Last week, while placing a take-out order outside a Langley eatery, I became aware of an unusual situation.
Amongst those standing on the sidewalk around me were three couples, two with a child under 10.
The unusual aspect was that all three were mixed-race couples, not a common occurrence here on mostly caucasian South Whidbey.
My assumption is that some of them were off-island visitors. And just to be clear, there was no visible sign that they were together.
Being aware of a recent headline in your newspaper expressing the displeasure of some residents about the posting of a Black Lives Matter banner at South Whidbey High School, I began to wonder if these folks might be aware of that. If so, most likely this would not make those interracial couples feel very comfortable.
While I waited for my order, I began to wonder what I might do to express my welcome. Noticing that one of them, a Black man, had on a Black Lives Matter hat.
I simply turned to him and said, “I like your hat.”
For the past several months, I’ve been concerned about the reemergence of racial tensions in our country, largely due to the very visible murder of George Floyd and the world wide response to that event.
Here on Whidbey, I’ve been pleased by the appearance of several Black Lives Matter yard signs.
Additionally, I’ve been encouraged by the anti-racist actions by the City of Langley and the appearance of a display of 50-plus black crosses, which represent 50-plus Black people killed in the U.S. by excessive use of police force since 2012. I’ve been looking for a way to express my concern; on that day last week something inside me prompted me to make that simple comment to our visitor.
I love this country, largely because of the ideals of liberty and equality on which it was founded.
We have a long way to go towards fulfilling those ideals. However, as Martin Luther King Jr. said so many times, “We’ve come a long, long way, but we still have a long, long, long way to go.”