The past few days have been unsettling. My parents live in St. Louis, and I felt very connected to the events in Ferguson this summer. Now, with the recent turmoil in Baltimore, where we lived until a little over a month ago, I’ve been having a strong sense of deja vu. Many of the sentiments I’ve seen online these past few days could’ve been taken verbatim from posts eight months ago. The same words. The same judgments. The same frustrations.
Shortly after we moved to Baltimore, I was taking a walk in our neighborhood, the Park Heights area, with the two children I had at the time. As I pushed my two young boys in the double stroller, a tall black youth walked toward us. He looked like what some people might call a “thug,” with tattoos, baggy pants, a tank top, and baseball cap. The uncharitable thought, “I hope he doesn’t mug me,” crossed my mind.
When we were very close to one another, my boys exuberantly waved and greeted him with a loud, “Hi!” The young black man gave them a glorious smile and waved back, greeting them with an equally friendly, if quieter, “Hi,” of his own.
I was moved by the innocence and lack of prejudice my children displayed. At that moment, I had an intense desire to make sure that they maintained that openness, that ability to see past the cultural differences of our neighbors to see a person worth saying “hi” to. I haven’t spoken with my children about what happened in Ferguson, or what’s happening in Baltimore. They’re very young and oblivious to it. But if I were to speak to them, this is what I would tell them.
Read the full article on Kveller.
The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.