A few weeks ago, I called my biggest confidant. He stepped outside of his home so we could chat openly about solving the world’s problems, as we always do. I asked him what was cracking, and he told me a cop had already circled twice, eyeing him down as he walked outside and talked on the phone. This handsome, kind, articulate, well-educated man decided to go back inside.
I’ll never know how that feels, but I never want HIM or anyone else to feel that way ever again.
Surely you see it. It’s everywhere. Real life. Real people. Real communities. Not fake, biased, crazy TV news life. Surely you do. Maybe you don’t. Maybe that’s where the work has to begin. Lying to ourselves can be problematic at best, and as we’ve seen time and time again, deadly to others at worst.
When change is needed and things don’t change, people get frustrated. Mad. Furious.
Especially when the root cause and primary point is being ignored entirely, and is instead being deflected towards Christ knows what.
The problem is the problem. I get it now. Surely you do too? Everyone versus racism. Right versus wrong. Dig deep. Today is a great day to start the journey. Today is a great day to start the work.
I never would have had the insight or courage to write this piece three years ago, but I have lived these last three years looking in the mirror with my index finger pointed directly at myself.
I had to open my eyes and heart. I had to stop lying to myself. I had to feel shame, guilt, and embarrassment for things I had done, said, believed, ignored, or overlooked, many of them subconsciously. I had to unwind and unlearn everything the system promotes so I could see clearly, and then relearn what I actually, personally believe. It’s had a stunning effect. My world is very, very different.
The good news is I’ve found inner freedom. The bad news is I’m more aware than ever that lots of people still don’t have basic freedom.
The bad news is the truth is dirty. It’s nasty. Life isn’t clean. It can be uncomfortable. Very uncomfortable. The good news is we can do something about it. We can get better.
The good news is anything can change with action and effort. Effort and action. The bad news is corporate lip service, singing Kumbaya, fleeting trends, campaigns, and quick fixes are often applauded over real effort and action. God forbid the bottom line or status quo get affected. God forbid we offend a friend or family member.
My biggest confidant is a black man. One of the people I miss the most in Charlotte is a strong black woman. The person I am pulling for hardest from afar is a talented black lady. I’ve shared meals, drinks, and intimate stories with each of them.
However, I spend most of my time playing a sport dominated by rich, white men in a state with a ridiculously ugly racial history.
Is playing golf in Mississippi a crime? No. Of course not. Could it be part of the greater problem? Maybe. Is it an opportunity? Absolutely. An opportunity to continue to listen and learn, to live what I learn, and then to have the courage to share it broadly. To actually be an advocate. I must do better. We must do better.
After three years of writing now, surely you know my stance. The POWER of UNLEARNING ideas that have been passed down and/or celebrated for generations, many of them outdated, inefficient, illogical, wrong, backwards, or downright evil, is HUGE.
UNLEARN. It’s an underrated, wonderful, terrific, beautiful, very difficult place to start the journey.
Effort and action. Action and effort.
I’m committed to doing my part.
Have a great week.- Benj
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