It’s Father’s Day and if there’s anything my Palestinian father taught me it’s that prejudice is pain.
I find it ironic that the movie “Inside Out” came out the week of one of the worst hate crimes in our history. Not because the theme is relevant, from what I understand “Inside Out” is about emotions, wearing them on our sleeves, saving them a place at the table, validating their need to make themselves known—then again, maybe the theme is relevant.
I’ve been quiet during these turbulent times of recent. I’ve had a hard time wrapping my head around senseless killings, bullets to the backs, lives snuffed out more like some video game than the harsh reality that the trigger happy world we live in leaves behind.
Inside out. What if that were our reality? I can’t imagine a world where one would say “Her bones aren’t white enough.” “His blood’s not red enough.” “Those lungs aren’t pink enough, and therefore, he can’t stay.”
Turn us inside out and we all look the same.
My insides ache for those who sent their loved ones off to worship on that fateful Wednesday. My insides ache for the young man who allowed hate to take hold of the course of his life, setting him on a path of jailbird jumpsuits, painful hearings and the knowledge that he turned lives upside down. My insides ache for the fact that the powers that be in South Carolina can’t see the confederate flag for what it is, a symbol of prejudice. A symbol whose time has long passed. A symbol that, like floral wallpaper and trans fats, has to go.
I take refuge in the display of compassion from those who lost and those who embrace them. They are focused on the inside, the broken hearts, the frail attempt to look toward a future that no longer sees difference—only what makes us the same. Today the emotion that longs for a place at the table is grief. Grief in that we haven’t ventured very far from the days of 1963 when four young girls were killed for no reason other than the color of their skin. Grief that we have revisited hate, yet again.
We all bleed red. Our common color. Perhaps we should focus on that.