Growing up on Fort Bragg my best friends were Chris Radcliffe who lived three doors down and the six kids in the Zapata family right next door, Chris is black and Zapatas Hispanic. My sister and I were a few years younger than the Zapatas youngest girl, who was twelve when I was eight. Chris was maybe a year and half older than me. We did tons of stuff together. We would stay with the Zapatas if mom and dad were still working after school.I leaned just as much about hospitality and politeness in their home as mine. I had school age crushes on both Chris and one of the Zapata boys, Joe, a fact which I am sure there were clueless about. I knew that neither of their parents had a problem with the fact that we were different ethnicities so no one else would care, or if they did their opinions wouldn’t affect our lives at all. I happily dreamed about life with a boy who accepted me for myself in spite of my disability. The fact that the boys skin color was different was incidental They went out of their way to play games that I could play, I knocked one of Chris’ teeth loose when I missed the beanbag he was holding for me to punch anf hit his face instead. One summer when we were playing limbo with the garden hose Joe let me borrow his swim goggles so water wouldn’t get in my face. (Water hitting my face used to send me into blind panic because of a close call with drowning when little.)
Fast forward to now. Black men and women killed for fun. Hispanic men labeled lazy or else drug dealers because of the happenstance of their skin. It makes me sick. Every time some new brutaility floods the news I hold my breath and plead plead with the univerae. Then I get angry. I get angry because I shouldn’t have to be afraid for my friends. I get angry because the color of ones skin shouldn’t determine how comfortable and safe you are around someone in a police uniform. I get angry beccause balck, white, brown, red, yellow or mixed Every Life Matters.