Last year, I stood on a vacant construction site on the other side of town and listened to a young black man cry out in fear, anger and sadness. The things he said and his body language spoke volumes about his existence. He told me that the very pigmentation of his skin made him a suspect. Or worse, a criminal. He told me how his future, despite his education and privilege and ambition and charm, was diminished. He told of a well-meaning white community, literally bulldozing through his neighborhood in the name of helping him and others of his same skin tone. He cried out over the loss of so many opportunities, usurped by those well-meaning folk from across town. He spoke of the little boys who were in jail, nothing to do but get in trouble.
I couldn’t comprehend then and I struggle to now the things he revealed. But I see their manifestations daily. I see hate through inaction. I see fear through misunderstanding, unknowing and assumption. I watch busy lives, too bothered to connect. I witness greed, insensitivity and shrill political showmanship.
Why? Why do we act this way? Why don’t we stop repeating the mistakes? Why do we behave as though we’re not the same? Why can’t we listen? Why can’t we be generous of our time, money, efforts, love? Why do we kill each other?