About 30 years ago I received a phone call from my mentor introducing me to a young lady who was moving to Manhattan. Had I known then just how dear and important that friend would become I surely would have written down the exact date that she came into our lives. But Sandra Arnold and I share not only a mentor, but years of holiday dinners and conversations. My children grew up loving her and for my wife and I having a visit from Sandra has always been something wonderful to look forward to. So nothing could please me more than seeing that she recently had a piece published in the New York Times opinion section.http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/03/opinion/sunday/why-slaves-graves-matter.html?_r=0
Sandra is obviously doing landmark work of major significance. But I appreciate most the work she’s been doing on me for years. In many gentle conservations she’s been one of my kindest friends and has helped me to understand aspects of privilege which, sad to say, are just too easy for me to miss . I don’t think I’ll ever ‘get it’ and I’m not sure anyone ‘white’ totally can. I think being oblivious is only not scary if you can at least be benign in regards to how much your lack of awareness can hurt someone else. But Sandra has stayed a true friend in spite of my slow learning curve.
Sandra is so sweet I’m not sure I can really ascribe to her the notion that she’s making waves; she’s not one to really consider herself a boat rocker. But if anyone is deliberately setting out to make people take a look at slavery of yesteryear and racism today, it’s this lady. And no one inspires me more than her to engage the privileged friends I have in an ongoing debate about what we should be talking about… and doing … to change the institutionalized racism and its mechanisms in our lives.
Congratulations Sandra! Keep up the good work. Lisa and I love and admire you so much.