Dear Diversity, I'm Sorry
Confessions from the previously unaware
Looking at the color of my skin, you might make some assumptions. The first, being that I have experienced white privilege my whole life. That assumption is true. Although I had never recognized it. When you are experiencing privilege, you may rarely take the time to look around and notice those who aren’t. I had known racism previously existed, but was completely unaware of the fact that it is still extremely present. This was the problem. I walked around the world with my hands covering my eyes, because I didn’t wish to see the prejudice that saturated my world. This had been taking place, yet in my world, in my privilege world, I was fine. I was never looked at differently for the color of my skin. I was never followed in a store for a potential stealing. I was never questioned by a police officer. I was free, and I was basking in my freedom.
I knew people of different cultures, but failed to ask them and engage in conversation about our differences. I didn’t ask them about the struggles they had gone through due to the color of their skin. Instead, I considered all the things we had in common. It’s a rough thing, to ask those friends of mine to uncover the deepest, darkest, hurts they have faced. To go back, and bring forth those stories and feelings they’ve tried to suppress. But these were stories I needed to know; I longed to know. For once in my life, the veil was lifted, and my privilege was no longer a place I was happy in. I looked around, and saw those I loved, being treated differently, and unfairly. Them, people, just like me, except their skin pigment was a darker shade. How could this make them a thief? It didn’t, yet they were living a life different from mine. I walked around sporting my privilege as if it were a brand new pair of shoes, unaware of the bliss I had been radiating. How could I be so foolish? 20 years old, and my world has been flipped. Why had I failed to see? Well, because those surrounding me, also basked in their privilege. We were having a privilege party, until I realized the only ones invited were white.
So, I’m sorry. I’m sorry, for going into a store and never realizing you were being targeted. I’m sorry for clenching my purse tighter as you walked past me. I’m sorry for questioning your intentions, and for assuming others were right about you. You aren’t the labels I used to place on you. I’m sorry. It starts with me. If I can’t admit and own up to my previous mistakes, then we have a problem. You were just being yourself, and I believed what they said about you. I trusted the stereotypes more than your words, and I’m sorry. I’m sorry I lived in my privilege without noticing you were outside of it. Sorry can never take back the immeasurable pain you have faced, and I know that. I just want to acknowledge what I have done, and own up to my actions. Different from my skin color, but just as beautiful as ever. You have changed my world, and my life. I’m sorry that it has taken me this long to remove the film over my eyes. I want to hear your stories, and the pain you have faced. I want to take on those feelings you have, and walk through it with you. Speak up, if I fail to realize I’ve hurt you, it was never my intent. I want to begin to understand what you have gone through. Share with me, as I have shared with you, although I can’t begin to think it’d be easy.
Dear Diversity, you are beautiful, and you have taught me so much. Our creator knows beauty because WE are apart of it. I am so grateful for those who have taught me along the way, and have shown me what it means to be apart of HIS CREATION. We are all one, and I am grateful to live life alongside of the coolest, most beautiful people in the world. Allow me if you will, to enter into life with you and see and hear things from your perspective. I want to know, and I want to be apart. I am sorry it’s taken me this long. How’s about we start now? Thank you diversity, for showing me your love and beauty. It’s a wonderful thing.
Hebrews 13:1-3 “Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies.”
New Living Translation (NLT)
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.