August 13, 2017

Hey You - A Reaction to Charlottesville

Hey, you. Little person, standing outside your synagogue or your mosque. I see you. I was you. A little different from your classmates. Carrying matzo sandwiches to school on Passover. Standing aside as the other children sing Christmas carols. Getting strange looks for the star around your neck, or the hijab covering your hair. 

I see you. I was you.

I am you.

Hey, you. Little person, surrounded by others who look like you but feel so very different. I see you. I know you. Wondering how all the other children can laugh and play with their boy games and their girl games, not feeling like you fit in completely on either side. Wondering if you'll get shunned if you prefer playing spin the bottle with people who look more like you. Wondering if you'll ever fit in.

I see you. I know you.

I'm not you but I love you.

Hey, you. Little person, walking through the streets wearing skin that is brown when everyone else's seems to be white. I see you. I know you. Wondering if it's safe, looking like you do, living in this crazy world like you do. Knowing the cards are stacked against you. Knowing you're taught you have to be better in order to succeed, and wondering if you'll ever be better enough.

I see you. I know you.

I'm not you but I love you.

Hey, you. Little people. All of you. Even those of you who don't know what I'm talking about above because you're not wearing a star or a hijab, and you do fit in with all your classmates and their binary-gendered games, and you aren't brown or black or yellow or red or purple or plaid.

Hey, you. All of you. I see you. I know you. I am you and I love you. 

And I know what you're seeing right now, any time your mom or dad or grandma or uncle turns on the news. 

You're seeing people who want to hurt each other, based solely on the color of their skin or the god they worship or the people they love. 

That is NOT OKAY.

You're seeing violence. Murder. Killings at the hands of people who might, someday, want to hurt YOU, based solely on the color of your skin or the god you worship or the people you love.

That is NOT OKAY.

You, little person, are small. The world is big and scary. But I promise you, it's beautiful, too. These people? The ones committing the violent acts? The ones with the signs and the guns and the voices? They're terrible and horrible, but they are NOT EVERYONE. They have BIG VOICES right now, but the vast majority of the world condemns their actions. Their words. 

Their HATE.

I condemn them, and as a grown-up it's my job to work hard to keep you safe, little person. Although I'm ashamed to admit I don't yet know how, I promise you: I will work hard. I will do my best to keep you safe, little person.

For I love you. We may be different, but I think difference is beautiful. I think color is beautiful. I think love, in any shape or size, is beautiful.

* * * *

Hey, you. Big person. Big, bad, white person. Big, bad, white man. You with all your sense of entitlement, your sense of being better than everyone. Of deserving more than everyone. You with your sense that anyone who doesn't look like you, feel like you, think like you, believe like you, is something less than you. 

I see you.

I hear you.

Hey, you. You, carrying the Confederate flag. You, holding your hand up in the Nazi salute, chanting words like "Seig Heil," words you probably don't even understand. You who feels like the world is set against you because there are now more people who look different, who feel different, who believe different.

I see you.

I hear you.

I condemn your racism. 

I condemn your anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.

I condemn your isolationism. 

I condemn your violence.

I will do everything in my power to stop you. I may not know how yet, but I will. And you will be stopped.

* * * * 

Hey, you. Yeah, you. Mr. President. You know, the man of the bombastic Tweets and the ugly comb-over?

I see you.

I hear you.

I hear you when you refuse to condemn the racism and hate behind a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. I see you when you try to spread the blame, to deflect suspicion from yourself. From your words. From your actions.

I see you when you try to change the subject from your own failings to those of another nation, when you threaten violence that will, quite literally, be the end of all of us.

I condemn you. 

Everything about you.

I will do everything in my power to stop you. I support the investigation into your inappropriate dealings with the Russian government. I support the investigation into your questionable financial background. I support efforts to impeach you for gross negligence, gross inadequacy. 

Mr. President, I am not you. 

I will never be you.

* * * *

Little people of the world, please know: we see you and we hear you. The vast majority of us love you. While a few voices raised in hate may currently be drowning out the many voices raised in love, this will not last. We will rise above, and with your help, we will build a more beautiful world.

Be brave. Be strong.

I am with you.


Unknown said...


Unknown said...

Thanks for that! Now my makeup is running, but in the best possible way!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing what many of us are thinking.

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