Patrice’s father told me I was racist.
I didn’t believe him then.
He did not know me.
He did not know my history.
Or see into my heart.
How could giving his daughter a failing grade be racist?
She was the one who didn’t do the work.
The principal of the school in my first time out in the field
told my boss I was racist.
I did not believe her.
She did not know me.
She did not know my history.
She did not see into my heart.
All I had done was offer to help.
How could that be racist?
I began to grow.
I began to learn new things.
I began to see new things.
Before, my eyes were firmly fixed on who I was and not who they were.
I did not know them.
I did not know their history.
I did not see into their hearts.
And I did not try to.
I was concerned with my professional reputation.
I was worried about doing the job right.
But, perhaps, being racist is not just
for those with hate in their hearts.
Perhaps, sometimes, it is for those of us
Who just cannot yet see
The full history and glory of another.
And haven’t yet learned
I will do better now.