David T Roth
I was walking through Centennial Park in Nashville, TN. I looked up to see a young Father holding his daughter of 3 or 4 facing him. It was obvious that they were interacting in a way that only parent and child can. Where the world around them disappears and they are caught gestalt of the moment.
The father was of dark skin and had dark curly hair. The daughter was of light skin and had light hair and I was humiliated. For I also saw a black man holding a young white female child.
We all are prejudice. Whether it is the color of a persons skin. Of the person one chooses to spend a close intimate life with. Of the way one chooses to worship a god or not. The way person is dressed. Whether a person is male or female, skinny or fat, or simply different. We are all caught up in being human. In our upbringing and our experiences.
It is not easy. With the spectrum of voices in the world wrong or right. With the pressures of our life, whether it is loosing a job, loosing a friend, or loosing a child, we tend to focus our attention on those voices that speak to a solution or point of view and pull us to one side or the other. What is hard is to be able to see when you are being influenced by prejudice and be able to suppress it long enough to see with a clear mind and observe the view of the other side or the individual standing in front of you.
We have seen the election of the first Black President of the United States and I dare to say the opposition of that President by the under current of racism in America. We have come along way in eliminating racism and segregation in America but it is still only a beginning. As with same sex marriage, abortion, illegal immigrants, or the disparity of income between the rich and the middle and lower classes we must continue reveal the prejudices in our nation and our selves. To be able to understand and accept the differences between us and learn to balance them against each other.
In the end I am human and imperfect. I have my prejudices and I hope that I will become aware of them and eliminate or reverse them before I offend those I blindly revel them to. I was humiliated because just the thought of the racism contained in the phrase “ a black man holding a young white female child” some how diminished the relationship between that father and child.
I could not recognize the parent or child I saw that day. I choose to focus with fondness on the image of the Father holding his Daughter.