What if I were black?
What if I were Margo Johnson, with the same personality, same intellect, same gifts, same abilities, but instead of being white I were black?
Would I have been treated differently than I have been treated as a white person?
Would I have been elected vice president of my high school class? Would I have been admitted to an all-girls school in southern Mississippi?
Would I have lived in the same neighborhood where the white Margo grew up?
Would I have had the same advantages I had as a white child?
If not, why not?
If I were black or brown, would I be angry?
Would I be protesting? Would I be sad? Would I be tired?
Would I be worried my child might be hurt, killed, stopped and questioned?
I can tell you, I would be angry. In fact I would be angry beyond words. Furious, desperate, fearful, and lividly infuriated.
Would you want change if you were black?
Would you seek revenge?
Would you seek justice?
Would you be in the streets protesting?
If not, why not?
How would my life be different if my skin was brown, black, or my eyes a different shape, or I wore a different head covering, or I worshipped in a different way?
How would a white Margo treat a black Margo or a brown Margo or an oriental Margo?
I must ask myself these questions, and hope you are asking them also. I must ask so I can begin to see my prejudices that are real. I must ask so I can listen to the grievances of the black Margo. I must ask so I can begin to understand my role in this hostility, so I can hear the pain and unfairness being shouted from the mouth of the brown Margo.
What if you were black? What if you were brown?