Some Thoughts From Your Black Friend…

Terence Crutcher. Another name I wish I didn’t know for this reason. Another heart wrenching video. Another dead man. Another hashtag.

My heart is so heavy.

It’s heavy and I want to be an encouragement. I want to be a light. But sometimes in order to see the light you have to get past the dark truth.

You don’t have to agree with my opinion. You don’t have to like it. You don’t even have to like me. But please, I just ask you to listen. Hear me out. Because I have heard you…

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I’ve heard you say that in spite of the relevance of his message (hello somebody), the method Colin Kaepernick and others are choosing to relay it is disrespectful. You view it as a travesty to our nation and to our men and women in uniform, and I’ve heard you call him awful things in the name of patriotism.

I’ve heard you emphatically yell “all lives matter, all lives matter!!” and that the #blacklivesmatter movement isn’t effective or bringing about any real change. You say it’s only adding fuel to the fire. 

I’ve heard you say that we need to get this upset with all the black on black crime. We should be outraged at what we’re doing to each other.

I’ve heard you talk about the poor degenerate black community and how we really ought to worry more about ourselves.

I’ve heard you say that they should have listened! All they had to do was comply!!

I’ve heard you say that if only they had done what they were told they wouldn’t have received that bullet in their chest, their back, their throat, their head…

I’ve heard you say that I don’t know what it’s like to be in uniform. You say I don’t know what it’s like to put my life on the line every day or be married to someone who does.

I’ve heard you say a lot.

Now let me tell you this.

I don’t pretend to know what it’s like to be in your shoes, so don’t pacify, belittle or ignore me when I try to explain what it’s like to be in mine.

Unless you are black in America, you have no idea what it’s like to be black in America.

It doesn’t matter that my husband is Caucasian and my daughters walk around in their beautiful Disney-approved caramel light skin.

It doesn’t matter that I’m perceived as non-threatening because I “talk like a white girl” or grew up in a cozy California suburb.

It doesn’t matter that I’ve grown accustomed to being the token black girl in the room.

When I look in the mirror, any mirror, my brown skin is what I see.

My brown skin is what you see.

When I climb out of bed every morning my skin doesn’t change, and sadly, neither do some people’s views and opinions of those who look like me. 

You might not be the one dwelling on my complexion, but there are far too many who are.

This year, no, this month alone I’ve read and seen numerous things that have made my stomach churn.

I’ve had to shut it all down, guard my heart and shield my eyes.

I’ve had to fall on my knees in prayer when I see the comments about lynching our current president or how these ‘black punks’ deserve everything that’s coming to them. I have to contain my outrage when my husband tells me about his former co-worker who, while watching the NFL draft, referred to the young African American male on the TV screen as “another thug who’s about to be rich”. I’ve had to get over the shock (why am I even shocked?) when I hear about the KKK delivering their paraphernalia on doorsteps in a neighboring state on MLK Day. I have to be wise in my outrage when I talk to people who still don’t think racism is real.

Maybe it’s not real in your world, but do I really have to outline the number of times I’ve been called or referred to as a n***** for you to understand?!!

When my brother, who served in the USMC, walks out his door each day, nobody knows of the sacrifices he’s made for our country or who he is to my family and I. Nobody knows what he means to my little girls, and it makes me sick knowing all the times our mother has had to worry that his appearance alone may put him in the category of a ‘bad dude’.  She still worries, and the same goes for my father, my uncle, nephews, cousins and friends whose skin is a reflection of mine.

This is my reality.

I cry with every Terence Cutcher, Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, Sandra Bland, Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin and the countless more I didn’t mention here. I cry for the countless names that, tragically, are going to come.

I don’t know how to explain this to my babies one day. I don’t know how to tell them about that fine line between caution and trust when it comes to authority. I don’t know how to explain to them that there are people who will hate them because of the skin they’re in or the skin their mama is in. I don’t know how to tell them that they may have a slightly different experience because of their complexion and their gender.

I don’t know how to tell them they must never let their guard down.

I don’t know how to tell them about that time I was pulled over for DWB, while my white friend sat in the passenger seat and cried. She didn’t understand why I was being yanked out of my car and given a DUI test when I’d had nothing to drink and done nothing wrong. Or that time when a young white boy was scolded by his mother for holding the door open for me and a friend because, as his mother said, “we never hold the door open for them.”  Or that time…or that time…or that time…

The list goes on.

I have far more questions than answers but do you know what I do tell them now, at 2 and 4 years old?

I tell my children that police officers are here to help. I tell them they’re (mostly) the good guys although I know that when they get older the more complex conversations will have to unfold. I tell them that God loves all of us and that He is our ultimate protector. And I tell them, yes, I tell them, to pray, pray, pray.

And as much as I weep at the devastating acts being committed by these individuals in uniform, I also cry for the police officers who lose their lives. I cried for the officers who were killed in Dallas. I cry for the men and women who are full of integrity but are gunned down because of the actions of their counterparts in some twisted sense of justice. I cry for those here and overseas who lose their lives in the line of duty. 

Did you know I can be black AND care about their lives as well?

Why do you assume that because I want you to see that black lives matter too, I can’t possibly value all lives?

Do you value all lives?

The heaviness doesn’t lift.

You don’t have to get on board with my perspective in order to be empathetic, but will you at least try to understand? Is that too much to ask?

It hurts my feelings when you disregard my pain. And it hurts my black brothers when you decide their lives aren’t worth living.

Sigh.

The cares of this world are heavy my friends. Heavier by the day in my estimation. I don’t have the answers. I don’t have the solutions. But I will continue to seek His face in the midst of it all. I will continue to pray, hope and believe, and as I feel led I hope to be obedient in sharing my thoughts.

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As Patty. As Patricia. As a wife, mother and believer.

As your black friend, I just want you to know…

THIS IS NOT OKAY.

 

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38 thoughts on “Some Thoughts From Your Black Friend…

  1. This was excellent Patty. Thank you for bringing this issue to the forefront, because on this blog, you reach different people who may not fully understand. Great job!

  2. I’m filled with so much pride right now, that you are my precious niece. I’m in tears while trying to type this because of that pride, but also because I’m filled with sadness, anger, rage and fear. I’m trying my best to have a positive outlook for the future of our family, for this country, but it gets harder and harder every day.

  3. Oh Patty, I am in tears reading these words. This world….this ugly, sinful world breaks my heart. I am in the south, so I see racism far too often. It makes me sick and saddens me to the core. You are such a beautiful person inside and out, and I’m proud to know you….I just can’t wait to hug your neck in person. I love you, friend!

  4. I tell my children cops are good guys. It is such a thin and difficult line. There are good people and bad people. Its not necessarily “the uniform” rules are rules and laws are laws. We all must follow and obey. This isn’t just for civilians but law enforcement as well.

  5. Thank you for sharing this! I pray so, so hard that we see a change. If for nothing else, for the sake of our kids. I’m sorry these things happen to you, and I am sorry that after allllll these years, there is still discrimination, and hatred, and frankly, people that just want to stir the pot. It’s unwarranted and causing so much hurt and pain.

    Your post is beautiful, and I hope it reaches a large audience. ❤️

  6. THIS is amazing, YOU are amazing. I’m so glad I stumbled upon this today.
    My hope is more people can read things like this and truly try and understand the reasons the WHY people are taking a knee. Far too much focus on the what instead of the WHY. The first question anyone should ask when they see Colin (or anyone) taking a knee is “why is he doing that” instead of just assuming there’s nothing that justifies that action. LIVES justify that action. Freedom of speech justifies that action.
    Thank you for sharing your heartfelt words.

  7. You wrote a beautiful heartfelt article. It saddens me that you need to write this, that people still need to make a stand….we are all one in Christ and it pains me that others don’t believe that. It is also hard for me to understand how today 2016 in American (around the world) that this is still an issue. But the reality of it, it is. Living in small town America I often forget what it was like living in a larger city and I should never forget. You have reminded me today of yours and others pain. My earthly father taught us not to look at skin color and instead look at the character of a person – as a Christian my heavenly Father tells me to not to look at a person as the world sees but as He sees them. So even when the character is flawed – I see a person God created. My prayer is that the world starts seeing others as God see’s us – what a perfect world we would be in then. Remember, when you weep – when we all weep – God weeps with us. Sending you my love and of coarse hugs!

  8. Wow. This is beautifully written and heartbreaking. 🙁 I’m in much the same position as a parent, as a white woman married to a black man. Growing up, I never thought I’d ever worry about my husband’s safety just going about his business like any other normal person, but the more that is brought to light, the closer danger seems to be. I don’t know what I’ll tell my children as they grow. :/

  9. This is so beautifully written. This is my first time coming across your blog, and I am so glad I did. My heart is heavy reading this post and I pray that the Lord uses it to work in many more hearts like it has mine. Sharing!

  10. I absolutely loved this post! You are amazing and I whole heartedly agree with the change we need to make. We need to see past color and race! Youre a powerful momma xo!

  11. Your writing is beautiful! But see things another way, thru white skin looking at our nation. My friends are all black, my family is mixed, I truly don’t see color. But we are in a time of outright craziness…everyday there is a shooting, a killing, a robbery, a bombing….we are all fALLING VICTIM TO WHO EVER PULLS THAT TRIGGER, yes there have been many blacks but a lot of whites are falling too. We all are in this together, we all must be wary of the bad guys and they all come in all colors of the rainbow! My heart dies a little with each newscast, for all of us. There is a non caring group out there that think they are entitled to what the other has worked for. I m afraid to leave the house these days, we all live in fear. My child can not be outside alone for fear…I understand.

    I think that the uniformed police are just as fearful for their lives, they have families and children and responsibility to themselves. I fear for my family members that are in law enforcement, please pray for them. There is so much hate in our society. How did it get there? Why can’t it leave?

    I live with the fear you do, my family has been put in gas chambers and burned for their beliefs. We try harder and still people have inbred hatred for my people. All I can do now is educate my children…no race or people are bad. There is just good and bad amongst everyone, pick your friends wisely, do what you know is right. I will pray for you, please pray for me, for our neighbors, relatives and community. This is all just too much, lets learn from our mistakes and stop this violence, it is wrong. And I love you, I feel for you and I want to live peacefully amongst my neighbors, to help you and be friends, to be kind, and proud of this country. G_D please fix all that has gone wrong, let their be peace amongst us!

  12. Patricia, This is a wonderfully written post! I hope that the world will change and that police officers will learn that shooting people dead is not the proper response to “not complying”. I pray your girls are never disrespected or treated poorly because of the color of their skin.

  13. Thank you so much for posting this. It’s really important that we all open ourselves up to these discussions, to seeing different perspectives and putting ourselves in the shoes of others. I was raised by fairly liberal parents, who emphasized an open mind and taught me about equality. Sometimes that makes it hard for me to understand where people are coming from when they hate other people for being different, because I could never imagine hating someone or saying hateful things just because of their appearance. We are all people, and we all deserve love! I hope you know I’m sending you love every day and I miss you like crazy!

    BTW – as a military spouse, I and my husband both support Colin Kaepernick and anyone else who chooses not to stand for the national anthem or say the pledge of allegiance or whatever else they want. We also support people who do stand or recite. That’s called FREEDOM! 🙂

  14. Patty, I think you are beautiful and I will always listen to what you have to say. I believe in equality and transparency. I am honored to witness your courage to speak out. I am humbled that I can call you my friend. I’m sorry that the world is this way. I agree…this is not okay.

  15. Patty!!! This was SO GOOD!!! Although I have no idea what it’s like to be black in America, I do see it and I strongly believe in the black lives matter movement. I don’t know the answer but I commend you for sharing your heart so eloquently ❤️

  16. This is beautiful. Thank you letting us walk through your pain. I pray others will really read this. Line by line. That they will feel with you and for you and then be called to do better. To be different. To own their own biases and participation in the problem. Thank you for using your voice. I hear you. It is not okay.

  17. This just choked me up and I will never forget some of its words. I pray that as white middle class I will never ever pretend to understand what it’s like to be black in america. I pray that I will always seek to examine my own heart and help bring these issues to light among my mostly white friend group. My heart breaks tonight with you- praying for you tonight

  18. I’m so proud of you for posting your feelings so openly and proudly. You’re right… I will never know what it’s like to be in your shoes…. So I will just tell you that i support you, I believe in your rights and causes, and I will listen when you want to talk. You are an amazing woman, mom and wife… And that’s the Patricia I know 🙂

  19. Listening hard, my IG mama friend! I am so sorry for the pain, grief and suffering. I feel them, too, when I see each news report, but I know for certain I don’t feel them yet as hard and as heavy as you have to. But I do mourn with you. And I try to honor my black brothers and sisters by speaking up when given the opportunity, to point out things others may still be blind to (and that I myself am still learning to see with more clarity). Forgive us, Father, for we do not know what we do in ignoring or belittling or not giving ear to the voices of people who are experiencing great pain and suffering. I’m for you, Patricia, and I am so glad you chose to write this.

  20. Thank you for sharing this. I hate that it is this way and I am so saddened to hear of all your many experiences with racism. I know it exists, but I think I’m still shocked by it and because I am white, I’m not reminded of it nearly enough. I pray there will be a day where the color of someone’s skin truly doesn’t matter. Because honestly, it doesn’t. It doesn’t mean a thing. ❤️❤️❤️

  21. Sis… I thank the Holy Spirit for guiding you in writing this compelling message of truth written in LOVE.

    My heart can’t begin to explain the comfort and hope I feel behind this message because it is the truth. As a black woman and mother with sons and daughters I feel you’re hurt and pain and concern for yourself, your children and the community. Not just the black community because all lives do matter for evil is ever-present.

    Being an Army veteran, sometimes I think I’ve seen and heard it all. Life what brings so many devastating storms into the lives of those you know as well as those you encounter across the world. If you don’t mind let me share a couple of things. A few years ago I was driving down the road in my BMW convertible with my two middle school-age daughters. I was at the red light getting ready to turn when a Caucasian guy yelled out the window calling me the n word. Coward. It hurt me that he said it in front of my children. Now the reason why I brought up the car is because one he could have been jealous and 2 because I was a black woman driving a pricey car which did not sit well with him. He doesn’t know me or how I obtain the vehicle so why judge me and yell and explicative word? All because of the color of my skin. All I Can Do Was yell back God bless you! And then I prayed for him.

    One more thing. I have 2 college kids. A daughter and a son. My daughter sounds like a “white girl” and both she and my son catch a case for not being “black enough”. Anyway, my concerns are more concerned with them being black and out at night. Especially my son. I stay in prayer. I tell all 5 of my children that just because they have long hair and speak proper, the first thing people see is their skin color and will be initially judged off if it unfortunately.

    But back to you and your story that flooded my heart. Because you are married to a Caucasian man with caramel colored skin daughters, I pray that they don’t face the not being black enough or white enough based upon what society deems acceptable. We live in a mad world in which I have to pray daily for. I too, pray for the dirty cops as well as those who have lost their lives to senseless violence.

    This world we live in is messy and lacking love to the degree that lives are not valued. Too quick to judge and react before responding. With that said many lives are taken away sooner than they need to be. Unless one is black, they really just do not understand the life journey we endure daily. I have white family members and yet I still cannot walk in their shoes or understand their life and upbringing. Can’t judge them either. I digress. Just saying that unless someone is walking in your shoes, they will never understand what you go through. This is for all races and ethnic backgrounds.

    At the end of the day, racial issues are still running strong and that’s sad. All I can do is pray daily and show the love of Jesus to a dark world that stands in the need of light. God bless you Patricia. Hugs and blessings to you in Christ Jesus.

    Terra

  22. Two words. Absolute Truth.
    Thank you for sharing from your experience Patty.
    Thank you for speaking from the other side.
    And, Thank you for reminding us that all you ask is for us to listen and not to justify what is already in our face on a daily basis.
    Peace and blessings.

  23. Dear Patty…I have not walked in your shoes, nor experienced a day as a black person in an often racist white world. I wish with all my heart that I could remove your pain, for I HAVE experienced being in your circle of love, and it is a beautiful place! Like you, I am short on answers and solutions to stop the racism that lies so close beneath the surface in our country. “We Must Be the Change!” is a phrase that has guided me for some time now, and I am so pleased to see that your excellent post has opened a wonderful dialogue with many readers. I pray that people will listen and learn…and become ambassadors of change in America!

  24. Dear Patty,
    Thank you for your words, more than words, your heart and soul.

    Thank you! I too have blogged on this topic from a white woman’s shoes. How I look forward to a time when color doesn’t have a need to be described.

    I love the picture of you and your girls! Beautiful inside and out.

    Let’s keep writing!
    Peace,
    Lynn
    (Chaplynn03)
    Another minister mom and grandma

  25. Thank you for sharing this. It must’ve taken a lot of courage and energy to post your perspective. As a Caucasian woman I may never fully understand your view, but I can tell you that my fears for this country are the same. As a healthcare professional who deals with a large group of black patients, I have empathy and respect for all. I see my patients treated differently every time they have to go to the ER. People assume they are there because of some sort of neglect to their own health which is not always the case. Gods Grace is all we have to depend upon. God bless you for sharing this. Gods message to us all is to love one another. And I hope your message will underline that truth. In love and peace!!

  26. You are a brilliant, beautiful, courageous woman, and I so appreciate you sharing your heart. I cannot claim to understand your perspective, but I can say that a piece of my heart breaks every time there is another devastating blow to communities that create a divide between people. I stand with you in praying, as the only solution is to love God and love people as we are called to love. Every day, my choice is and will continue to be to love – to say hello and smile at everyone I encounter, to extend kindness every opportunity that I am given.
    Thank you for your transparency, as it breaks my heart all the more to know the suffering that still occurs because of the color of an individual’s skin. Hugs and prayers to you and your tender Mama heart. <3

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