My friend from across the river presented me with a problem that on some level we’ve all been faced with. She lives in a somewhat congested area, where one’s neighbor’s house is right on top of the next person’s. In other words, everyone knows what everyone else is up to. My friend knows that I’ve been reading incessantly about race, racism and equity, so this particular problem seemed like something that I’d have an immediate reaction to it. Her next door neighbor recently hung a confederate flag across his front door for all the world to see. Now , of course, he legally has a right to do so,but a few thing jumped out at me. First of all, it is a reasonable assumption that the guys is an enthusiastic racist. Second, he probably hates Jews(my friend is Jewish) as well. Thirdly, he has no sense of the horror and pain that the image of the confederate flag causes when displayed in public. In other words, this is an individual that has racist views that are more important to him then any pain he might be inflicting elsewhere.
My friend’s question was simply “what to do, here?”. This was my response. Of utmost important is to be safe. People like my friend’s neighbor could be volatile. In fact, she has evidence that this is the case based on his reactions to other goings on in the neighborhood in the past. Having said that, there’s also the important fact that we can not remain silent when faced with such blatant symbols of racism. We can’t. Another important factor, my friend will never convince this person to think otherwise. Ok. Putting all that together, it is my opinion that she, my friend could tell this guy how his display of the confederate flag makes her feel and that she’d be open to talk to him about it, if the conversation could remain civil. Otherwise, there’s her opinion-take it or leave it.
There’s bravery in speaking up. And sometimes, the circumstances that require one to speak out will surprise you. This is, of course is just one of many confrontations with racism that we are met with. If you’re a POC, the rate of that confrontation is unquestionably that much higher. Work situations, family gatherings etc. all are places of challenge.
Write me back and let me know what you’d do. These small situations can become building blocks to bigger solutions. I’ll publish some of your ideas the following week.
In other news, next week, we’ll be auctioning off the first bunch of carrots of the season. As I’ve said before, we are very very proud of our successful early carrot campaign. These carrots are literally crawling with sweet flavor and crunchy texture. Guaranteed to make you leap in the air with delight. Guaranteed. The proceeds of the raffle will go again to Unitad Latina de Accion from New Haven. This mighty organization is trying to help the undocumented in CT enjoy the same benefits as our other citizens. So, that’s next week.
Lastly, recovery is the word for me. Its going to take a while, but everything is going in the right direction. Thank you for your well wishes.