There’s always a story that will captivate you! As you go through life you can’t help but remember it and constantly see how it applies to snippets of your journey.
That’s how this story my professor in college told the whole class is for me. As a biracial couple, he is a white male and his wife an African American woman, his family enjoys the blessings and challenges of multiculturalism.
During what I call a unicorns and rainbows moment, for the moments when you can’t help but have restored love for humanity, he told us the story of his wife’s family.
While in Mississippi, his wife’s family lived through some of the darkest times of racism and segregation in the U.S. The family fell victim to the daily life of institutionalized racism. Matters got worse when a Ku Klux Klan rally came to town. Until this point, no one had ever terrorized the family or any other African American family in their neighborhood. This time, there were rumors that some members of the Klan were planning on leading a terrorizing campaign through town.
Scared and confused, the family was contemplating laying low or seeking shelter elsewhere. While in their home a known white neighbor was hastily approaching their home. Although a neighbor, the white male was only an acquaintance, therefore the family could not be sure if the man was coming as a threat or friend.
Once he reached the porch, the neighbor began banging on the door loudly and announced to the family that the KKK was coming. To their surprise and relief, mom finally opened the door, with an urgent tone the neighbor told them to come hide in his farm, surely they wouldn’t bother him or anyone else near his home. Because of his help, the family was able to survive whatever the Klan members were planning on doing.
My professor’s mother in law was telling him that even in the darkest moments, you have to find your allies. People that are willing to look past your skin color, religion, your faults, and shortcomings. People willing to lend a helping hand for the simple fact that you are human.
People that live and act by the words of Dr. King and judge you not by the color of your skin, but the content of your character. That’s what we call allies, but more than allies, friends.
I tell this story to highlight that despite our political and social challenges, we have to trust that we (as humans) will do the right thing even when the odds are against us.
Challenge the narrative
As a Hispanic male, a set of statistics can easily paint the picture of my future. Without ever knowing me, anyone can make conclusions about my criminal record, education and financial levels if all they have are statistics. Numbers only matter when you use them to build a positive future and a positive financial outcome.
The same conclusions can be made about your gender, religion, race, or even interests. The opinion of people that really matter, however, are willing to look at you in a holistic way, without ever assuming the worst. They are ready to look past the stereotypes and stigmas in search for your soul and spirit.
The statistics are always going to exist. They’re like any other hater, waiting to be proven wrong. No matter how much you try to prove yourself to others, doubters will always doubt, but you do it for the allies, the friends, those that celebrate with you every accomplishment and can’t wait to see you keep climbing.
When the hate comes
I actually thought the following interchange on Twitter with an internet troll was hilarious. It also made me feel like I was doing something right when I got my first troll. At the same time, I couldn’t help to feel challenged. Not angry, or insulted, just wanting to prove this person wrong!
I don’t want to give this stranger the time to make me feel that way, so it was a bit annoying that I was feeling this way none the less. I love challenges and being able to feel like a conqueror, so maybe it was just my natural reaction. In the end it didn’t really matter, after all, I still see it as a milestone in my social media presence haha.
Just remember, for every one hater, there are many more allies!
Lessons on social media
1.) Avoid confrontation if it makes you feel better, or, give the troll the attention and they’ll probably go away!
2.) It’s ok that your content or story will not please everyone. It means you know who you are and will have loyal followers because of it.
3.) Be a little controversial, we all have strong beliefs, that’s what makes us who we are.
4.) It’s ok to be passionate, it’s not ok to be overbearing.
5.) Don’t forget that more people want to see you succeed than see you defeated.
Thanks meateatermeteor for giving me a good laugh!