I grew up as a white military BRAT, the minority in countries around the world.
My parents were never the ugly Americans.
Any division in the ranks seemed to be officer versus enlisted.
Racial epithets were not part of my childhood home.
Sesame Street and Mr Rogers depicted a rainbow of people on TV.
I was only two in '68, shielded in my youth from that dark year.
An avid reader, I learned the words in print, recoiled at their use.
Heard the first aloud in college, walking the dorm halls with my roommate's little brother.
"Why's that white girl holding on to that little n*'s hand?"
I couldn't say anything to that girl in the presence of a four-year-old, just kept walking.
I dated a man with distinguished parents, a doctor and a lawyer, former military.
Didn't occur to me that his black skin mattered, until my family met him.
It was then I learned that the absence of epithets doesn't mean the absence of racism.
I have friends these days, distinguished in their own rights, who are followed in stores.
Pulled over in their cars in their own neighborhoods.
Afraid for their children who have done nothing wrong, but may be attacked anyway.
I have never been more aware of my privilege than in the last two weeks.
If I have been silent, it's only because I have been listening.
I pray those in positions of power are hearing with their hearts.
We know better. We need to do better.