I first want to point out one main thing, racism is taught, and it is learned. People are not born this way.
Let's use the Black Lives Matter campaign for example. I will never understand what it is like to be a person of color in this country. Therefore, I can not spit out my opinion about it. I COMPLETELY understand where minorities are coming from. The country that we live in today is diverse, and we should all learn to embrace it.
I urge all people of this nation to take a step back, hear someone's point of view other than your own. I'm not saying you have to agree, I am saying everyone has the right to have their own opinion. Instead of using social media as a platform to banter back and forth about the issue, we should try to take ourselves out of our shoes. We should try to make a difference.
I want to start by sharing my opinion on the issue, and I hope you will understand where I am coming from. I was raised in Tallahassee, Florida. My parents raised me to believe that everyone bleeds red. I grew up in a middle class part of town, it is all I ever knew.
One day, in kindergarten, I met this kid Malik. Malik was black, and it didn't matter. It didn't matter because I saw him as Malik, I didn't care about his race. All I cared about was that he loved football as much as I did. The fact that he had just moved from Riley Elementary school, a predominantly black school on the other side of town didn't matter.
Malik walked in, pants hanging low, and sporting a Nick Collins Greenbay Packers jersey. I loved him for that, and I loved Brett Favre. From that moment on, we became friends. We grew older, and we got to 4th grade. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was standing there as he was trying to teach me the "Superman," a new dance that goes to the song "Crank That" by rap artist "Soulja Boy."
I didn't even understand what I was doing, but Malik was doing it, so I wanted to do it too. I got to know him pretty well. I have lost touch with him, but had it not been for the way I was raised, I may have never met him in the first place. Again, racism is taught.
I want to teach you, I want you to understand that we all bleed the same color. We all bleed red. Don't be so quick to judge someone because of their color, the side of town they live on, or their economic status. I don't know what Malik was going through. I don't even know where he lived. We came from two different backgrounds. I will never understand the life he lives. I do understand that he was my friend, and we loved to toss the pigskin.
Malik made a difference in my life at such a young, and impressionable age. He made me see that people are people. As I grew older, I met more people. People like my friend, who will probably read this -- Jeramie Lee Payne. I consider this man a brother. He was black, and he hailed from Lawton, Oklahoma. At my young age of 13, he moved into the guest room above my garage.
He made a vast impact on my life. He drove a good old Pontiac Monte Carlo. We frequently blared Nas, Wale, and every mixtape that J. Cole released. He tied my bowties, introduced me to cardigans, and he even took me to Jacob's Chapel, a black church where I heard the greatest sermon of my life.
I really understood at that moment, racism wasn't going anywhere. I know today that the only way things will change, is if we decide to make a difference. I was the only white person in that church, but I didn't care. I remember two special quotes from that sermon, and it was from Martin Luther King Jr.
"The most segregated place is Church on Sunday Mornings."
"I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."
I knew after that day that I would make it my mission to make a difference, and I hope that after reading this you will too.