The Real KC was started to promote discussion and build a community. We don’t know how we can do either without addressing real events, real issues, and encouraging real discussion in a respectful and thoughtful way. That has always been our goal and recent events are worthy of such discussion, albeit many are at a loss for words or don’t know how to even begin to address the violence that has broken so many hearts this past week. Mackenzie Smith offers her thoughts on these events below and shares her hopes for a brighter – and more peaceful – future.
With Much Sorrow I Write..
I try to avoid controversial topics as much as I possibly can. There are various reasons for this. One reason is that most often, tensions are high and people speak before thinking. Rather than formulate a solid and respectful opinion, people say the first things that come to mind. Unfortunately, this results in a back and forth battle of hurt feelings. Another reason I shy away from these topics is because while we would like to think honesty is the best policy, some people can not accept the honest truth and are very easily offended.
With that being said I feel that I have to address a few things about the happenings of the last few days. It is important to let others know where you stand when issues like this arise. I have been asked by several people to shed light on my thoughts regarding Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and the Dallas police officers.
My first thought or reaction really is heartbreak. I can not fathom losing my father, brother, uncle, cousin, husband, boyfriend or friend to a bullet. All of those men will not be returning home to their families simply because their lives were taken by another human being. It's a shame that life has been devalued.
My second reaction is fear. Not the debilitating kind. Not the instinctual kind. This is a more worrisome fear and it blankets some of my close friends and loved ones.
One of my very best friends in this world is a police officer. She also happens to be black. Every day she goes to work not knowing who or what the day will bring and every day she risks not coming home. Over the course of the last year we have discussed the same topic. It started with Mike Brown of Ferguson, Missouri and our most recent conversation was that of Alton Sterling. She will be the first to tell you that there have been incidents where she considered pulling her gun and that some days are worse than others. She will also speak out when there is a blatant disregard for human life by officers or people in general. Unfortunately, with every victim the risk and resistance rises and the trust in police men and women diminish. I admire her to no end and appreciate her and her colleagues.
Throughout my life, I have never seen color. Thankfully every school that I attended was diverse. I formed opinions of my peers based on how they treated me. I was never told I was better than any other person, I was never told I couldn't befriend someone, and I was never told who I could and couldn't date. The older I get, the more I realize that is not always the case. Racism wasn't even really a thought in my mind until later in life.
Yes, I will admit that makes me sound privileged. Yes, I will admit that I AM privileged. But I will also tell you that my black friends and boyfriends were always welcome with open arms in our home and vice versa. Some of the people the media would deem 'thugs' are the most kind and genuine people that I know. You just have to take the time to get to know them. My parents instilled in me love and compassion for others. They showed me that respect and kindness will always prevail. And while it seems silly, most days I feel grateful that I was raised not to carry hate in my heart.
I realize that I have an advantage because I am white. I realize that not everyone has had the same wonderful experiences with other races that I have. I realize that there is a lot wrong with this world. I acknowledge the unjust that is still very prevalent in our society. I am fully aware that while I will likely never experience it, some people fear their lives will be taken during a routine traffic stop.
But please understand that hate only fuels more hate. Violence only produces more violence. Murdering innocent people, who happen to be police officers, is getting us no where. Real and raw emotions should be felt during times like these. That is when change is on the horizon.
While it saddens me to admit, I can't say that I am surprised at the events that took place in Dallas. For centuries white groups have oppressed, provoked and tried to eliminate the black community. Sooner or later, enough is enough. But the sad truth is, resorting to violence will only solidify what the smug and ignorant believe. Don't give them that satisfaction.
The last issue that I would like to address is one that may not be well received. I am a white woman. I have dated exclusively black men. This is not because I have 'jungle fever' or because 'it's cool'. In fact, those statements disgust me to my core. I date black men because that is who I am attracted to. If you know me personally, you know that I love the black culture immensely. Again, not because it's the 'cool' thing to do but because I truly enjoy the music artists like Erykah Badu and Dr. Dre record. I also enjoy reading material that means something and tries to make a difference. A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J Gaines is a favorite of mine. Sadly, the basis of that novel is still very relevant in present day. If you haven't read it, now might be a good time to gain some perspective.
Interracial relationships are a common occurrence these days. And yet, I am still often berated or judged for my choice in companion. Over the years, the rebukes have come from all races and all age groups. But most recently, I have seen a lot derogatory statements being thrown around. The most hurtful that I've seen is "You want your cute little mixed kids but don't genuinely support the plight of the black man."
While most things are easy to let slide off my back, I take great offense when it comes to this. My goal in life is not to have 'cute little mixed kids'. My goal in life is to find a man that I love and respect and hopefully build a family with him. It just so happens that I envision this with a black man. Luckily for me, I am surrounded with people that understand and support this. I will always stand up for what is right and support those who do the same whether you are white, black, Latino, Asian, rich, poor, Catholic, Christian, atheist, or whoever you may be. Placing me in a "jungle fever" category is not only offensive but it is hypocritical.
Reading this may or may not change your views and that's okay. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. But before you carry on with your day, I ask that you consider other people and their feelings. Envision getting the phone call that a loved one has been murdered. Allow yourself to feel the pain and anguish of those families. Walk a mile in someone else's shoes.
It saddens me that I even have to write a post like this. Stop categorizing people. Stop criticizing and shaming others. Educate yourself. Stand for love and acceptance. Stand for the human race.