Basically I learned that I'm the problem. At least part of it.
For the record, all the makers of Gilmore Girls deserve ten-thousand gold stars. Show is great. Writing is great. Live on. Make seven more seasons. I'll watch them all with coffee and tissues in hand.
But the moment I realized that Rory's delicious blue eyes, the ones framed by milky skin and brown hair, were actually a terrifying mirror, a world of revelation opened up before me.
I observed that these two thin, well-to-do, New-England-dwelling beauties have such fantastic lives that they often pull problems out of thin air. Rory's issues include choosing Yale over Harvard, what a drag, being pursued by too many gorgeous men at once, totally horrible, and having to settle for a the lame job of overseeing an entire town's newspaper.
And somehow I was still rooting for her.
See, I like a person when I see myself in them.
And that's when I felt the knife twist.
But this is not an attack on beautiful, thin white girls. If you are beautiful and thin and white, then be beautiful and thin and white, and don't let nobody talk down to you.
I am speaking of white privilege, which exists and I unknowingly experience every day. And let me clarify: this isn't about feeling guilty for being white. It's not about invaliding a hard-working white person. It's about the honest observation that it's immediate leverage if you have a certain skin tone. As far as I can tell, the race thing has only allowed me skate along without a problem. But maybe that's why I feel compelled to speak about it.
Now, I know I’m just speaking in generalities. I know there’s some white dude out there who grew up in the wrong part of town and lost his single mom to cocaine, was oppressed by his black neighbors who hated him because he was white. This guy against all odds blah, blah. I know there’s some black kid out there who grew up privileged. But the truth is generally speaking, it’s an advantage to be white.
…but I'm afraid that's still only one percent of what I am saying. Racism is still a real issue, but racism is a problem and I want to talk about solutions. Will one blog to fix racism forever? No, but I’m talking to you, whoever you are and I also myself. I believe if we all do our part, it can have impact. A drop of water isn’t much, but rain is.
So here’s what I want to bring up. We must understand the narratives we affirm, because they tell us something about ourselves. And once we find that out, we've got to learn to see ourselves everyone else's story, too, because we're all one.
Let me go out on a limb. I don't resonate with, say, a poor black boy who grew up with a mom on welfare and struggled to find opportunity. Why? Duh. Didn't happen to me.
But my story IS in them. Until I see that I'm blind.
To the degree I can't identify with the pain of others, I have enlarging to do. It’s easy to blow people off when you don’t understand them, but it’s enlightened to try and feel their pain…
...even if you don’t think the reasoning that got them there is valid.
Chew on that a second, even if you disagree.
And here's where I'll be extra bold.
I'm asking for people to see me, too. I grew up middle class, and for all practical purposes am privileged and white. I'm brownish, have some Latino in me, but even that tends to work out in my favor. And if you don't resonate with that, I'm asking you to try and find yourself in me.
I know what’s it’s like to struggle to find opportunity. I know what’s it’s like to feel trapped, financially and otherwise. I know what it’s like to feel hopeless. I know we all need space to dream and live and be. We're not so different at the core.
I'm thinking that if we dig deep enough we can find that we're all made of dirt and have divine breath in us. We're sacred lumps of moment by moment mundane existence. All of us.
Father of all, I have no idea what race you are, but you must be beautiful, because all your children are stunning. Help me love my brothers and sisters well. Amen.