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What Color is Your Skin?

Dear friends,

What color is your skin?

How often do you think about the color of your skin? As a white man, I very rarely think about it. Yet I know that the color of a person’s skin can make a huge difference.

For all I wish I was color blind, I notice how judgment and even prejudice sometimes sneaks into my thoughts when I meet a black person or other person of color. This despite the fact that I've had many wonderful friends and colleagues of color over the years.

I have a powerful invitation for you along these lines. This week while driving my RV across the hot, but colorful desert of southern Arizona, I listened to what ended up being the most profound and educational podcast I’ve ever listened to.

“Warriors in the Garden” is a beautiful and vulnerably compiled episode of “This American Life” focused on the lives of three black men who were profoundly changed by the police killings last year. They chose to become activists. Once they took action to peacefully make a difference, all three went through some truly harrowing experiences and ended up in three very different places.

Particularly if you care about understanding some of the very unexpected and extremely disheartening experiences that can occur simply by living with black skin, I invite you not to miss this incredibly moving 60-minute episode which can be accessed free of charge at:

https://www.thisamericanlife.org/733/warriors-in-the-garden

Why are most white people afraid to ask and sometimes even to consider what it’s like to grow up black in America. Are you willing to ask those questions? Are you willing to hear a "no" if a black friend declines to talk about it? Are you willing to really listen if the answer is "yes"?

I've made it a habit most of my life of asking my black friends what it's like to grow up black. Most have been happy to share their experiences, and I've learned a tremendous amount from this. Yet the above presentation took it to a whole new level for me. I'm deeply grateful to the producers and protagonists for creating this most profound podcast.

Parts of the above episode are disturbing. Yet consider how just being black can lead to many disturbing experiences, as is so clearly shown in this piece. I hope you are willing to take in this incredible taste of the challenges of being black in America.

As a balance to the intensity of the above video and only after giving yourself time to integrate what you learned and experienced, I invite you to enjoy a different kind of intensity by watching incredible daredevils balancing on thin webbing while walking across yawning chasms in unbelievable feats of skill and courage.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qxPBaWDpV8 - The Slackline Guys (10 min.)

For those with daredevil hearts who want more, check out this 15-minute video. Amazing feets, or should I say feats! Take care and thanks for caring.

With best wishes for a transformed world,
Fred Burks for the PEERS empowwerment websites

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