When it comes to our struggles over the lingering impact of slavery, to me the main issue isn’t political. It is relational.

Most of us vote 365 days a year, but only once at the polls. The other 364, we are voting with our everyday choices. How, or do we, cross racial boundaries?

Perhaps, our first hurdle is “seeing.” We look at others who are different. But do we really perceive them? Do we see them as three-dimensional — neither invisible nor a caricature?

The second hurdle perhaps is “risk:” risk of being vulnerable, of making missteps, of being rejected. However, I’ve found that other people tend to be very forgiving — if we’re trying.

An older black friend calls me an “innocent.” He is very generous. He could have called me “ignorant.” However, unlike stupidity, ignorance is fixable. I pray that this is what he “sees.”

The last hurdle is “action:” to step out on faith. We could be the deciding votes in this cultural moment. But we must vote early, vote often, all 365 days a year.

Douglas Woodside

Albemarle County

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