A few days ago I met a Divine Reflection, in a White, native Texan man, experiencing 77 years of age. One of the most divine reflections I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in 2020. The beautiful part is, before all of those labels, he is a human being - and that’s where our story begins. On the cornerstone of humanity.
Being a Black-Mixed woman I have had my fair share of racist encounters. Just a few weeks ago a pick-up truck full of college-aged kids were screaming, “TRUUUMMMPPPP” out of their open windows and sticking their middle fingers up at me. It was a spectacle to say the least. Instances like that, and countless other scenarios in my life have led me to a point of not fully trusting white people. And wouldn’t ya know…I’m half white. So what a conundrum I find myself in quite frequently.
And so, as Dazey and I finished out our rising walk, I noticed an elderly white man standing in front of the steps. I had seen him before, zooming around with his hunched back and quiet demeanor, but we had never spoken. As I approached him I felt my prejudice kicking in. I assumed he was racist, I assumed he didn’t like me, and I assumed he would look at me in disgust as I walked by him to ascend the stairs which led to my apartment.
I pigeon-holed this man so quickly, without a second thought. As I approached him, I started to do the typical look at my entire surroundings as to pretend not to notice him, and then he said 8 words that would change the course of my entire day.
“Hi! Sorry I don’t have my mask on.”
And it was that opening line which led to a 30 minute conversation about travel, politics, education, racism, loving-kindess, and the human condition. What Ron told me about his life and experiences could probably fill a novel, but this story isn’t so much about Ron as a man. More so, it’s about how he served as a direct mirror to my ignorance.
You see, at his core being Ron isn’t racist, as I truly felt that through his spirit. Ron is also a Trump supporter, like so many Texans are, and I couldn’t fault him for his reasonings and ultimate decisions. Really, it’s none of my business. But he reminded me of the other people that I’ve known on this journey of life, where we have differing opinions, and can still find a common ground in loving-kindess.
Of course, this does not excuse the racists who harassed me a few weeks ago, or the ones trolling social media spewing their hate. They are a whole different breed. And I send love to those people. Those poor souls that have been so brainwashed, hurt, and abused in their lives they feel they have but no choice to add to the conversation in a traumatic tone.
This wasn’t Ron. As we talked about his time of living in Puerto Rico, and various islands in the Caribbean, he had such delight on his face when recalling how nice and welcoming the people of the islands were to him. A white man, inhabiting their land. And then he’d come back to the States and feel the energy shift of deeply ingrained racism. Of course there is racism on the islands; colorism, prejudice, etc. lives everywhere.
“Don’t people know the civil war ended nearly 200 years ago? How is there still racism? When are we ever going to see human beings as just that…human beings?” Is the question Ron begged. I responded with, perhaps that ’s just the human condition. Maybe we need oppression to be the catalyst of transcendence. But what do I know? I’m just a spiritual being having a human experience, who knows but one thing. That I know nothing at all.
Ron, you knocked me off of my feet, and out of my comfort zone. I used to look at you as the “other”, and now when I see you all I can see is myself. The ultimate example of what can happen when we drop our judgements, and ignite the eternal flame that alchemizes shadows into brilliance. At the end of the day, for this world to be in balance, we must all be in balance. Balance lives within the realms of compassion, overstanding, tolerance, and radical self-love. And it all starts with one, Karunā & Ron, conversation at a time.