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Saturday, June 20, 2020

A Long-ago Graveyard of Privilege

I didn't grow up in Georgia. I grew up in Seaford, Delaware. Recent social intensities resurfaced a memory buried in a long-ago graveyard of privilege. White privilege. This post triggered a need to (start to) express that resurfaced memory. The memory may be flawed, and certainly narrow, but the essence, I'm confident, it not.
I had to dig out my 1973 high school yearbook to find his full name. I had to. I remembered his first name, it was Leslie, and he was a senior when I was a freshman. He was a star academic and athlete headed to college... headed toward a future. Only he wasn't.
The short story goes like this: He went fishing with his to-be father-in-law. There was an accident. He drowned. He was a young black man recently engaged to his white high school sweetheart.
I remember the hushed murmurs of young and old alike that floated on the undercurrents in the underworld social structure of that little town. And that's as much attention as it got. Life, at least the whites lives, went on in usualness.
This teenage memory, buried in that ugly graveyard resurrected over these past few weeks. And with it the shame, the horror, the complicity of that little town. And of mine.
I hear and see a lot of talk about history these days. There should be, as the lies of the so-called victors, with all the shame, horror, complicity and worse are resurrected, and rightfully burned, and torn down to a rubble. A rubble from which, if we choose, we might build something else. Something better. Something just. Something that, when it weeps, it weeps with joy, with love, and not with shame, horror, and complicity.
There's more work for me right here in this memory, and elsewhere. If you're white and you're reading this, I ask you, no - beg you - to do the work as well.
🕊
With that, I bid you the capacity to carve out time and space to enJOY the last of the vernal breezes, and to light a blaze to the arrival of the summer sun that burns to ash all that does not nurture and sustain. All.

2 comments:

Cherie said...

Oh Rose love. What a terrible memory that has resurfaced to haunt you. I hope you are able to find peace.

rose of Walk in the Woods, LLC said...

The peace is in the work. The work is necessary. Personal work, community work, social justice, justice work. ::nods::