When Comments Can Help Heal

I subscribe to Dan Rather’s post on Steady. Most know him from his rather brilliant career as a journalist, but he is also quite the master of the written word, especially when it pertains to every day hot topics. He’s an incredible writer! I guess that’s a give-in because it’s DAN RATHER, but I’m saying it, just in case you didn’t know!!

The ease with which he writes, as if he’s talking directly to me – is something I admire so much. It makes reading even the hardest of topics, so much easier to digest.

His most recent post on the topic of Tulsa was one where I found myself so intrigued I needed to read through the comments.  Of course, then, I couldn’t resist to throw in my two cents… and let me just say, what an amazing dialogue with strangers of all types… and for me, quite healing. I found hope when all I have felt for a while now was despair. 

I’ll only repost my comments here since I do NOT have the right to copy anyone else’s comments. Maybe my words may seem a bit out-of-context, but I think you’ll easily get the gist. It will give you a sense of the power of Mr. Rather’s work and the ability to find a place where social media, technology and just sheer dialogue between strangers can help heal and make the world just a tiny bit better… and sometimes, that’s all you need. 

Article:  HOLES IN OUR HISTORY (by Steady & Dan Rather)

My Initial Comment to Article:

As a Black Latina woman, let me just say, that I wish there was more outrage from White folk. I wish more White people would be appalled, saddened, hurt, pained, gutted in spirit, torn and devastated by learning this truth about our country, our past and yes, hiding it. I’m tired of the kind words, and the hope-filled “righting of wrong-doing” BS. Honestly, I’m tired of white folk not being more upset about the cruelty. The cruelty! I’m devastated by all that I’ve learned. All that I never even knew. It is NOT good enough for White folk to be mildly upset anymore. That’s what I’m missing in all of this. When I watch how people are erasing Jan 6th or trying to re-write Trump and Covid, I’m confused as to why White folk aren’t up in arms! Where is the urgency to fix what’s broken? And I’m sorry, I can’t fix it, because I’m still trying to pick myself up off the floor from learning THAT YET AGAIN, there has been even more cruelty and more barriers put up against me, pushing me down, all these years. And I’m still crying. Do you understand how different our country would be had Black folk been allowed to succeed in Greenwood? Imagine a country where it wasn’t burned down? Imagine a world – the healing — if we’d even just told the truth of what happened. There’s a respect in doing that. But instead, we hide and bury things so White folk can always feel good? I’m perplexed. We need White folk to take up this fight. And I just don’t understand why you’re not more upset about all of it? Aren’t you embarrassed for our country? Aren’t you confused as to why we’d be this horrible to another group of people? Are you mad that it’s actually a pattern of how we function as a nation? Aren’t you on fire about what the GOP is doing now? I honestly don’t get it. I have never, in all my life, been more embarrassed, humiliated, disgusted and appalled at being an American of this country, the United States. We are so much better than this…at least I thought we were. I don’t know what it’s like to be a White person in this country. I have no idea. But I’m telling you, this isn’t going to work if your goal is to just be “aware” of things. I need an essay on how to fix it. I need White folk to write essays and tweets and comments on what they will do to fix US. The United States. Mr. Rather, this comment isn’t just to you… it is not. You are a national treasure. But it is only because of your essay, your incredible art and love of this country that I feel comfortable right now, in tears sharing this… I just thought we were a better country is all. And honestly, I don’t know how these Black folk continue being full of love and joy, singing with hope… because I’m heart-broken really. I’m devastated. I used to love my country anyways – in-spite of so much, but this…this just broke me.

In Response to A Comment:

Oh…please do not think for one moment I do not appreciate what my White brothers and sisters may be going through, or WHO THEY ARE and CAN BE. I wrote an entire book about my life as a child, growing up on the streets of Boston (My mom died when I was a child and I never knew my father) and it was mostly good folk – most of them White, who intervened and walked me through. My family today consist of a beautiful mix of what this country has to offer. None of them blood related. I would not be here today if not for the BEST of who we all can be. I do NOT blame White folk for what happened in the past, but I do want urgency and…for lack of a better word…umph! I’m watching Trump and the erasing of Covid and Jan 6th and I’m utterly confused as to why we are not on fire with determination! I know for me, I’m floored and if I’m being real honest, I’m utterly pained by all of this. I will get back up, I will fight on and yes, with my White brothers and sisters for sure (there is NO other way out of this by the way) but I’m just letting you all know every chance I get — I need more! We need to hear you! We need you to scream with us, to shout with us, and in my case, to help hold me up. I love my country. I want to keep loving it. And here’s the thing: this isn’t about me. Or just Black folk. This is killing all of us. This hurts all of us! Not knowing who we are, will destroy us. It’s already happening across this country with Trumpism – I know everyone know this, but Trumpism is just racism glorified. And yes, you are right – we must rise together in truth, love and peace — I’m just reaching out and letting you all know, I need y’all more than ever now. Our country needs all of us. Thank you for letting me know you’re with me. It’s exactly what I needed. (I can’t stop tearing reading all of this) – Much love right back’at’chya

In Response to Another Comment:

Everything you wrote here is extremely appreciated and completely understandable. Please know, what you’re doing – being REAL and being HONEST is exactly the first and right step in my opinion. I am so sorry that you have been blindsided as well. I am sorry that you are frustrated as I am as to what to do next. This is hard on all of us. And I don’t pretend that it should be easier for White folk at all. Truthfully, I think this devastation, this reality, is hitting us all painfully. How we walk through this together may be the most important next step in the process. I don’t know — I’m winging it just as much as you are. But, I will say this — I’m telling all of my loved ones, all of my White friends and family to please keep talking. Keep asking questions. Please keep being honest about what we know and don’t know. I think if we can find common ground in our vulnerability, then maybe we can walk each other through it all? Maybe I’m living in a world of delusion where we lock hands and figure it out together, but what is the alternative? I don’t want you to ever feel what it’s like to be a Black woman in this country. Please know, any person worth their salt, would never want you to feel any more pain to “get it”. I appreciate your wanting to be part of the solution. I think that is a GREAT first step and I think we all just need to do the very best we can. I think starting there is all we can do. Thank you for your words – you and so many others have comforted me today in reminding me that there is hope and goodness all around. I’m so grateful… please take good care of yourself and yes, we will continue on doing the best we can to hold each other up. Sending you a hug from California.

THIS! This right here is how it starts. At least for me. I need to hear more people — more white folk just say this… thank you. And yes. Yes! The voting right bill needs to be passed ASAP. We have to start with each step and just keep on keepin’ on… but yes THIS POST 100%. Thank you!

In Response to Another Comment:

May I suggest, with respect, “guilty” is NOT the right word. That would imply you knew all along and participated. I would hate for you to even think that because it’s so damaging to our inner spirit when we dialogue to ourselves that way. NO. Just vowing to “do better, when we know better” is perfect enough. Maya Angelou used to say that, “When you know better, you do better.” — I think that’s all that is necessary at this point. But fiercely. Powerfully and with as much strength as we can muster to fix our country. 🙂

In Response to Another Comment:

This is totally fair and so real. Thank you. I can understand that. It makes sense. And, you know, I’m sorry that you didn’t know either. Thank you. For me, all of this is a bit healing reading people share how they feel too… it helps to make sense of it all for me. (goodness, we have so much work to do, huh? At least maybe we’re starting. #hope).

In Response to Another Comment:

The irony here is this country really could be exceptional if we’d just be honest about the mistakes we’ve made, the pain we’ve caused and the hurdles we had to overcome to get here. Your family sounds spectacularly what I believe our country should be (and actually is!) — a mix of beautiful cultures and a wealth of interesting differences. In my Utopia, that’s exactly what the United States of America would be. But others may fear this beauty… I, for one, think it’s inevitable and preferable every day of the week and twice on Sundays!

It is truly rare that I spend so much time having a conversation with strangers via comments especially on the issue of race relations… but I’m so glad I took the time. I am grateful to Mr. Rather, the legend, for writing such a piece and providing a platform for people to discuss, to heal, to figure it all out – together. 

Please check out https://steady.substack.com/ to find out more.  

PS. I have no association with Steady or Mr. Dan Rather. And I do not receive any compensation or anything at all from you subscribing. It is truly, just my opinion.

3 thoughts on “When Comments Can Help Heal

  1. Sounds like you are following the advice of Civil Rights hero John Lewis who advised us all to “Get in Good Trouble, Necessary Trouble.”

    Dan Rather has been one of my heroes since he reported on the assassination of JFK and broadcast on CBS how former president George Bush went AWOL while serving in the National Guard. Robert Redford played Rather in a movie called “Truth.”

    You and Rather seem to pull no punches and get into “good trouble, necessary trouble.”

    Keep up the good work!

    Liked by 1 person

    • He’s a good man — he even responded to one of my comments which was… incredible! I feel honored. But yes, I’m not sure I’m doing enough of getting in “Good Trouble” but doing my very best in the way I know how. Thank you! And sending you a big hug!

      Liked by 1 person

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