Hanging onto Hope

November 13th, 2012

Pick kids up from school- Check.
Race over to health shop to get lemons, chia seeds, random health stuff and an afterschool on-the-run snack. Check.
Hot-foot it to another school a few kilometers away, wander about an empty school trying to find the gym to sign up for a sport program that was in fact not starting till the following week.
Check.

It really could have been this simple. Race about needlessly, go home, do homework. But it became more.
The afternoon became a lesson in hatred, fear, small mindedness, racism, slavery, and a lesson in lynching. It wasn’t my plan, but somebody else forced this lesson upon us while we wandered around an empty school eating our veggie chips.

I saw the hate signs first. Hard to miss Obama’s face printed and blown up into posters. I didn’t bother reading the words, knew where it was heading in a glimpse. Didn’t see the point in giving it too much attention. No- it were the empty chairs hanging from trees that really made me stop, gasp and freeze in disbelief.

I guess I’m somewhat of a naive Aussie. I’d seen the movies, “Mississippi Burning” and such- I’d read historical facts about American slavery. Didn’t know much, but enough to know racist comments can still be tossed about without much thought. Yes, I certainly am privilege because I’m white, but more so because I don’t ever mix with such haters.

Well the whole chair-hanging-in-tree part was lost on my kids. So I gave a quick history lesson and filled them in on Clint Eastwood’s interpretation of Obama as much as I, or anyone else could. I went on about the ills of hatred and outrageous acts of crime. Ironically, over talking becomes my fallback when I don’t have words. We remained still as we stared in disbelief at this hater’s front yard. My kid’s baffled faces only proved to me that my explanations really did have no explanation. And that all I could really do, was to hang on to hope.

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  1. Joan Cook says:

    Meg, you shared your shock like a cold shower-so well done.  I think that there is great hope for us all when we and many others are shocked to silence at the sight of hate.  I have to remember that fear is the prime mover behind the hatred so that I don’t return hate for hatred.  We have made phenominal progress in my 68 years and our grandchildren will make even more.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Great reminder Joan- thanks!!!

  3. Margaret says:

    How horrendous! I am reminded of a saying of Martin Luther King, ‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.
    Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. I think I will post this on my facebook page Thanks for writing so powerfully
     

  4. Victor says:

    This is fear manifested.  Racism is the fear of the “other”.  The chair represents the fear of change in our society.  Let’s not be dictated by fear.  

    Remember:  To live with courage is to live with love.  To live with love is to live with courage. 

  5. Becky Somsel says:

    Meg, I cannot tell you how sick I felt when I read this.  I had just gotten home from a meeting where a similar (though not as graphic) show of hatred had been discussed. Between the two situations I feel like we live in a world where hatred will never find its way to peace. I appreciate your taking the time (and energy!) to talk with your kids about the many layers required to explain all of this. They may not have understood the magnitude of the issue via words, but I’m sure they felt your intensity about the situation. I love reading your articles and look forward to them….I just never felt I’d be reading this one. Thank you for sharing and helping us all realize just how much work there is yet to do!

  6. Lisa Hertz says:

    Thank you for sharing this.  Well said, I too struggle with how to explain these types of things to Ethan.

  7. John says:

    Thanks for the articulate, honest, humane description of your experience crossing paths with the fear-filled hate that fuels racism.

  8. Tim says:

    Meg, and everyone who posted here, I would like to ask that you join me in the spirit of this blessing…Being united by eternal and everlasting divine spirit, the only True power there is, let us bless the power in this creation of hate and discord with the True loving, liberating and compassionate power of  divine energy within us. Thanks so much.  And may we all be greatly moved today by the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, that Margaret (above) shared  to bless our hearts: (TY Margaret)Martin Luther King, ‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

  9. Vine says:

    Hanging onto hope is what we all must do. The separation of self where one individual doesn’t see themselves as part of their brother or sister can be hard to witness. Trying to explain to an innocent child why someone feels to much hatred to their fellow being is difficult. Thank you for sharing. 

  10. april says:

    I appreciate the fact that you even stopped and took the time to even try to explain to your children the history and horror ofnour past. Your blog gives me even more hope for my chikdren to grow up in a world where they won’t be discriminatedvagainst just because of their color. It shows that people care & history will be a lesson that we cannot forget.

  11. Jan says:

    How wise you were to talk to your children about what they’d seen.  I think I would have been shocked to silence.  Thanks for this lovely post.

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