I recently sat in on a conversation about equity, diversity and inclusion. While in that meeting a woman of color stated that she felt like she had dealt with a George Floyd experience everyday of her life. I was taken by surprise by this woman's comments because I know that she is successful, intelligent, and as far as I can tell certainly a conqueror. Now let me be clear, being all the positive traits that I just described does not in anyway exclude her from racial injustice, (hence the conqueror description); but I wonder why, if she has done so well, does she feel like she is going through everyday being held down in a vicious manner like George Floyd was?
I literally woke up in the middle of the night pondering this whole situation, uneasy and prayerful about coming to some sense of what is going on here. A phrase that came into my mind was the old saying “seek, and ye shall find”. I looked this up and it comes from the New Testament Matthew 7:7. This is a statement I learned so long ago, I heard it from people around me early in my life and at some point I put it into practice for myself and found from my experience, it is true.
Dirt, it is everywhere! You see I have a bit of the OCD in me; my mother has it, my brother had it, it just seems to run in my family. Without professional help I have been able to overcome my tendency to want everything perfectly clean and organized though. In reality my OCD lingers in my mind, but my will to accomplish other things, things that are more important to me, I give more credence to, and try to complete those top priorities first. I suppose this is what the successful woman I am speaking about has done: She sees dirt (racism), but she keeps pushing forward despite her feelings.
But I can’t seem to shake another subject I think needs to be addressed. The notion of “seek, and ye shall find” can work in a negative manner for a person too. Imagine you are a building inspector, and your whole job is predicated on looking for any kind of flaws or potential flaws in a construction project. No doubt this is an important job, but now imagine you go home and you never take off your work hat? You see flaws all over the place and live in unrest about your surroundings, even when there is no immediate threat; true, your home isn’t perfect, but it does its job (This is actually a real world example, I have a close family member who lives this way!). The reason I bring this side of the subject up is that this woman's life and accomplishments is to be celebrated, however if she feels held down everyday, this seems tragic. I am not sure what happens in a successful and prosperous person's life that makes them feel like a victim of racial inequality on a daily basis; I don't walk their path so I can not judge them. But I hope in our daily walk we take time to reflect on all the good we have, so that we can have a larger sense of gratitude that outweighs the negatives we perceive.
Daniel Triplett, is an artist that worked in game development for over 6 years, and now teaches in the Computer Graphics Technology department (CGT) at Purdue University.