Meet Laura-Jane Barber

Laura-Jane was a Spanish teacher back in Plano, a Dallas suburb where I taught English for fourteen years. At our high school, her mailbox always topped mine in the teacher workroom. Barber. Byers. And although we worked on separate sides of the building, we often chatted while picking up our mail or making copies. We still chat via Facebook and now on WordPress, too, and I’ve found her words lingering in my head.

Hi, my name is Laura-Jane, and I am the most selfish person I know and maybe the most selfish person you know. Because I am so selfish, I can see the selfishness in others, and when I see it in others, it’s almost worse because then I’m reminded of things I’ve said or done because of my selfishness.

I see so many people ignoring the cry of our black brothers and sisters for selfish reasons. I have been guilty of it too in the past. I’ll give you an example from my life.

When Colin Kaepernick knelt for the National Anthem. I didn’t even try to hear why. I didn’t care to understand because I was so disrespected by it. The National Anthem makes me cry because I have a husband who has served on deployments in dangerous parts of the world 3 times since we’ve been together. On one, his vehicle was blown up, and his experiences have changed him and our family forever. I focused on that and didn’t even know why Colin Kaepernick knelt for the flag until this year. That’s right, I assumed it was something to do with race, but I didn’t even know the specifics. Go ahead and judge me. I deserve it.

I was so focused on what his act appeared to say to me that I didn’t even care to find out why he actually did it. And if you know me at all, you probably also know I can be quite stubborn when I feel I’m right.

I was so selfish and self-righteous over the National Anthem. Over a song. A symbol. And you know what I found here in my circle in Texas—a lot of people who agreed. So I was able to sit in my pride and self-righteousness with support all around. No one told me, “LJ, maybe you’re making this about you when it’s actually not.” Okay, maybe one or two on Facebook commented that on a post, and I probably ripped them to shreds with my “righteous anger.”

Today, I roll my eyes at 2016 LJ. I want to go back and shake her. I WAS WRONG. I am shouting it because I sure shouted back then in my selfishness. I WAS WRONG. I didn’t know that statistics show that police brutality against blacks is significantly higher than towards whites. If you don’t know this and go researching, be sure to pay attention to the breakdown of race in our country. If you look at numbers, there will be less listed for blacks, but whites are something like 70% of our population vs. 15% black. That is vital information to understand the numbers accurately.

I was in denial about the racism that still exists in my beautiful country. I LOVE THE USA! Anyone who knows me knows I have both USA pride and Texas pride. Sharing all of this is not me trying to destroy America (PS, I don’t identify with either party), it’s me trying to make America a place where all people have the same privilege that I do as a white person. I love this land so much.

I share this because…click here to finish reading.

14 thoughts on “Meet Laura-Jane Barber

    1. Thank you, Allan. Laura-Jane is right. Most of the time our circles include the like-minded. I did see The 13th over the weekend and Just Mercy based on Bryan Stevenson’s book. Both are so important.

      Like

  1. This again brought me to tears.
    Remember the video I shared on my Instagram? A friend replied to me that the divisions are with every disadvantage. And, she’s actually right. Black lives matter. I don’t know what the blue lives matter are. I don’t actually really use social media at all… I’ve seen the division, equally, with different races, in different places. I’ve seen it a lot. I see the disadvantages of the different things a lot, too…

    Like

    1. I remember, Eliza. The Blue Lives Matter is a response to Black Lives Matter and in support of our police 👮‍♀️ force. Of course, everyone matters. There is definitely a division based on disadvantages, along with so many other divisions of race and politics. I don’t understand “us” vs. “them.” Why can’t we all just get along?

      Like

      1. I think the everyone matters is the most important. I don’t know. My sisters laugh at me when I don’t understand stigma or why people will look at people as different. I don’t know… externals, even a lot of internals, are so unimportant…. we’re all part of the same energy…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I like how LG suggestes
    simply having a conversation with someone who is of a different race than you. Today, my wife and met two African American associates at a Sam’s Club and said that we understood that Black lives matter—period, with no qualifications. They both seemed very appreciative. Face to face is better than Facebook!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s