Like Me…

“…Dark like me – That is my dream!” – Langston Hughes

When I was eight or ten years old, my mother gave me a book to read called “Black Like Me” by John Howard Griffin.  The premise of the story was about a white man who took medication to darken his skin.  Mr. Griffin then spent six weeks in New Orleans’ French Quarter in the early 1960’s.

Why would someone who wasn’t want to be black, especially a black man in the Deep South before Jim Crow laws were abolished?

It seems that someone must be insanely crazy to want to do that, but Mr. Griffin wanted to know first-hand.  He didn’t want a buffer of interviews or observations, but direct experience.  The authentic and genuine experience gave him such powerful insight that people took notice, especially white people.

All I remember from reading the book was that I was real sad.  In fact, very sad. It seemed that the world was against him.  He only had a few acquaintances to support him during the experiment.  Mr. Griffin was truly alone in the world, a very hostile world.

So, doesn’t the fact Rachel Dolezal’s parents decided to call her out last Thursday seem a bit bizarre?

Because Rachel was Spokane’s NAACP President and is apparently a white female.  Rachel closely identifies herself as African-American and has done an effective job as an advocate.  Effective enough to be elected the Chapter President of the NAACP.

So what is the real problem?  Because all I see from my view is a brave person willing to lead and serve the African-American people.

Are her parents concerned for her safety?

I haven’t heard that concern coming from her parents even though Rachel has been receiving hate mail for a while.  They want to just make a point that she is deceiving people, but is she really?  It seems that no one really minds her NAACP affiliation but them.

It is must be a family issue as it was stated by a few other people involved in the situation.  But why involve us in the drama?

It seems lately, we have been dealing with a lot of public family drama from the Duggars and Kardashians.  So, I’m a bit overwhelmed, disappointed and frustrated.

But, maybe that is the point.

Between the Duggars and the Kardashians, even if I don’t understand their decisions. I’m learning along the way with them.  Nothing is as bad as feeling as if the whole world is against my brother, sister, children or parents.

It makes me ponder, am I as supportive of my family as I need to be?  Can I crawl in their skin for a moment and know how they see and feel the world?  Am I ready for the pain or joy that they are feeling?

Can I be like them?

As much as we want them to be, families are not perfect.  They’re complex entities that can either breaks or blessing us in any waking moment.  I’m challenged to make those moments mean something.

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