The ‘Not Yet’ Reality of Racism

boston

Boston rally – photo credit – CNN

A dear friend once used the phrase ‘not yet’ to suggest a descriptive moment in our lives that though I will not describe that context, I will explore the phrase as it pertains to our lives in America today. As I write this commentary, I notice a massive gathering of protesters in Boston to represent all sides in light of the Charlottesville tragedy. To be clear, it has been reported that this Boston ‘Freedom’ rally was planned in advance to last week’s hate melee in Virginia; however, at the same time, authorities are said to be prepared for outbreaks, and have given notice to all participants.

I’m personally very happy to see this gathering, and my wishes are for a completely peaceful representation. After all, wouldn’t it be refreshing to be able to say this evening, tens of thousands of protesters gathered in Boston Commons without incident? We can only hope, but in the meantime, let’s talk about the ‘not yet’ factor of racism in America. After all, a score of you reading this right now may be sitting in your chair at home or in the office, or sharing drinks or coffee with friends having a dialogue, expounding upon the issues that haunt our country’s racial divide, but just aren’t quite ready to become involved. Many of you might even be saying, I believe the issue exists, but I just don’t want to become … not yet.

After Charlottesville and the notable incidents that will appear to evolve from today’s rallies, my suggestion would be that the time is now. We can all in less than five minutes name a string of current events that impact the racial divide in America. It is time to stop suggesting we are over reacting and begin to address the issues that exist in our society today. Right now, today as I write this I feel a stronger tension than I did as a child growing up in the 60’s. Granted I wasn’t yet in my teens, but I listened to my older siblings, and watched the news with a very well informed mother and father.

The fact that civil rights set such a precedent in the 60’s gives cause to argue that what is happening today in our world is throwing all of that effort out the window. It would seem today, we are right back where we started with open violence attached to racial discrimination. There are no filters, and our children, the young people growing up with this mindset should be our primary concern.

What scares me the most is the actions that happen behind closed doors, just like the very pub or coffee shop you are sitting in right now. Those conversations need to be geared toward reframing our thinking, to understand what ‘love’ means as opposed to the insidious nature of ‘hate’ in America. Time magazine recently published a cover page with the American flag and the heading ‘Hate in America’ as its bi-line. I scratched out hate and wrote love above it and posted it on Facebook, but then took it down because of copyright infringement.

We need to start to dialogue together, to inform one another of the long-term effects of racism, not as much our future but how the past has impacted a way of thinking today, that will not improve if society doesn’t begin to collectively listen. Let’s ignore the ‘not yet’ and begin to act now.

In the meantime, let’s wish for peaceful strolls throughout some major metropolitan cities where protesters are presently laying emphasis on the cause for peace and unity throughout this gorgeous Saturday afternoon.

 

 

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If Not For That

We wake to the morning

asking for our soul,

at least for a few hours,

protect the innocent,

that sort of thing that eats away,

asks you with a constant

urgency.

Do you have to be that way,

could you maybe perhaps

try it another way.

Does it always have to be,

the way you want it to be.

I feel a constant pressure,

at my back, in my face,

crawling along my skin,

each glance, each breath,

my takeaway is nothing short of,

really dissatisfying.

Yet, when I stop to breathe

(a rare reality)

I sometimes come to terms

with how base my society is,

how simple an analogy I could toss around,

and satisfy so many onlookers.

I have to consciously allow my life to unfold,

and when I do,

when that really does happen,

when I might feel the beauty of life around me,

rather than the angst of not having any energy,

when that occurs,

well, that’s really the best time to

teach.

We Cannot Choose

Search the horizon,

acknowledge the occasional bump,

maybe a blemish,

a stained reality screaming aloud.

Pause to breathe,

yet don’t step away,

keep your eye on obligation,

imagine the pearl in the rough awakening,

striving and helpless,

until time graced innocence

accentuates grief’s consequence.

Well ahead there exists a euphoric sunrise,

perhaps grayed with callous indecision

today, tomorrow, throughout,

a very near future –

yet know you’re holding a key,

you might respond accordingly,

to a beautiful opportunity.

Be the teacher,

please.

Our Charges Return

Streaming in waves, in smiles and raves,

the children are arriving this morning,

we will welcome all of you with open arms,

readied our rooms, and ironed our ties,

the days ahead are only meant for you.

innocent eyes, and worrisome nights,

children of our halls, determined and right.

~

I stepped into the constant motion

noticed them all with emotion,

I realized how much I’d missed every face,

how excited I was by the new,

I understood that this special place,

held a bargain for me to offer solace,

to those that came through the halls today.

~

We begin the task, forever in progress,

the idea of moving our pages along,

the free-spirit nature of every child,

is our responsibility to maintain, to ideal.

Walk inside the classroom, tap a pencil

look around the space to see a set of eyes,

then know that each set is willing the same.

~

To a teacher on the first day of school, hello,

to a student in return, welcome to your life.

What We Do

On a near morning,

duty will call,

the rise of another nation

of children, all eager minds

willing to listen

only if provided

our correct animation.

Methodical minds

will test the limits

while the year winds

with levels of commotion.

We need to return

our lives are their mortar

feel the grains, the seed

when melted in knowledge

castle walls may appear

with inviting hallows.

I would if I might

venture to suggest

my world is less important

than the guest rooms,

backseats, extended stays,

low-income, palatial platforms

single-family fortress our

charges will depart

to grace the hallways

wandering, wondering, whether

this classroom is worth

their precious time.

When next the hour

suggests we smile,

we will include passion

to advocate the beauty

of their timeless soul.

Who Do We Serve?

I open my curtains and the light shatters the room with brilliance,

such is the life of a teacher on opening day of the school year.

Fresh minds invade the quiet peace of a marble castle

only to gradually tear down the mortar slivered throughout walls

of academic prowess. These are our children, these are their needs,

and we are licensed to bring them to the next level.

I haven’t cashed out yet, so allow me a story please.

I like to be loved, liked, thought of as a good person,

I usually count on that to battle the voices in my head.

While the days go by I will encounter eager minds,

the students that will live our lives over again tomorrow.

I wish their happiness,

i wish their dreams to explode with much success,

I need to certainly understand my life as I stand here

is designed for them if that is the legacy I choose.

So feel the brilliant rays take over the room,

here we are together on a journey for the year.

Let’s realize goodness together, and let’s hope my hope

is the offer of support, guidance and exemplar notes ahead.

Watch Me Unravel

I stand before you with all the humanity I can possibly muster,

yet, I will be sure to cover it up with some facade of well being.

~

I realize we must bring to our students the best of our wares,

and while doing so, I will need to be a guiding mentor indeed.

~

There’s a certain beauty in being a planned member of society,

rather than simply living by the seat of my pants.

~

A classroom of empty desks, all readying themselves for new souls,

those that will embrace the passion being garnered by a mentor.

~

I stand before you my colleagues and express my genuine concern,

please help me find my stability, the energy that helps this room to move.

~

A day of staff development that all of us with little question agreed,

could better be spent doing shots at a local brewery nearby, (oops)

~

Ah, but alas, that is the part we always suggest at the start of the year,

will be put aside to endear and engage the souls of our assigned siege.

~

I am easily delighted by a smile, a joke, or an off-handed remark,

that allows me to be less human just for only a short time more.

~

Before the legions arise over the horizon in numbers of greatest need,

stomping through the wheat fields whose harvest has passed me by.

~

Strap up, grab a writing utensil, notice the purpose of my white boards,

with a delightful smile, open the door while we let our humanity join hands.