Just recently, a white person said something inappropriate and ignorant to an African-American friend of mine. The incident was passed on by my friend’s spouse so I’m not sure of the exact words, but, the negative impact on my friend’s feelings and my friend’s interpretation of the words, were what was important. I shuddered, both physically and emotionally and, in fact, am still in wonder. To me, the sense of the word or words that were used objectified my friend, my friend’s race, and perhaps even gender. But, I also wonder about the speaker, the person whose words came so easily to hurt so deeply. What could make that person unaware of the humanity of all? Did that person actually want to make a connection to understand and change but could not properly articulate the outreach? What was that person’s background that seemingly has generated a cocoon of insensitivity and inhumanity? I think applying Christ’s Golden Rule in a case like this would have us not hope for comeuppance for the hurtful person, but, rather a reworking of that person’s human spirit.
This is a shot taken from the inside of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. The shot looks out, through the architectural crown and onto the US Department of Commerce building. Americana.