You cannot watch “Selma,” and not as a human being (of any hue) be affected. As a Caucasian woman, I felt horror, empathy, outrage and shame. I felt ashamed to be linked by my light skin to any who would see those with darker skin as in any way inferior.
As I thought more about the movie last night, more tears poured out. I know these are not the tears of torment due to living in dark skin and being disrespected or physically abused because of it. I don’t know the pain of being judged day in and day out by my skin tone. I do know being denied rights or respect due to being female, but I have not lived the torment and hell of my black sisters and brothers. I empathize as a human being. I follow the direction of the great author and poet Audre Lorde, who asks us as a human race:
“What are the words you do not yet have? What do you need to say? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence.”~ Audre Lorde
We come into this world as spirits who disguise ourselves as humans.
Spirit has no color. If it did, it would surely be a rainbow. Spirit usually cannot be seen by human eyes. Yet this is our core, our essence. We decided that we would come in various skin-tones. We thought this contrast was beautiful, as do flowers. Imagine if all flowers were one color. Sad. Imagine if different color flowers could not get along together. Segregated bouquets. Ridiculous. Beauty is even more beautiful when harmonizing side by side, is it not?
Last night as I could not sleep, I was thinking about how a few minutes into one of the most important movies I have ever seen, Reverend King was talking to President Johnson about how white policeman kill black men and white officials conspire to ensure that the killers go free every time. That felt like 50 years had just vanished and Martin Luther King Jr. was speaking in Ferguson, Missouri in November of 2014.
What do we have to show for 50 years that should have taught us valuable lessons? What will it take to actually CHANGE OUR COUNTRY and our hearts? We elected a black man as our president. That’s progress, but it very definitely is not enough. It is not NEARLY enough toward righting wrongs. The truth is that wrongs cannot be righted. They can only be apologized for and forgiven or not. But what kind of apology is hatred? How can crimes against humanity be apologized for with more crimes, crimes that go unpunished, crimes that seem to epitomize racism itself?
What happens if when faced with their crimes, instead of being genuinely remorseful, the ones who committed the crimes are hateful toward their victims and victims’ families? We are living it still today. We are all their victims, unless we stand up and choose not to be. We are all connected in this.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
Is it possible that hate is manifested from shame? Insanity turns that shame to hate aimed at the innocent instead of inward self-reflection, self-examination and true remorse that leads to change. It is shame that the perpetrator’s spirit must surely understand on a higher level, but their human mind pushes away and manifests their shame as hatred against the very ones that should be receiving heartfelt apologies.
Imagine kidnapping people from their homes, forcing them to do your work, trying to block them from ever regaining their freedom, and then when they finally escape your deranged plot to own them, you work feverishly to block their every attempt to live normal lives again. You hate them?????? Insanity. This energy passes from generation to generation. I understand clearly why the victims would hate YOU, but why would you hate them? Could it be that your hatred, on a deeper level, comes from your own vile actions against humanity? Your blame was projected onto the victims.
The Universe cries “FOUL!!!!!” There is so much more to be healed before we see daylight.
America was built on murder and rape and blood. We stole the land from the people who were here before us. We, the people – our white ancestors – kidnapped people from their country and brought them here as slaves. When an empire is built on this foundation, the energy of the horrendous immoral action remains. Energy is spirit. It doesn’t die. It demands to be healed or it rages on as a festering wound. Some call it “karma.” Racism is an ongoing byproduct of our fathers’ crimes against humanity. The physical effects will not end until the spiritual causes are faced.
Luvvie Ajayi has some awesome insights:
“As I watched this movie (“Selma”) about events from 1965, I was so hurt that we’re still fighting for the right to live in 2014. My feelings were in the gutter because people are still marching today for basic rights. The fighters who came before us probably didn’t think they were fighting so we wouldn’t have to.”
What, if anything have we learned, and how have we changed?
Listen to each other. Look out for each other. Speak up for each other. As a white woman I carry the shame of what my ancestors have done. Humanity matters. It’s a matter of knowing that we are a human race, knowing this not just in words, but in our instantaneous reactions to one another. We are one race in many beautiful hues. Respect is due all. Human dignity. Human rights. It doesn’t help to be quiet about this no matter what color you may be. I would like to think that if I hadn’t been a small child when the march from Selma to Montgomery occurred, that I would have found a way to march with them.
I hope that seeing the movie will make you feel like marching too! People of all races marched together. From March 21st to March 25th in 1964 they were protected in this third of three demonstrations, and finished what had been started earlier that month. The first attempt resulted in March 7th’s “Bloody Sunday.” The government officials of the state of Alabama were so bent on keeping black people down that they used brutal force against them. That first march ended in brutal bloodshed. Heinous acts of violence were committed, human against human that day.
You don’t bury shame by trying to keep people down and quiet. Violence against the human spirit SCREAMS throughout the universe. No one owns anyone else, not then, not ever. No one kills anyone else either. You might kill a body. You never kill a spirit. Spirit is eternal. WE are eternal beings all. The energy of what has been done lives on. Forgiveness heals, but how can there be forgiveness or healing when the crimes against humanity rage on? Crimes against the spirit can never be measured.
Will change come when the severity of the INJUSTICE is fully comprehended? We are not only our brother’s keeper, we are our brother and our sister. We are our children. We are another part of everyone else on the planet. When you hurt and abuse another human being you are harming yourself. Change is the greatest apology, and the only sincere one.
If killing goes on and on, and those doing it keep escaping justice through a system that respects one life over another, we are creating a never-ending hell for ourselves and the entire human race.
Any human disrespecting another is a human disrespecting him or herself. Until we realize that we are no different and that we are all one, we are all lost. Feeling superior to any other human being is a vile and dangerous crime against yourself, against humanity as a whole, against spirit, because that is who we are first, foremost, and eternally – spirit.
Racism is taught, drummed into minds artificially. We are not born with it. I am very grateful to have escaped much of the insane indoctrination of prejudice, because as a child I was shown beautiful friendships by my grandparents. Their kindness to all gave me a sense of normalcy, human to human. My grandparents often took produce from their garden to church, and gave it to people in need. My grandfather volunteered to do carpentry work for people who could not afford to pay him. He was simply a kind man. He didn’t discriminate in his friendships. In the late 1960’s I remember my grandparents inviting a family over fairly often – the Williams family. They were wonderful people. The father was blind. He was a black man. He had a great sense of humor and many children. My grandfather would laugh with him over supper, listen to his wisdom, and show respect and love. We would all sit around the table and my grandmother would serve all of us. I loved helping her. She taught me a lot about giving. It was normal. Mrs. Williams was beautiful too. As I recall, it seems that she was partially blind as well, but she could still get around by herself and care for her children. To me they were our friends, and people that my grandfather and my dad loved to joke and visit with. They were a family like we were a family. You know what I mean? I loved listening to the discussions. I learned a lot. Maybe this experience set the tone for me at a young age. What I took with me was that everyone is the same.
I didn’t comprehend what was happening in Alabama at the time, nor do I remember hearing about it as a child. We lived in southern Illinois. I am very grateful that my grandfather gave me a good foundation in terms of respecting people. I don’t think he was completely immune to prejudice, but he lived his life showing me that people are people and they are all the same when it comes to being equally worthy of love and respect.
Prejudice seems to be a thing that imagines differences where they aren’t any.
Skin tone, hair type – these things vary. Matters of the heart, what a person hopes for and dreams of for their life and their children’s lives – these things are the same. We all want to be loved and respected. We want our children to be loved and respected. Same dreams. The majority has a smoothly paved road to their dreams compared to minorities who have barriers, roadblocks and rough gravel to negotiate. When the possibility of being gunned down because of your skin-tone, factors in to the equation, the road becomes a minefield that not all of our human brothers and sisters can survive. Then the dreams and goals of success are overshadowed by the hope of merely surviving. It is an incomprehensible state of our world to anyone who understands that the way one is treated is the responsibility of all.
“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr.