The Race Dialogue in America

I usually don’t speak up when it comes to divisive politics and social issues these days – especially when it comes to race, since I’m a privileged white girl and no one would listen to me anyway (har har.)

But in regards to the firestorm surrounding the unthinkable slaying of Trayvon Martin, I only have one thing to remind people amidst some of the oversimplified commentary I’ve read lately: racism is NOT a uniquely American problem, nor is it a uniquely white problem. Genocide, ethnic/racial/religious cleansing, and hate crimes have been perpetuated all over the world for thousands of years, by people of every color, against people of every color – to include (gasp) white Christian males. I don’t think I need to list examples here because – if you’ve ever picked up a history book – we all know it’s true.

Maybe it’s just the patriot in me getting defensive when I hear racism defined as an “American cancer.” I may not have travelled the world or studied every statistic, but I have been around and met enough very different kinds of people to know that prejudice hides in every corner, including in countries that are supposedly more liberal and progressive than our own (I do speak from experience there – it was surprising.)

Racism is an ugly thing, and maybe one day humanity will finally overcome it, so that tragedies like Trayvon Martin will never happen again. However, I strongly feel that for a country of over 300 million people to manage, America is still the most diverse and least segregated countries in the world. I wish the media wouldn’t pin this on the U.S. so exclusively, and recognize racism as the human problem that it really is.

Valentine’s Day Rant

1. Why does Valentine’s Day have so many haters? It just makes you look insecure if you’re being a Scrooge about celebrating love, however you define it – romantic or otherwise.

2. Yes, of course we should demonstrate love every day of the year. But, we should be thankful and count our blessings every day of the year too, and no one seems to have a problem with a nice little holiday we call Thanksgiving.

3. Amusing irony: do people know that St. Valentine actually had nothing to do with romantic love, but was a martyr for the Christian church? Connections to love had to be manufactured over the course of history. Read up on the history of Valentine’s Day here.

4. Any excuse to eat excessive amounts of aesthetically pleasing chocolate sounds good to me, even if I have to buy it myself.

5. “There are these three things that endure: Faith, Hope and Love, but the greatest of these is Love.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:13. I think that deserves a holiday!

Anyway, I’m not one of those people who stands up for Valentine’s Day because of I’ve always been that lucky to girl to have a date. In fact, My first 23 V-Days were spent single. My first Valentine’s Day with Chuck was alone too – he was deployed – but you didn’t see me moping around or making people feel bad for celebrating the love in their lives. I went out with a girl friend that I love, instead. We had a great time reveling in the joy of each other’s friendship.

This Valentine’s Day, we should all take a minute to realize how lucky we are if we can claim anyone in the world who loves us, and love them hard in return. There are a lot of people in the world who don’t receive love at all, any day of the year, and that is the true tragedy – not your relationship status.

As for me, tonight I am having my first real Valentine’s date with my hubby at a lovely riverside restaurant in Wilmington, and I’ll have some chocolate-covered strawberries ready for an extra treat at home. If nothing else, Vday is a nice excuse to get a little decadent, and I for one am looking forward to it, so please don’t rain on my parade 🙂