I will not apologize for the color of my skin. I will not be sorry that my ancestors were Native American, Irish, Scottish, German and French. I simply, will not.

Since the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, the rally cry of black lives matter has become something akin to a fanatical cry of an occult following. If you disagree or try to make a point that each and every life is sacred and matters you’re suddenly labeled a racist and told that you’re part of the problem. The real problem is people’s apathy towards one another and their instant judgment based on appearances. Racism goes BOTH ways, and in my opinion saying otherwise is a cop out and an attempt to justify treating others the way you don’t want to be treated.

Today while I was at the bank, I pulled into a parking spot next to a guy who happened to have a dark complexion. When I opened my truck door, my door touched the side mirror on his truck. It touched. It didn’t slam into the mirror; it didn’t crash or smash the mirror, or do ANY damage. It simply touched the mirror. The guy inside the truck started flailing, I kid you not; he flailed around in his truck. Threw his arms into the air then rolled his window down and glared death at me. I frowned and told him “it didn’t do any damage, it just barely touched it.” This man then jumped out of his truck and stormed over to the mirror and started inspecting it. When I reopened my door and showed the guy where my door touched the mirror and that it barely reached his mirror to begin with, he said “you fine then man” and stomped back over to his truck and got back inside, rolled the windows up and continued to glare at me.

This is the treatment that I have been given most of the time I’m in an area that is comprised mainly of people who have darker skin tones than I do. I lived in the Northside of Richmond, VA for nearly three years on and off in an area that was considered, by nearly everyone that I know, to be the “ghetto”. In short, it really wasn’t a nice place to raise children; there was a lot of drug dealers, shootings, break-ins, etc. My family was the ONLY “white” family in so-called compound that we lived in, and at first I really thought nothing of it.

I spent most of my teenage and early adult years in areas where my ethnicity was considered the minority and I had never had any trouble. I had friends whose skin tones were a multitude of colors because to me a person’s worth has never and will never be dictated by the color of their skin but rather their character.
So imagine my shock when I went to the community pool and was verbally accosted because my oldest son splashed a lady in the pool when he was playing around with all the other people there. At the time I had yet to begin my transition and thus was presenting as female, but this lady went psycho on me and my family because she was in the pool and was splashed when my son jumped into the water. We ended up leaving the pool because I was too the point where I was going to break my vow of not beating someone’s head off a concrete surface, but we were never able to go back because we didn’t want our boys to have to go through that behavior again. We reported the incident to the apartment complex and they did nothing.

In my time in this apartment complex, my mother-in-law had a gun pulled on her, I had a gun pulled on me, and my car was vandalized more than once. When my family and I would go to the local Food Lion to shop for groceries, we were all but run out of the store on a rail. The cashiers were beyond rude to us, they would be pleasant and chatty with the families in line in front of us (they had the same color skin as the cashier) and when we would be next to be rung up, the cashier would glare at us and not so much as say hello.

During my time in Northside, it got to the point where I hated leaving the apartment, and at times even feared going outside. I had to put up a camera in my bedroom window for surveillance on my vehicle because of the vandalism, and leaving the house after dark was something that no one in my family did alone. My family and I were treated horribly; we were treated the way that racist people treat people that they detest because of their hang-ups on skin color.

While skin tone plays a lot into how people treat each other, another factor is the mindset in which people grow up. If you are raised to think that a group of people are bad because of the color of the pigment in their skin, or the people like you deserve to be treated better than others because of your ancestry, it’s pretty damned difficult to change that mindset but it’s not impossible.

Until we begin to change these mindsets in which have such a deadly impact upon our future as human beings, society is going to continue to deconstruct itself into warring tribes. Rather than bring us together as a race of humans, these protests do little more than become acts of criminal violence and looting. Self-proclaimed activists screaming black lives matter while pillaging the small family owned businesses (that just happen to be owned by black families) doesn’t show that anyone cares about black lives. What it shows is that these people are using lost lives as a front to break the law and act like animals rather than human beings.

What does it say for society when the only people that are being rioted over were criminals? When the law abiding men and women of color are relegated to the realm of the forgotten even when their lives are ended because of police brutality, who is it that are really the ones cared about?

Eight lives were ended in a house of worship a few days ago, there are no riots, and there are no protests. Where is the rally cry of black lives matter? Each and every one of these people was law abiding citizens in a church studying their religion peacefully. Their legacy, however; is not one of riots, anger and hatred, but rather a vigil of peace and a deep sadness for their families. These lives, no matter the color of their skin, matter. Each and every life lost because of ignorance, hatred, racism, homophobia, transphobia, greed, or whatever reasoning the human mind can concoct as a reason to end another life, they all matter. All lives matter, no matter the life.

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