Today I was having a great conversation with a neighbor, someone I call friend. We were catching up while practicing social distancing. It has been a long while since we’ve had such a long conversation, although short in comparison of past conversations.
Our conversation included talking about work, business, our kids, school, pets, politics, and what it is to live in the United States as they weren’t born here.
It was during this last part of the conversation that I said something for which I immediately wanted to take back. The topic was about how people talk about our country, good or bad mouthing it. I said that I feel since I was born here, I can talk about it anyway I want.
As soon as it was out of my mouth, it felt wrong. I felt as if I had just unintentionally insulted my friend since they weren’t born here.
I immediately apologized for how that sounded, stating that did not sound good nor come out as expected. I then provided a different example of what I had meant, which in retrospect, probably wasn’t much better.
We did continue the conversation, comparing how people act in their country of origin and what it is like to live in an adopted country. Both of us had examples and the conversation ended on a friendly tone.
I don’t know if my friend thought anything about it. I may be making a mountain out of a mole hill, in reaction to being a little more hypersensitive at the moment as I’m reading Stacey Abrams’ new book, Our Time is Now, and Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s book, How to Be an Antiracist. Both of them have blown me away with what is happening both under our noses and in plain sight.
Their words are having me exam my own racial bias’ and how they have been built over time, as well as my antiracist actions as an adult.
Although I will continue to fail as a racist and antiracist, I also will continue to grow to be more antiracist than racist.
Be patient with me, I’ll continue to grow and do better.