All You Can Ever Know

“When we rode home together that afternoon, side by side in the backseat of his mother’s blue sedan, I was silent and so was he, pretending nothing had happened between us that day.  But inside of me, something still and deep, something precious, had broken.”

Within the first chapter of Nicole Chung’s book, All You Can Ever Know, she’s heard her first racist slur.  A schoolmate pulls “his eyes into slits”, sing-song chanting at her before they hop in the carpool together, like nothing happened.  It’s only the 2nd grade, but the parents who adopted her at birth had insisted on being colorblind, which means this is her first introduction to race.

It’s taken me months to figure out why this book was so impacting — why I carried her story around in my heart as one of my own.  Its influence on me didn’t entirely make sense, aside from the writer’s axiom that the more specific and personal the work, the more universal it is.  But there is something more here, something I may not entirely want to talk about. Continue reading “All You Can Ever Know”

The Already and the Not Yet of MLK

MLK Jr. Day has become a special day for me over the past decade.  It was at an MLK celebration over ten years ago that I became painfully aware that the seeds of racism were still buried and growing in the soil of my soul… and my own unawareness of it was hard to accept.  It wasn’t just that I was ignorant; for the first time I saw what a luxury it was to be ignorant.  Being able to ignore race matters is what you might call a privilege.

As I became more aware of the real and subtle presence of racism today – in this country and also in my heart – it led me to learn more.  After all, that was my real offense, wasn’t it, thinking it was all fine because it was all fine in my white world?

The obvious next step was to Continue reading “The Already and the Not Yet of MLK”