Yesterday evening I was at a store with my husband and our little girl. While he was trying on pants I took Kali in the cart through the shoe section. Kali is half Romanian and half Black. She looks like a miniature version of Halley Berry. She is super friendly, always talking to everyone that passes by. My husband says she’s like me but I think she takes the word “friendly” to a whole new level.
A little girl around 5 years old was in an aisle. Kali immediately said hello and started chatting away with her. She reached out to touch her. The little girl was white with blonde hair and blue eyes. The child left me speechless with her words, “Don’t you dare touch me with that skin! Don’t talk to me. You are gross!”
I stood there looking at the hatred from this child. The parents were in the other aisle. I immediately turned the cart around and felt such anger and sadness. I felt the jabs and stabs of unbelievable prejudice, shame and judgment. Who could teach a little girl to hate like that? Kali, of course, had no idea of what had happened. She continued waving and speaking to everyone in the store. I, on the other hand, held my tears through deep breathing while trying to send forgiveness to her little soul.
Here’s the thing: hate is not a gene we are born with. Love is. Hate is learned, manipulated, brewed and used out of fear. I live in the South. North Carolina has progressed tremendously, but I also know that some of these back roads aren’t friendly for someone like Kali…or me. I don’t look Hispanic, until I open my mouth and a word, here and there, will slip with a deep accent. I am proud of my heritage, as I am also proud of all my children and their backgrounds. My husband is as Irish white as they come. I’ve never taught my children skin color, racism, or hatred. I don’t know how anyone could involve a child in such backward thinking and disgusting behavior. Discrimination is something I judge with every cell in my body…so that doesn’t make me a very loving person. I have tolerance for a lot of things but when it comes to humanitarian division it all disappears.
I hated myself the rest of the night for not standing there and saying something to that little girl on behalf of Kali. But, I also saw her parents. I felt their oppression. Who am I to fix something that is so deeply ingrained in the middle of a store? And worse of all…had my husband, who tolerates zero crap of that behavior, would have come out in that moment all hell would have broken loose. So hatred would have conquered and love would have been thrown out the door. Let’s face it, we don’t remember the acts of kindness when hatred is that strong. I did smile at that little girl and shook my head in disbelief. But that wasn’t enough. In my fantasy world I would have taken her hand and gently pressed it on Kali so she could witness that she was warm and loving like her and the skin color wasn’t going to rub off on her. I would have spoken with sweet words about their beauty as they both had exactly the same hair style except in different colors.
Yes, I live in a fairy world at times. I think everyone thinks like I do about love, acceptance, compassion, empathy and forgiveness. But, this world is far from being a loving one. I worry about how Kali will have to battle her way through life in many instances. Then I think about the times I had to do it while I was young, living in an all-white neighborhood, and I was the only Hispanic around. I was the different one. I was accepted because I always molded to my surroundings and once they got to know me they realized I wasn’t a threat. I was just a little girl with a different voice. The rest of me fit in perfectly.
Our behaviors, as parents and teachers, determine the future of our world…and our existence. We cannot change hate and fear with immediate love. It requires more than that. Compassion is a start but wars aren’t won on compassion and kindness. This human race is divided through politics, religion, indifference and manipulation. The moment we begin to treat one another as divinity the hatred may crumble and we will be left with what was intended: unity for all. But, how do we start and where do we begin? How do we fix what seems to be so broken? How can we become one race…the human race? How can we begin the process of humanitarian freedom that will allow for true love?
May you have a blessed day…wherever you are and whoever you are. I don’t see color, race or gender. I see souls, but I witnessed something in that little girl that scared me intensely. I witnessed a new generation of anger and intolerance without remorse. It’s up to us to send loving vibes and prayers through conscious shifting into the masses. This world really needs it! And a shift in thought and perception may be the start of something new.