The Klan is no longer hiding under cover of darkness. The group now includes women, and they go out in daylight uncovered to assert their right to believe in their supremacy over everyone else – leading me to wonder if we’re losing our hard-won progress toward inclusiveness and tolerance.
I grew up learning that everyone was equal; that we should be kind and loving to one another and that we can change things with collective action - while these people seem to want a race war.
I, for one, did not see that coming.
This spring one of my sons drove down the east coast with friends, stopping along the way for rest and fun. He called me from South Carolina to describe how driveways on either side of one friend’s cousin were covered in Confederate Flags. Fresh out of Winooski, my biracial son and his friends were horrified.
That same week, a noose was found at the African American Museum in DC, the second in a short space of time. It happened just one day after my youngest, a high school sophomore, had been there on a class trip.
These incidents shook me awake, reminding me of the risks my kids run because their mother is of African descent, despite being from a place in northern New Hampshire that’s so small it doesn't qualify as a town; and despite being loving, caring, considerate human beings.
I’m appalled that so many now feel empowered to engage in openly racist acts. But I’m from here, I’m not going anywhere, and I can’t live in a place where I’m suspicious of everyone; it will eat me alive. So if someone wants to engage in a battle with me because of my ancestry, despite how terrified I am for my children, I will confront their bigotry head on with compassion.
I will still teach my children to resist bias, to believe in free speech and to respect people with differing points of view, because our America is one where people who are different come together to discover all they may have in common.