As a journalist, we are taught to always remain objective and to report the news without injecting our personal opinion.
Today I am breaking that rule.
It has taken me some time to absorb everything that has transpired in recent weeks precipitated with the killing of George Floyd. And even more time to understand that this wasn’t an isolated incident but rather an indication of a much deeper problem in our country.
I struggled to understand how we as a society have continued to ignore the continued trend of violence and racial inequality that is still pervasive in our society. And on a more personal level, how had I become blinded to the reality of it?
As someone who grew up in the south I am no stranger to stereotypes. We are often perceived as ignorant rednecks and closeted racists with a naïve view of the world. But as with most stereotypes, there is only a small grain of truth in these assumptions.
Though I am a southerner my closest ties to my heritage are with my Native American ancestors. If anyone should understand the realities of persecution and injustice, it should be me.
I had to ask myself again, how had I become so blind?
As many have come forward lately with their stories, particularly Bubba Wallace, the answer suddenly dawned on me. When others look at me, they don’t see a southerner or a Native American. All they see is a white person.
From that point on, it became clear that there is no way that I could understand the reality of being Black. I can never fully grasp the complexities of their lives. All I can do now is listen and learn.
That is my promise. I will listen to their stories and learn from their experiences. I will look at the world from their viewpoint, not my own.
If we stand together as one, there is nothing that we can’t accomplish.