So yesterday I was out holding my sign. Like every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, my new connection David drove by. As he passed I yelled out “I have something for you”. He took a break, stopped by, and I gave him a copy of my “raised fist” posting, and we talked about why I couldn’t. Later, when he was back in the truck, leaving for the day, he waved and raised his fist.
Last night I watched “Becoming”. Not an unusual thing for me to watch a movie with dinner. If you don’t know the story? Watch it. It’s Michelle Obama. It’s about who she is, how she changed, became who she is. She talked about a person who was driven to learn, to be better, but also doing it without direction. She talked about how meeting a man named Barack helped her see a path to use who and what she was becoming. She talked about how wrong we were to believe we “were in a post-racial” America after the 2008 elections. I thought the phrase was weird then, now it was just ignorant, ridiculous. Yeah, the country has changed. But in 2008 we also brought the scared crazies back into the light. We saw and still see the hate that had kept itself somewhat hidden. So what does this have to do with David, David, and raised fists?
Last night I realized that we can all change, that the world changes, that meaning and context change. Racism may be learned, is learned. But it’s not inherent. At some point it becomes a choice. One can choose to stay or go. Learning matters. Growing matters. And yeah, in 1968 a raised fist was “Black Power”. And my white fist could be seen as white power. But it’s not 1968, it’s 2020. A raised fist is seen as solidarity, agreement, resistance. So tomorrow, when David drives passed and raises his fist? I’ll raise mine back and yell “Thank you”.
“Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.”
– Ben Franklin
“The most violent element in society is ignorance.”
– Emma Goldman