As a white woman from a privileged background I have rarely experienced the direct mechanisms of hate. I have never been locked out of opportunities or denied medical treatment because of my skin color; I have never feared deportation or experienced violence or the daily threat of violence.
I can only imagine the emotions such experiences engender. As I study, listen to minority voices, and begin to peel back the layers of racism that our country was built upon and continues to operate under, I am appalled by the sheer volume of bloodcurdling acts that have been committed against people of color. I feel indignant that humans who look like me have committed such heinous acts and continue to act out with remorseless impunity.
To those people I say, you may look like me, but something about you is different. You have a disease impairing your sensibility, and that disease is called hate. By other names it is greed. It is racism. It is war.
Look at your hands. The way the fingers move. The way skin, that velvety barrier between air and organs melts across your sinew and bone. Think about the way those fingers move, how they dance, the things they are capable of.
Now look around. What do you see? Walls, maybe a window? Outside the sun shines down its nourishing rays equally upon rich and poor, healthy and sick, cruel and kind.
We’ve inherited these hands the same way we’ve inherited this Earth. We did not create them, nor do we own them.
There are those who would protect the haves and take from the have nots. To these people I would say woe unto you, because you don’t know that whatever you do to another is done unto you. You are not different from the other, and in fact
There is no other.
Zoom out now and look at our planet. The celestial globe floating like an iridescent gem in its atmosphere, suspended between unfathomably large stretches of vacuum amidst star and supernova. There we are, man and woman, rich and poor, populating and laughing and dying on that blue globe. Should we pit one against the next, fighting over resources, squandering our talent and ingenuity by raping and pillaging the gorgeous planet which sustains us?
Because you are brown, and I am white. Because you are man, and I am woman. Because you are gay, and I am straight.
Because you are Christian and I am Jew. Because you are Muslim and I am Buddhist.
Because I am me, and you are you?
Let’s have compassion for those afflicted with the disease of hate.
Let us not give morally bankrupt souls, who lack the ability to see humanity beyond the confines of their own skin, the power to make us feel anything other than beautiful, capable, connected, free, and whole.
To my fellow white skinned friends:
Like the pink elephant in the room, racism is here and has been all along. Though we may not be overtly racist we all have implicit biases, racist beliefs hidden from our own view. As people with white skin, we benefit from the same system that is oppressing our sisters and brothers of color. It is time for us to face our own discomfort by uncovering the ways we are complicit in the racist systems we may be benefiting from.
I need you, friends. To listen. To unify. To mobilize. To speak out. Let us put down our phones and our small problems and come to our senses. Open our eyes and ears. Connect with the beauty within us, between us, and around us. Find out how we can get involved, how we can contribute to and create solutions.
All of us are in the same pot, and it’s starting to boil.
This blog was written by a guest blogger, Melissa Gail Klein.
Melissa Gail Klein is a musician based out of Austin, Texas. She first encountered the banjo one fortuitous night on an old wooden sailboat in Kona, Hawaii. As the evening progressed and stars climbed over the dark water, Melissa knew she had found her passion. Melissa grew up in the suburbs of New York city and received a scholarship to Penn State for gymnastics in 2007. After competing for 3 and a half years she graduated and began traveling across the United States and abroad, developing herself as a singer songwriter. She released her first EP titled The Wind, It Grew Legs in 2012 and more recently an animated music video for her hit song My Golden Rule. She is currently writing and performing with her band, teaching voice and banjo, painting, and working toward a masters degree in Social Work at the University of Texas.