Forgiveness, Justice, And A Hug For My Uncle T

Today I really wanted to write about Dr. Henry Louis Gates getting arrested on his own property, and how he later decided to drop the matter with the Cambridge police department after they dismissed the "charges".

Yeah, I really wanted to write about that because, I'm all about forgiveness. But I'm also all about justice, so I could not fathom his not pursuing some sort of complaint.

But I did not write all day today because I went to beach. I lazed around in the sun, played with the kids, and swam in freezing cold Lake Michigan. And, just when I was beginning to think I hadn't accomplished much else beyond acquiring a serious sunburn on my back -- Let's just say I clearly needed to evenly apply the sunscreen. Or reapply it. Either way, I'm in pain right now. --
my Uncle T, my dad's brother, saved the day and kept me from total blog-slackdom.

little while ago I checked my email and found that my dad had forwarded my blog post about our family's Sunday gathering to his brother and sister. My Uncle T responded to my dad by saying:
"What a beautiful, eloquent, emotional account by (Los Angelista) in her blog regarding our Sunday gathering, which personally liberated 40 years of my pent-up emotion regarding the X (Irish/my dad) Family perspective of our parents and relatives and, of course, many more years for the travails encountered by Y's (black/my mom's) Family, long before the X Family was in the picture.

This was a fabulous life learning experience for all of us present, and my true direction is the impact these issues have on our children moving forward, as they are the future, right before our eyes (misty as mine are at the moment). I was a college student @ Northern Illinois Univ. in 1969 when X and Y decided to marry and form a perfect union. I never learned nearly as much from any of my textbooks and classes as l did from them over the subsequent years, as they are the true heroes in this story, since they are the ones that had to endure the disdain from all the bigots belittling them from all directions. But endure they did, and that, my friends, is a very powerful life-experience of handling adversity through love."
My Uncle T also forwarded these comments to me, and told me I was free to share them with you all. So, I am sharing them for sure. And crying all over again.

What happened to Skip Gates in Cambridge is the unhappy result of racism. It's sad to see the same-ole-same-ole trotted out. You know, the "There was a black man and he scared me because he was so black and scary," story. But I'll say it again: If my family can get it together and overcome the hurts of racism, there is hope for us all.

Really, if we can apologize, forgive and take the first steps forward to forge something new, who's to say our society cannot do the same?

No, it's not easy. In fact, the process might just hurt more than my extremely painful sunburn. But it's so worth it, even if it's only because I got to read such an incredibly heartfelt note from my Uncle T.

With that, I'm going to go slather more aloe vera gel on myself.
And I will once again cry tears that have nothing to do with my sunburn at all. And here's a virtual hug to my Uncle T who is loved very, very much.


Sharifa said…
This is so great and that family picture says it all. More cousins for the boys to hang out with on their visits to the Midwest! I may be one of few paying attention to the Gates story over here in Sweden although it is being reported in the UK. His documentaries have been broadcast in the UK so he really is internationally prominent and yet has to suffer such disgraceful treatment at home.
Abigail said…

Didn't know if you'd seen this article:
nick said…
What a lovely note from your uncle. And what a contrast with the racism of the police officers who arrested Henry Gates, booked him and locked him up because they wouldn't accept that he was in his house legitimately.
Jen said…
This post gives me so much hope, at a time when the Gates story disturbed me so very, very deeply.

This is the second time I'm getting teary reading a blog today.
Ingrid said…
eloquence runs in the family :-)
Lotus Flower said…
Your uncle has guts, Liz. It gives me a ton of hope that anti-racism and race relations has not been done in vain. Best wishes to your uncle in the future. :-)
Thanks again Liz. I think that the heart of the issue with Gates is the power of the state to deny a person their freedom and when and how that power should be exercised appropriately. Even if Gates had been white, the idea that someone deserves arrest for showing anger at how they are treated by the police is scary. It reminds me of remarks I heard someone say after the Rodney King beating. Basically that if he hadn't been doing anything wrong he wouldn't have gotten beat up. That so many are trying to rationalize the arrest of Mr. Gates as "standard procedure" should be a wake up call for Americans of all races. If the police can simply arrest whomever they choose regardless of whether the person actually represents a threat to public safety we are all in trouble.
Shiona said…
Yes it is so hard for people to admit when they do something wrong. And for him to apologize is great. I'll send some love to Uncle T as well. As far as the Gates thing I've heard comedians joke about that kind of thing happening. How sad to see that even now this can happen. I just don't get it
Anonymous said…
Okay, now I'm crying!! What an emotional and heartfelt email from you Uncle. Geez, maybe love does conquer all!!
Liz Dwyer said…
So I replied to all your comments like three days ago, they went into a blogging black hole (hate that) -- and I've been feeling insanely guilty that I haven't had another chance to do so. SO very sorry! -- blame a little blogging conference called BlogHer on my comment replying slackdom.

The Gates story, Obama's reaction, and people's reaction to Obama's reaction is proof positive that racism is the most challenging issue facing this country. I think Phillipe makes SUCH a great point in his comments below... why am I not surprised?? :)

Thank you for sharing that. You know what's really sad? I have read online that black people should be dissing Gates because he had kids with white women. So he is a sellout! AAGH~

Very lovely note from him, isn't it. Love it. Read that link that Abigail shared if you get the chance.

It gives me a lot of hope, too. And it comes 100% free of any spin factor.

Why thank you! :)

Yes, he does. Absolutely. I think he is a great example, too.

So your comment is 100% on point. AMEN! Folks should absolutely be thinking about how this violates their own rights in relation to law enforcement. Crazy that the same folks who might have complained about, for example, Guantanamo may not be thinking of how this is connected to being illegally detained.

Thanks for sending him some love! I have found it interesting how some people have said this has nothing to do with race because he's an upper class black man. It proves how little people understand racism.

Oh, I wish I could give you a hug. His email does make you believe in the power of love and the ability for us all to overcome the past. :)

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