talked about the ways that not talking, but doing, can create community. I hope to surround him with opportunities to do.