Not ignorance, but the ignorance of ignorance, is the death of knowledge.
I just finished reading The Help, which I am sure by the sheer amount of reviews and whatnot many if not most of you have already read or seen on screen. Amazon, so far, lists more than 5100 reviews for this first time novelist, most of them positive. I was curious who would plug in a rating of “one” and what they would say, but was afraid my worst fears would manifest itself with a plethora of “Hilly”s taking to the reviews while they were setting their hair and waiting for the good ol’ days to return.
Mostly, I just sort of sat sober when I was finished. One, that this history was incredibly recent. Two, that I was so clueless about it. And three, that I was so naive to be really stinkin’ annoyed by people who assumed that because I was white, I was racist. Well, I’m not. Racist, that is. But fool enough to be that clueless, I suppose so.
I spent half my growing up years in England growing up not only among Brits, but among other “Yanks” from all over the states (and thus cultural areas). I guess that afforded me the blinders. Even when I putzed in the states every so many years, I lived in places like California, where my first “very best friend in the world” was Jocelyn, who was black, and that didn’t turn a single head.
I remember only two events that nicked my blindspots while growing up. One, was an argument with a relative about how yes I would certainly marry a black man if that’s how it worked out. I don’t even remember why that conversation came up but I do remember being so angry! The second event was meeting one of my husband’s relatives, and how she narrowed her eyes asking all about the Greek in me (my mom is Greek) and how her neighbors were Greek and what *those Greek folks* were like. All I can say is that I still loved those women during those conversations. But sheesh.
The other book I recently read was this one:
…and I tweeted how that book was about the best book I have ever read. I feel like the Lord just grew me up as not only a Christian woman, but as a white woman who needed to know about the kind of history I am hoping to be living at the tail end of. And yet, I am not naive about even that anymore.
Where I live, people are white (and I’m not just saying that because the sun doesn’t shine here enough to tan). The fact is, once you cross over the mountains to the east and head into valleys where all of our major farmlands are, most of the farmhands you see are…Hispanic. They pick the fruit, they clean the houses, the raise the children…of white people. I see it more now.
I guess I just pray. Because only God can change hearts and I think it somehow begins with hearts that already love the Lord. I pray for courage, for the devil’s grip on our nation to loosen, to see somehow in my lifetime on earth a taste of that grand banquet to come, where God is glorified not only by our marvelous differences but for our love and fellowship for one another and for the similarity of being in Christ. I guess if that makes me a foolish white woman, then that’s where I am right now.
May God grant me the courage to keep my eyes and heart open.