I drove my mom to physical therapy yesteday. While I waited for her, a man walked in with his daughter.
He gave her his phone before heading into his session. She sat down next to me while she waited for him.
She was carrying a doll. I asked, “What is your doll’s name?”
She said, “Aliyah. And my name is Zariah.”
“What beautiful names,” I said.
She asked, “Are you in charge of me?”
“No,” I said, “I am just here waiting for my mom.”
I pulled out some heart magnets that I carry in my pocket and asked if she would like one.
She said she would.
She said her favorite color was pink, so I found her a pink one.
A minute later she said, “I don’t know if I should accept this. I’m not supposed to take things from strangers.”
I said, “That’s okay. You can leave it for someone else if you decide not to take it.”
She decided to keep it and stuck it on the back of her dad’s phone.
Another minute later she said, “I’m not supposed to talk to white people. Are you white?”
I didn’t know how to respond. It caught me off-guard. I almost didn’t want to admit that I was white, but I said, “Yes, I am white.”
She expanded her eyes and gave an uh-oh-I’m-breaking-the-rules-and-talking-with-the-enemy look.
She looked down and started playing with the phone.
A physical therapist walked over and sat at the desk in front of us.
Zariah looked at me and said, “Is she white?”
I said, “Yes.”
She made the uh-oh face again.
I didn’t want to totally disrupt her world and tell her that her doll was also white.
Instead I said, “I like to think that we all have something nice to offer no matter what color our skin may be.”
That seemed to help her relax.
We started talking about school, her grade, her favorite subject, she spelled her name for me many times. It was very sweet.
Eventually my mom came out. I introduced her to Zariah and then we were on our way.
As I thought about the exchange more throughout the day, I wished that I had said to Zariah, “Please tell your dad that he is a wonderful father.”
I don’t agree with making any race out to be an enemy, but I understand why he feels a need to do that.
For him, based on his experience, that rule will keep his daughter “safe.”
When she asked me if I was white, I felt shamed. I felt like I was doing something wrong by just being in a white body.
One thing that I have learned in my life experience is that people make you feel the way they feel.
I imagine that Zariah’s dad has been made to feel shame for the color of his skin, and that makes me sad.
No one deserves to feel that way.
I pray that Zariah is never made to feel that way.
I don’t know how to solve these issues of division, but I do know that sweet exchanges like the one I had with Zariah are important.
These seemingly little moments add up and make a difference.
They inspire love, peace, and understanding, and they will help us slowly-but-surely create a unified world. 💚🌎💙
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If you read this entire blog, thank you.
I hope you know that you are a beautiful soul and you are making a difference in the world just by being you.
Keep shining your love in whatever ways you can.
May you always value yourself and your unique presence.
May you be gentle and patient with yourself and others.
And may you always feel the LOVE that surrounds you. ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜
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