Taking off my Rose-Colored Glasses
I’ve been held at gunpoint three times in my life.
The first time I was in college. I was walking home from a party with two other girls. We had been talking and not paying attention when three men of color rushed up to us, putting a gun to my head, they demanded my purse.
Once they had what they wanted, they ran off, leaving me shaken but safe.
I grew up in the suburbs of Minneapolis, a predominately white community. My feet easily shifted through the sailing and equestrian worlds; can you say white privilege? Race wasn’t something I thought about. Racism was bad, and of course I wasn’t racist, I didn’t see color.
But by my 20’s, if I dug deep down into that ugly part of my heart I knew, I really wasn’t that innocent color-blind white girl I liked to think I was.
My experience as a white woman in America was different.
As I traveled into the world, my rose-colored glasses shifted.
The lived experience of my dark-skinned Kenyan roommate was vastly different from mine.
My black boss would daily get pulled over for “DWB” driving while black.
My Swaziland brothers and sisters had faced years of oppression at the hands of white folks, then facing a 50% AIDs rate from white truck drivers crossing their country spreading the ugly disease.
The elderly colored woman I lived with in South Africa had been forced out of her home on the ocean by the white community, she now lived in a township far from any ocean views that the whites renamed in a cruel irony, “Ocean-Side”.
Through tears, I will work to take off my rose-colored glasses and stand with the oppressed.
*written during the race riots of 2020. They occurred in my hometown of Minneapolis. Feeling helpless, battling HG, I watched the developing and scary news of what was occurring in my hometown, the place where my mom, step-dad and sister lived.