Ellie and I were out in the garden today, watering the cantaloupe seedings, checking on the withering tomato plants and gathering some of my organic green peppers. Well, Ellie was using her trowel to fling dirt around the garden. I was muttering, weeding, and batting away the bugs.
Sounds idyllic doesn’t it?
I used some of the water we were watering the plants with to wash off a couple lingering red tomatoes. Hours later, when I began to feel a little sick to my stomach I realized that water had been sitting in the Texas sun for about 3 days…
You see, I fill up the jugs and let them sit overnight so the chlorine settles off, then water the plants the next morning. Only, it had rained the last couple days so I hadn’t needed to water them.
In any case luckily two of my very good friends are nurses so, they assured me all I had to do was mix some bleach with a gallon of water and drink it and I’d be fine.
It’s hard to find good friends these days. In their defense they DID stop me before I actually drank any bleach. (Do NOT drink bleach if you think you have dysentery…) It sounded just fine to me, let’s kill all those…whatever’s that must have been teeming, squirming, multiplying in that warm water for three days.
Anyway since I was up late obsessing about what the heck was percolating in my stomach, Bill and I watched a movie.
We watched ‘Get Out’. Which, if you haven’t heard of it, is like a horror movie for people who don’t like horror movies.
It was about a young black man that gets trapped with some crazy rich white people. It explored subtle and overt racism all while being suspenseful and entertaining. There was a line from the movie where the main character says that being around too many white people make him nervous.
And you FELT nervous for him. You felt the looks, the on-the-edge anxiety, and I’m WHITE. So, so white. Surrounded as I am by white people in my little white bubble of a life.
I think any movie that can transport me out of my life and into the shoes of someone different (a young black man) and make me feel what he’s feeling is, magic. It was like a good book, building on mood, making you identify with the character so you feel like you’re a part of them, and they’re a part of you.
I turned to a friend the other day and said, so, where’s all the black people? They aren’t where I shop, where I live, where I get gas, or where Ellie goes to school. And then I went to a part of town kind of far from where I live because there was a second hand kids clothing bazaar thingie they have twice a year.
Anyway, it was in a run-down gym, and on one half of the gym there were basketball games being played and I said, oh. Here they all are. Here at this gym in this poorer neighborhood and THEN I thought, this is evidence, right here.
Evidence that there is a divide, that something has happened, and is continuing to happen to a whole group of people right under our pert little noses.
If you look around you, and all you see is white people, GET OUT! Ok, no, but just think about it. There are lots of black people in America. Where are they?
Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is in an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob, and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.”
-Frederick Douglass (Speech on the twenty-fourth anniversary of emancipation in Washington. D.C.)