Of all the things I thought I would write about contemporaneously, a fight about white supremacy was never on my radar. White supremacy is the stuff of college research papers, not presidential press conferences. This subject was also a frequent topic of conversation when I was growing up.
My mom was born and raised in Greenville, South Carolina. She always told stories of seeing chain gangs — usually all black men — working around town. As an adult, she told her parents they were not welcome to visit us if they continued to use the n-word. When mom was a girl, her family was a poor, working class family, and my mom’s first store-bought doll was dark-skinned. She still has that doll, Paula May.
I have always believed that my parents were telling me to check myself for thoughts and attitudes about being better than anyone. I feel like they were raising me to know that some people are less blessed than us, some people have a different — sometime a lot tougher — road. In my mind, I should follow my mother’s example of how to treat people around me. Here’s one: I was having breakfast with my parents one day, and she spotted a guy leaving the restaurant who doesn’t get around much on his own because of some physical or mental deficiencies. I don’t know his story, just that she said, “Oh, Duder McGee is here!” and she hopped up to say hello, and as my eyes followed her I saw that he had help with him and that he was not a typical grown man. My shy, introverted mom jumped up during breakfast to run after someone to say, “Hey, good to see you!” because she was genuinely happy to see him.
While I’m not comparing apples to oranges when it comes to human beings, I’m trying to explain why I don’t get pissy that someone feels like they need to say “black lives matter!” Or why saying that only white, able-bodied men and their white, fertile wives wanting to “take back” America is just wrong. My mom had me reading the Bible since she knew I could read. (Believe me, I started reading very early. Very early. Earlier than any of you, believe me. Fake news is still trying to learn to read. Sad.) Of course my personal and religious beliefs have defined my view of the world. Likewise, I take the Declaration of Independence at face value when it lists the truths we hold to be self evident. I believe all these lessons are there to help me, and all of us, to be better.
It’s nice to be nice. It’s so much more pleasant than being a jackass. Since when did this simple, every day logic get lost on these hate-filled, un-American, un-Christian white supremacists and their emboldened supporters?! I’d much rather be the lone voice of liberalism in my family than associated in any way with a neo-Nazi or anyone on the alt-right. My mama raised me to be better than that.