by Lena Arnold
Last night I had a dream.
It was nothing like Martin Luther King’s Dream. Mine was more rooted in today’s current reality. See because last night I dreamed I was white. In this dream my family and I drove to the park via a rural township and we weren’t almost run off the road because the person driving in the truck with the giant tires and confederate flag noticed brown arms in the window.
In my dream I walked through life never being called a nigger. My children were never called spic, wetback, or sand nigger because people couldn’t figure out their nationality so they just called them whatever they thought they were.
We were never told to “Go back to Africa, or Puerto Rico” or debated against when we tried to say “We’ve never been to Africa and we aren’t from Puerto Rico, but even if we were, why should it matter since your ancestors came here from someplace else and Puerto Rico is a US Colony.” But in my dream I never had to argue against stupidity.
In my dream I never had to explain to my Darwinist believing friends that Darwinism by its very nature of being an “ism” is divisive and more importantly it is a pillar of racism because it supports the erroneous notion that man evolves to a higher order of man and at the top of this evolutionist food chain is the white male. In my dream I was okay with that because I was now the one living at the top of this chain and as such I never had to:
- Fear being lost in a rural area and not breathing a sigh of relief until I saw at least one living face who looked like mine…
- Worry that in the blink of an eye my world could be turned upside down by one person saying, “I just saw a black guy with a gun…”
- Live with the constant uneasiness of sending my sons off to college wondering if they will make it back home alive…
- Struggle with the automatic anxiety that kicks in whenever a police car is behind me, wondering if I will be pulled over, and if I am, will this be the time…
- Panic and run when a police officer says “Stop” because the fight or flight mechanism has been encoded into my DNA from slavery, the Jim Crow era, and institutional racism…
- Be apprehensive about taking the medicine my white physician has just prescribed because of the routine practice of experimenting on my ancestors both recent and long ago…
- Watch the news BOLO bulletins and say, “please don’t be black, please don’t be black.”
- Wonder why the KKK is not labeled a terrorist organization and allowed to exist on American soil.
This dream was so liberating because in it I never had to check a box asking my race or ethnicity and when I did I could check white and I always got called in for the interview and even if I didn’t get the job I never had to wonder if it was because I was black. My family could go on vacation and not be stared at like Zoo animals, with people thinking in their heads “An intact black family! OMG They do exist!”
In my dream OJ was guilty! Emphatically and automatically! G-U-I-L-T-Y!
This was not Martin’s dream and in it I did not care if little white boys and girls could play with little black boys and girls could play together. The mountaintop was all mine and I did not have to care whether or not other people made it up there with me. I could say and believe that in America anyone could make it if they just “pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps,” and I didn’t have to care whether or not they even actually had boots.
I had the luxury of saying things like,
“Most people are not racist and I’m tired of hearing about it!”
“All lives matter!”
“What are these people angry about? That cop was afraid for his life even if the guy was running away, his back turned, and he had no weapon.”
“Well, black people kill more of each other than cops do.”
“I’m not racist. I didn’t own a slave. Why are you looking at me like it’s my fault?”
“My (one) black friend agrees with me and they said…”
Oh to be able to ignore institutionalized racism and all its myriad complexities! (Contented Sigh!)
In my dream I could go anywhere and breathe free. Walk where I wanted without fear of reprisal. I could dream big! No matter how mediocre or evil I was I could be PRESIDENT!
Then I woke up!
Then I cried!
Then I rejoiced!
I rejoiced because God reminded me that I am not an accident. My family and I are fearfully and wonderfully made in His image despite what some small minds think. I was reminded that I am a member of a CHOSEN GENERATION, A ROYAL PRIESTHOOD, and A HOLY NATION.
God reminded me that evil does not escape His eye and He will punish evil and reward righteousness. In the end, the only question that really remains is whether or not the non-oppressed parties will remain silent, or will they stand up for righteousness and fulfill Martin’s dream, for despite my dream, his really is the one ordained by God.