Stand Up

“I’m tired of hearing people say, all lives matter.”

“Well, they do.”

“I’m not saying that they don’t.  All I’m saying is that when people say that they are downplaying the Black Lives Matter Movement.”

“Black Lives Matter Movement sounds militant.”

“It isn’t.  It’s a cry for justice, a cry to end the systemic racism in America and everywhere and to end the senseless killing of Blacks.”

“Black Lives Matter Movement sounds exclusive to me.  What about Asian or Hispanic or Indigenous or White lives?  They all matter too.”

“I know that.  Does your mother worry every time your brothers, your father or you leave the house?  Is she afraid that you’ll meet up on a racist trigger happy cop who will end up killing you?  Do you worry that if your grandfather accidentally triggered his medical alert necklace and the police went to his house that they would break into his house, taser him and then fatally shoot him?  How would you feel if your father were pinned down on the ground with a police man’s knee on his neck and he’s saying, I can’t breathe?”

“That won’t happen.”

“Of course, it won’t because you and your family are white but these things could happen to my family because we’re black.”

“Why does it always have to be about race with you?”

“Because it is.  When you go into certain department stores, do you have staff following you around?  Or what about the people who don’t want to help you or serve you?  Have you ever been passed over for a promotion and the job goes to a White person you have trained? Or have you ever had a White old lady clutch her handbag and look fearfully at you as she hurries past you, putting as much distance between you as possible?  What about having racist and derogatory remarks made about you?  Have you ever been told that you were better off going into the trade school rather than university?  As a black woman growing up and living in the United States and now living here in London, I have had to deal with racial and gender inequality while you have enjoyed your White privilege.”

“I can’t help that I’m White and that I was raised in a privileged home.  My father was a self-made millionaire.  He earned everything he has.  I’m not going to apologize for being able to go to the best private schools and university or for being the founder of a prestigious company which by the way has many minority and female employees.”

“That’s all well and good but is your company taking any stance against the racial inequality or police violence against Blacks?  For instance, would allow your employees to take part in the protests?  Would you have a problem with them supporting Black Lives Matter?”

“My employees can do whatever they want after they leave the company’s premises.  The company will not be used to promote anyone’s political agenda.  It’s their place of employment, not their platform for change.”

“And what about our relationship?  Isn’t it important to you?”

“Of course, our relationship is important to me.  It’s extremely important to me.  Why do you ask?”

“If it is, then why don’t you come to any of the protests? Why don’t you come and stand up for me and with me in the fight for change?”

“I’m too well known.  How would it look for the son and heir of Sir Anthony and Lady Anne Sedgewood and the founder and CEO of Sedgewood Software to be seen with protesters with signs saying Black Lives Matter?”

“You mean you don’t want people to know that you’re involved with a Black woman, least of all your family.”

His face suffused with color.  “That isn’t true!” he protested.

“Isn’t it?  No one knows about us.  Is it because they won’t approve of their son dating a Black American woman?”

“My family isn’t racist.”

“Then, tell them about us.”

“I can’t.  The shock would be too much for Mother.”

She stared at him for a long time then, she said, “Goodbye, Edmund.”

He looked startled.  “What do you mean?  Where are you going?”

“I’m leaving.  You and I are through.  Now you can go and find yourself a White woman.”

He watched as she walked away.  Minutes later he heard the door close.  He sat there.  It wasn’t too late to go after her and beg her to give him another chance.  It wasn’t too late to change his mind about telling his parents about her.  No, it wasn’t too late.  Yet, he didn’t move.  He just sat there.  Perhaps it was for the best.  In time he would get over her, his silent secret and move on.  Or perhaps, he would give her time to cool off and then try to win her back. These were just shallow hopes–getting over her and winning her back.

He knew without a doubt, that he would never get over her. The only way he could win her back was to stand up for her and with her in the fight for change. And then take her to meet his family. His mother would just have to accept the fact that her son was in love with a black American woman.

Jumping up from the sofa, he grabbed his keys and dashed for the front door. He might still just catch her before she reached the tube station.

Posted for June 2020 Writing Prompts – #12 – I can’t breathe, #20 – His silent secret and #25 – Shallow hopes.

2 comments

  1. “The shock would be too much for my mother”.
    Ha! Maybe it would. But how many women have been led on by men who have no intention of protecting them and fighting for them? Only to be left high and dry. A lot of women had fatherless babies to show for it. Never allow anyone to make you their dirty secret.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s either mother having a shock or him losing out on future happiness with the woman he loves. And it’s good that he came to his senses and has decided that he’s going to fight for the woman he loves. And you’re right. Never let anyone make you feel worthless.

      Liked by 1 person

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