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  • Writer's pictureRebecca Rivera-Pompey

State of Affairs

In the matter of the current state of affairs in the United States of America; I am confused, I am hurt and I am unsure where some people are coming from with their opinions. I grew up as a “dark” Puerto Rican with native blood and people always commented on my skin tone,

color, and shade. Luckily, I had a family who admired my bronze and brown and friends who would call me their “Nubian Princess”. I remember being in the 4th grade and enjoying summer days at my neighbor Sonya’s pool. One day, I came home from being out in the sun all day and my older brother who is half white called me blacky. That night I tried to scrub the darkness off of me in the shower. I told my mom. My mother and Abuelita explained how beautiful my color was and that being brown was native and authentic. It was also that same summer my little brother and I got the chickenpox… go figure. I would cry because the calamine lotion didn’t rub into my skin and I was painted white but my little brother, being lighter than me, didn’t have that problem. This was before the clear stuff came out. The message I am getting at, is that before I was even out of elementary school I knew I was different. As dysfunctional as my family was, they were always loving and supportive for who I was and what I looked like. My father loved me unconditionally and my mother would rub my hair and skin to let me know it was beautiful. Some may say my Fight Story of addiction and domestic violence was an unfortunate one but I consider myself lucky and grateful because as crazy as that house was, my parents still found it important to instill strength within us kids. I never let race or color affect me. I still notice if i’m the “only one” and I still get weird questions about my race but I am fine with that. What I don’t understand and why I am so confused, is why can’t people see the hurt, pain and scars they are creating within our world today.

When you are a person who loves so much and wants nothing but good for all mankind it kills you to see the basic concept of treating people GOOD in question. When was humanity a side? Unfortunately, after observing friends on social media and speaking with some, I found that they only spoke from experience and carried that experience into every racial encounter. These people will continue to carry these experiences into every racial situation, pre judging and already drawing the narrative in their head. It’s like going into a new relationship with the baggage from your last ex. The layers are deep… far deeper than you can ever comprehend and in every direction like roots of a 100 year old oak tree. Until you walk in their shoes you will never understand, and that goes for everyone and every walk of life. I don’t expect you to understand how I feel guilty because of the fact that I can’t stand up tall, loud, and proud with a strong opinion due to the fact of how people are treating one another is tremendously and negatively overwhelming to me. Observing the loss of life, infliction of injury and life scars being brought on by one another is too heartbreaking for me to even swallow. Call me spineless for not being clear with a statement but as I write this tears are falling down my face because when you stand for LOVE, your world is trembling in sorrow right now. Nothing is clear to me. It almost takes me back to seeing my parents fight as a teenager. Old enough to know it's wrong and young enough to still feel helpless but you love them both so much.

So no matter where you stand or what walk of life you come from, come with intention and an open heart. Don’t just repost something on social media because you want to throw jabs or give some shallow soap box speech on “Why you are not racist”. If you are confused and in pain it's ok. Take time, think and digest before you speak. You have the right to unload how you feel but ask yourself - 5 years from now are you going to regret what you said today? Like LM says, are you being hurtful or helpful? There’s a special pill I swallow every now and again, it’s a dose of self awareness with a hint of respect. I can not tell you how to dictate your actions, I can’t control where your heart lands with all of this, but what I can say is if you lead with humility and love in your heart, chances are your message will be heard more often than not. Therefore, I leave you with this, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

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