Thank you, Dave Chapelle

These past two weeks I’ve been trying extra hard to be thoughtful and kind. My husband started teasing me today, wondering how many people I was going to greet or thank. He told me that I say thank you like Jimmy Fallon does in a routine he performs on his show. He imitated me to demonstrate. It sounded a little like I was checking a box, working on a list. Yikes! I probably can’t offer sincere thanks because I’m not feeling thankful. I’d rather roar. I’ve had a stomach ache since November 9th.

The robotic thank yous are fueled in part by a desperate need to fix things, and I am not sure what to do. I started a community group called Standing for Love. I’ve been bugging my family with kindness challenges. But I know there is more to do. When I pray now, I make a conscious effort not to say, “Please God, make…..” Instead I say, “Please God, help me figure out what to do.” I want Jesus to stop by for dinner and give me a hint. I want Dr. King to guide me and fill me with hope.

One thing I know for sure is that we all need to get to know each other better, however painful and confusing that may be. I was at the Little Points Marta station on Thursday. It’s the spot where the two Atlanta city rail lines meet. Everybody comes together. Waiting for the train we looked like M & Ms only it didn’t feel sweet. I looked at every person and wondered how they might be feeling. Then I started crying and cried on and off until I got home, assuming they were in pain.

I watched Saturday Night Live last night. Dave Chapelle reminded me that our country has seen a lot worse. Chris Rock made fun of white people for freaking out and “moaning on Facebook.” That would be me. For them what is happening is business as usual not a crisis. I am clearly in need of an education, and I won’t begin to get one unless I spend more time riding the train in Atlanta from east to west instead of north to south. I just saw the beautiful views of downtown Atlanta from the King Memorial rail station for the first time, and I’ve lived in Atlanta for 25 years. I’ve never set foot on the campus of one of the many historically black colleges in our city.

Thank you, Dave Chapelle for shaking me out of my tree. If not for you, I probably go to Rome before I fully explore our city. I would stay in my white world with my liberal ideas, sharing them with my other white friends.

While we can never wholly understand someone else’s experiences, we sure can try. I’ve visited nearly every state on the east and west coasts of America but hardly any in the middle. It’s time to drive through the center of America and get to know my country better. I am tired of passing judgments, good or bad, on people I don’t know. Anybody up for a road trip?