My best friend… is not Black

By Pat Dolin (Used by permission of author)

Racism was the breast milk and maybe it was not lactose but bigotry that made me sick Teased because I didn’t understand. I lived in the north or west so didn’t see how ‘they’ were. I never could learn, it never made sense, but my family of Origin kept trying to insist

A history of shame , a life of privilege But wait, my best friend —- is Not Black

Let me keep learning my privilege, add my voice to the resistance for I am one with the world.

And I stood before you a new member of the NAACP and waited for directions, to learn and to see. How I can walk beside you and be helpful and free

But wait, my best friend … Not Black

Do I say I am with you when I’ve never known what it’s like being afraid because of the color of my skin?

Is it more privilege that I stand up and speak of the pain of my struggles of family love/hate and shame?
Making it about me in my white privileged skin and having thought the excuse of, ” I’ve known prejudice being a woman and fat” and using my privilege to extract – extract what and from whom—I’m sorry, I can’t.

If I could remove this DNA surgically and heal and be whole.
But around me while I’m healing, while I’m learning,
The bodies continue to fall. Black bodies, brown bodies, unloved, unwanted, feared and hated. Blamed for making others with pale skin feel the shame, burn with the guilt and be reminded of the DNA of a withered, sickly soul.

My white sisters and brothers, don’t you feel the disease? It was your breast milk also. We got the milk of not kindness but hate and fear and this land of milk and honey turned rancid, and the sweetness of the honey provided a pseudo sweetness to mask the bitterness of raping, degrading, hanging, beating and killing black bodies- gentle souls full of life, full of God, full of love.

But wait, my best friend… not Black

Step outside, outside the door, outside the body, alone with our damaged, burned, shriveled souls. See the souls of others and together nurture, heal, love, caress, feed
How similar the wounds are, deep reminders of the souls’ desire to thrive, and the soul becomes light, unbroken, essence, God’s image in us always.

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