I “see” a person independent of their skin color, in a way.
In reality no one is “black” absorbing all the light and radiating none. We are hues of melanin. We all have glow. I focus on the glow.
Being brought up in a nearly all-white suburb of Boston, as a young adult I’d little exposure to other cultures and nationalities – other than in high school, when they bussed a handful of students in from Boston’s neighborhoods.
I became friends with one girl, she was ultra neat like me, quiet, and interesting. We’d hang out at school and eat lunch together until she read what sounded like vitriolic anti-white hate poetry in rhetoric class. It was hard to feel close after that. (I’ve heard similar diatribes on black radio living in Washington, DC.)
The other students kept to themselves, eating at their own table for example; one young man was boisterous compared to the other young men. He was their alpha -according to tense body language from the white guys around me.
People stay segregated when they aren’t inclusive. We didn’t get a chance to get to know each other by anything natural in the curriculum. We didn’t explore each other’s oral histories for example. Schools don’t typically bus white kids to urban Boston schools, that I know of- reinforcing the idea of inherent disparity.
Since then I’ve had some personal experiences that left other impressions.
Visiting Nepal, I had an extraordinary experience of being a minority.
While Nepali people wouldn’t necessarily consider themselves “black”, they are often quite dark toned. Unless one looks closely, it’s hard to read their facial expressions- compared to a lighter-toned individual.
After arriving after dark the day before, stepping out of my simple motel room I was taken somewhat aback to find myself immediately immersed in a sea of brown toned beings. Everyone seemed ~a foot shorter! There were no other whites around – (that’s not true of the more central Tamil district).
People slowed and nearly paused to look at me. Some of the men especially. As a dark-eyed 5’7” (I lost a couple of inches since) very fair skinned brunette, Maybe I was striking.
In addition to obvious reasons they might have so strongly noticed me, I suspect most of it was subconscious – and from my differences. Here’s a theory.
Did you know, as galactic waveform avatar beings we subconsciously ‘know’ angelic forms when we see them, we can’t help but be drawn to them – even if in this case their conscious mind thinks otherwise? Angelic forms ~demand our attention, shall we say?!
Visually shorter and darker individuals are subconsciously drawn to notice lighter complected individuals, and as a result become slavish.
Consider, in that moment, they stop doing what they’re doing (not good or bad necessarily); they give your attention away when they engage.
No longer doing whatever you want but focusing on me instead, power expenditure slows for the task at hand.
Other’s sense this – and can learn and use it as advantage.
Throughout those travels to the third world, I saw many whites demanding, and rewarding, obsequiousness. They clue(d) to this ‘noticing’, in by body language and fe(e)d off of it. Engagement is a two way street.
Fortunately my heart was among a sought kindred spirit, and my startle softened. After a while I was left feeling not more or less watchful than if I were home – I wouldn’t say relaxed.
For whatever reason, when I was a medical resident I found myself talking to people of color, usually men, about spiritual matters.
I can get people proselytizing. I’ve been schooled about Jesus (many times). “Turn your eyes to the Savior!” they’d say to me. I still hear them.
Of course in our conversations I’d have some fun too, always trying to bring the conversation around to G-d- but never made it.
Usually these engagements would take place in the clinic or hospital- maybe in response to a sad event that happened. It moved me that they’d bother; technically as the MD, I’d be a boss of sorts.
I want to thank all those men who take their time out to tell me about the Jesus they love. Those conversations meant a lot to me!)
A few summers ago, when my kids were in camp, one of them took karate, while the other one kayaked.
Sitting in the dojo, with my then 11 year-old on tournament day, we watched contestants doing work-outs, katas, kicking and sparring. Movements of fierce beauty executed by belts of all color. Most participants, it is true, were Asian or White.
Of the two African-Americans in the room as I recall, one was sempai, sensei’s right hand man. He was younger but middle-aged too, I’d known him for about a year.
He tended towards fixed ideas, disliking others (at least in body language), and was bitter from his divorce talking poorly of his spouse. It always felt frustrating to talk to him.
Sempai was going for his fourth degree black belt. His 14-year old son, also in the room was competing as a brown belt, for his first.
It had been a scorching hot week and over 90 degrees F, during mid-August in the PNW.
Sitting there an hour already, the room was stifling hot and sweaty.
The tournament was onto the advanced belts now, each going for their next. To watch was truly amazing – they were graceful, strong and athletic. It was a pleasure to share space.
Sempai, a teacher one black belt lower than sensei, did well but with his form had some rigidity.
As sempai made his bow and turned back to his sitting, I was watching him carefully – and critically – as he’d ‘invited’ me to judge him by competing, I noticed just the slightest stagger and a sway, as he walked to his seat on the floor by the wall with the other teachers.
Not more than 2 minutes after he sat down, he slumped over and became unresponsive.
While people hollered, “he’s having heat stroke” and threw water on him, I ran and assessed, kneeling at his side on the floor in my full-length silk dress.
Finding no pulse or spontaneous breathing, and time rapidly slipping, I initiated CPR while surrounded by screaming.
Of course that means giving two rescue breaths, then starting chest compressions. White mouth touching black mouth, in another time was a crime. I thought to myself, we have come a long way.
Jeff, my then husband and also physician, had taken a break from watching once our son competed for his blue belt, leaving to read the paper in the waiting area.
Stirred by the commotion as kids were quickly heralded out of the studio, he realized something was wrong and soon sauntered in to help; later told me he was thinking, “whatever it is…Jennifer can handle it!”.
He started chest compressions after seeing me surrounded by men (still tossing water) as I worked on him alone.
Sempai wasn’t responding and I sensed his spirit separating. Yelled out, “we’re losing him” as his eyes and tongue bulged, bloated and blue.
At that, Jeff forced more deeply and I gave a bigger fervent breath, then with coughs and sputtering, sempai came back to life.
We’d saved him, for that day at least, and he was still a father to his son in the next room.
In the end, I got a card from the dojo, but never from the man. My back went out for a couple of months and I was emotionally traumatized. And of course it was my luck the dress was a mess. I’ve worn it once since.
So what I write next must be taken with the above, for black lives matter, as much as anyone’s.
No one can be saved from himself or herself in the end. Anger, bitterness, and rage, poison wells and one’s kin. Learn to love for real, despite the distortion of color relative to your undressed image reflected in your mirror.
We are all spiritually tethered, when we are willing.
Personally, I wish to avoid confrontations with armed power, which is said to be prevalent these days. I’m thinking of especially as I could be a target -“weak”, white, and woman. So I don’t unnecessarily go out, but prefer to be accompanied and still clever.
As long as violence rules this land, and not the Golden Rule, nor the laws as they are written, the answers are within you and fighting’s not your friend.
Fighting IS engagement.
Engagement entrains your energy. Rapt thoughts and emotions, further create your reality. In all of this, our body must WORK. And work with, on, or over time, creates power -for better or for worse.
Power not given freely in the course of our helpful works, but with disengagement, is lost.
As long as you’re engaged with what you don’t want, brother you aren’t free.
Our physical release of attention, AKA ignoring, gives opportunity for spirits’ further lightening, or so state all the spiritual books, and after ~NDE, I’d agree.
Wear a camera, have a friend, and be sober. Re-read Malcolm X’s autobiography! There’s gold in his words; don’t forget your faith.
And I’m sure many other important distinctions
There were no other risk factors than heat stress and chronic anger. EMTs came and took him away (unaccompanied). But finding little wrong after his ER evaluation, and without any witness (EMTs hadn’t wanted me to go with him, nor inquired about what I had ‘seen’, though I shared observations), he was about to be discharged without further monitoring. – and without insurance, he wanted to leave. Luckily Sensei shared my concerns, and advocated a stay. Sempai ended up with an ICD implant after V TAch was noted on by the cardiac team during his overnight stay.