How do you overcome worry about your husband’s safety?
The nature of my husband’s work necessitates he travels. He’s currently working from home due to the state of the world.
But over the years and as I watched horrific events unfold around us, I began to fear that maybe our goodbye kiss the morning he left for the airport would be our last.
You see, my husband is Kenyan-American. He is a black man.
And to be black in America means some people make assumptions about you. They have preconceived notions about your intentions and your motives. And they make decisions based on those assumptions.
So I worried that my husband would be driving down the highway in his rental car in a different city or state and a police officer would stop him and use deadly force.
I worried he’d walk into an office to conduct business or see a client and someone would assume he shouldn’t be there and have him arrested.
I worried he’d go back to his hotel room, and someone would assume he’s trespassing.
I know my fears might sound strange, but they are real for many wives of color. The gnawing-unsettled-feeling-in-the-pit-of-your-stomach is a reality for mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles, sons and daughters of the minority culture.
We just don’t know if we’ll step out there and be given the benefit of the doubt that is automatically accorded to the majority white culture.
I believe in God, and so I know what to do with my fears: I call on Him and entrust my husband’s life in His (very able) hands.
A few people have reached out to me, asking what they can do in this season of racial reckoning.
If you desire to be an ally, dig deeper and understand why we are here: why the pain, anguish, and protests. Here are two resources that will help.
1. Read (affiliate link) Be The Bridge book
This powerful book by Latasha Morrison is a must read for everyone desiring to “bring the power of the gospel to the racial divide. ”
2. Watch 13th documentary
This groundbreaking documentary “explores the history of racial inequality in the United States.” It’s powerful. It’s available on Netflix in the States.
Being black in America became our experience nine years ago when we moved from Kenya to America. I am not an “expert”. I am not representing the black community.
We were not born here. We have not experienced generational wounds and trauma.
We’ve experienced bias and racism, but it’s NOTHING compared to someone born here, with roots that go back generations.
So I’ve taken the posture of a student so I can learn. And as I have, I realized we are all learning: Learning to have hard conversations and to grow. Learning it’s okay to lament and to grieve. Learning to forgive and heal. Learning to be a bridge.
If this Kenyan-American can learn and grow, there’s hope for many.
For the ally and friend who is feeling overwhelmed and wondering where to start, (and alongside picking up resources to educate yourself) remember.
“Stereotypes happen when we don’t have proximity with the people who are not like us.” Jimmy Rollins
To address bias in your own life, make friends with people who don’t look like you. It’s easy to think “them” vs. “us” until “them” becomes a friend. (Ps. sometimes you need more than one friend to get the broader picture but start where you are.)
I like friendships because there are things I’ve learned through friendship that I wouldn’t have otherwise discovered. Places I wouldn’t stretch. Conversations I wouldn’t have. Experience I wouldn’t see. Grace, I wouldn’t know.
We can and should do more than friendships. But we need to start somewhere.
Today I hope you
Read a book.
Watch a documentary.
Make a friend.
Pray for justice “justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream.” Amos 5:24
Pray for healing “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” Psalm 147:3
I will sign off by leaving you with these words by Bernice King, Martin Luther King’s daughter.
“What would I do without people who aren’t working for justice but who tweet about the responses to injustice they think my father would be against? “He’s turning in his grave,” some say. A grave dug by assassination because he was hated and feared due to his work for justice.”
“Imagine if the people calling for unity and mere civility would earnestly pursue justice and the eradication of racism. We could rid this nation and world of racism. Working together. In Unity. With strength. But “unity” won’t come by ignoring injustice or denying it exists.”Imagine if the people calling for unity and mere civility would earnestly pursue justice and the eradication of racism. We could rid this nation and world of racism. Working together.. @BerniceKing
“It is divisive to call for unity without working for justice. It is uncivilized to ask for civility while prospering from and perpetuating systemic racism. True peace, my father said, is not merely the absence of tension, it is the presence of justice.”