I went for my usual 5 mile run today. I didn’t have any hesitation about lacing up my sneakers and doing the sport I love the most. I didn’t have any fear of running alone through a town, that I don’t live in, which is incidentally a very lucrative area.
I am a white woman. Yes, I have been catcalled several times. Once recently I swear I was followed in a car by a man. It was absolutely terrifying. I had never felt so alone. Luckily, this was in that same “wealthy” neighborhood I mentioned earlier. That made me feel safer even though I kept seeing his car multiple times.
The fact is that even though I am a woman, I am white. I will never truly fathom how it must feel for a person of color to go out for a run. I will never understand the fear or anxiety over a sport that everyone should seek comfort in. I will always feel a sense of safety knowing I am running in a “wealthier” area, but I cannot sadly say that feeling is reciprocated for a person of color. The way I say “I had never felt so alone” hits differently compared to a person of color. My view and feeling of safety is drastically different. Sure, I am entitled to my feelings, but because I have that opportunity to have that sense of entitlement, shouldn’t all people?
I am not trying to take away from the fear I felt because believe me, being a woman in this world is a major problem as well. However, I am not here to focus on me. I am here to lament for the consistent injustice that continues its vicious cycle. I am also writing to mourn over a fellow runner, a forever teammate in my eyes, named Ahmaud Arbery. I did not know you and sadly, I never will.
The world is a wonderful place because of color. It generates pure beauty in its ability to create vivid shades, tones, and mixes. Imagine a world that was only the color of white? How dull and unoriginal. How bland and bleak. Why don’t people realize the hypocrisy that still ignites today? Why don’t people learn to love one another for who they are and not what they look like? This world of hatred is burning down the concepts of compassion, comfort, equality, and acceptance. We cannot tear down the foundation of mankind and expect to grow like this. This is supposed to be a world that promotes life. It shouldn’t be a world that produces unwarranted fear, hatred, cruelty, and violence. We cannot continue making cracks in this broken world.
My heart breaks hearing about Ahmaud Arbery. I am sure this is hurting the running community of the world. I cannot even conceptualize how his family must feel and I won’t even begin to try.
Please, for the love of whatever higher power there may or may not be, know that I am incredibly sorry. I am sorry the world isn’t stronger. I am so sorry to all of my friends, co-workers, and to every single person of color who has to walk this path of judgment every day. I pray that today is the end of it. I pray that tomorrow will bring a new realization of what the world we are a part of should be. I pray people will wake up and recognize that we are all human beings with hearts that all beat the same. I hope we can begin to create a world that is a holistic, heartfelt harmony that demands a new diligence for humanity.
R.I.P. Ahmaud Arbery