We gathered in the park – people of so many different faiths, so many different ages, so many different skin colors. We came to gather and to pray and to say collectively this isn’t okay. It shouldn’t be like this. One of our own should still be here today, one of our brothers shouldn’t be gone. A mentally ill person shouldn’t be backed into a corner with guns drawn; a 5150 call shouldn’t be responded to by officers on the offensive. Alfred’s life matters.
And then we then marched. I didn’t feel unsafe, I didn’t feel uncomfortable – I felt a bit unsettled. It was peaceful, it was legal – but I didn’t really plan on it, if I’m being honest. I didn’t really expect it. I didn’t wake up that morning thinking I’d be walking in the streets, stopping traffic, waving signs with Alfred’s picture. We were walking by the El Cajon police station – 300 or so strong – and I looked up at the officers staring down at us from their second floor parking garage. We were chanting (“What do we want?”) JUSTICE (“When do we want it?”) NOW and I have to admit it felt a little eerie, staring up at the officers. I wanted to yell “This isn’t against you. We aren’t against you.”
We’re against injustice. I think everyone should be. Read More
This is very unedited and very raw. Sorry for any unprocessed ramblings, but I’m not processed right now. I’m grieving.
I get it.
I get it. I get that you may have grown up in a bubble, that all of your interactions with police officers were safe, friendly, lawful. Maybe your experience with minorities is limited (no, having “one black friend” does not count). Maybe your racism has gone long unchecked, because it was simply an unknown byproduct of your upbringing. Maybe your privilege has gone long unnoticed, because you’ve been lucky enough for no one to pop that bubble just yet. I get that you might not understand.
I get it. I get this is a scary reality to accept, I get that reasoning it away seems much safer. Hiding behind arguing over facts, debating the the unknowns, making it into a political statement – that is a whole lot less uncomfortable for you. Empathy involves pain. Empathy involves feeling. Maybe the names are too hard for you to read, the faces are too hard for you to see. Maybe the videos of crying children, grieving parents, lost widows is to much for you. Like not making eye contact with that homeless person on the corner, it’s easier to drive on through this. I get that you might try to reason it all away. Read More
Just about a year ago – halfway through my time in Malawi – I was driving to Chinsapo with a group of our volunteer mentors, the only non-Malawian in our big van. My presence in the back seat was noticed by every passerby, and “azungu!!” was called out countless times. It was always strange to me to be instantly viewed differently than my Malawian friends; it bothered me more than I realized.
I’m not sure what to do with white privilege. I’m not sure what the answers are. But I think honestly sharing our experiences is a place to start…
I am white.
Back home, I’m considered ‘olive skinned’ on a spectrum from sunkissed to fake tanned. But here? I might as well be pale as snow for how much I stand out. If my skin doesn’t already glow bright enough, my hair instantly gives me away.
I am not from here; this place is not my home.
I am white.
In town I’m seen as having endless money and endless answers; in the village I’m viewed as a celebrity from a faraway land.
Yet I am none of these. I am just Krysti – don’t they know? Do they care to know? I have never before been pre-judged simply by the color of my skin.
Is this a curse? Read More