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Life Arts    H4'ed 9/2/16

Raw, Deep Wisdom from a Racially-Mixed Family's Mother

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Kate Riffle Roper and her children
Kate Riffle Roper and her children
(Image by Kate Riffle Roper)
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Kate Riffle Roper, as a white mother of five children (two black, three white, all of whom have a white father) has had a poignantly unique opportunity to observe and experience the day-to-day prejudices which are rampant in our society. Kate says she is "a native of the Pacific Northwest, former attorney who now negotiates with her kids and over-volunteers locally and nationally." She posted an arresting piece on Facebook (which follows) and I was appreciative that I was able to chat with her.

Meryl Ann Butler: Thanks for visiting with OpEdNews, Kate, and for sharing the photo of your beautiful family. Your Facebook post was stunning, thank you for allowing me to reprint it here for our readers. You are in such a valuable and unique position to see the nuances of these issues, and I am so glad that you posted your thoughts. Can you share with us how the Black Lives Matter movement may have been instrumental in inspiring you to write this post?

Kate Riffle Roper: I wrote this piece for my white friends. While we watched black men dying through cell phone videos, my white friends were increasingly embracing #AllLivesMatter as a response to #BlackLivesMatter.

I grew angrier and angrier. Then, it struck me: My white friends simply did not understand what it is like to be black. It was unfathomable to them that a white person and a black person could live such profoundly different experiences.

As a white woman who grew up in privilege, I understood their ignorance. As a mom of white and black children I was in the unique position to validate the black reality while understanding the white one. So I sat down to write, to plainly and clearly explain the difference to my well-intentioned, but unknowing, white friends.

I see now that black people live a near daily existence of slights, suspicion and even danger. Most white people truly have no idea. Like me once, they believe things happen to black people, they just also believe these are rare moments inflicted upon black people by an unenlightened person. It was unfathomable to them that it was every day, everywhere.

My ultimate hope is that by non-blacks being clear-eyed to the black reality, we could finally have an honest conversation about how to bring change. Until black lives matter, all lives do not.

"Privileged people always feel excluded in equality movements because its the first time they don't have the loudest voice."- Unknown

Kate's stunning Facebook post from July 19, 2016, should be required reading for every American:

As a white mother of two black children, three white children, who all have a white father, I have something to say.

Racism exists. It is real and tangible. And it is everywhere, all the time.

When I brought my boys home they were the cutest, sweetest babies ever. Wherever we went, people greeted us with charm and enthusiasm. Well, not all people and not everywhere. But, to me, they were the "wacko" exceptions. I thought to myself, "Get over it."

Now my boys look like teenagers. Black teenagers. They are 13.

Let me ask you these questions.

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Meryl Ann Butler is an artist, author, educator and OpedNews Managing Editor who has been actively engaged in utilizing the arts as stepping-stones toward joy-filled wellbeing since she was a hippie. She began writing for OpEdNews in Feb, 2004. She became a Senior Editor in August 2012 and Managing Editor in January, (more...)

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