I live in Charlottesville. The place where we experienced a lot of hate in the last two years – it’s always been here – but it’s been more obvious with the events of August 2018. And I struggle that this exists. And I very much dislike that it still exists – even in the excitement that the UVA team just won the National Championship in Basketball.

There’s a lot of love there but when you then go on and read comments on various news sources there is still such a divide and all I see is finger pointing and blaming, rather than looking at oneself. We cannot control the actions of other people, only our own. And it’s time we start looking beyond what we know.

I grew up with hate. I grew up with white-on-white hate in the aftermath of WW2 – skinheads in my face spewing on hate about different nationalities that have called Germany their home. Yes, I am a white woman – I am blond and blue eyes – and I was protected because of my looks. But I wasn’t blind to it. I see my privilege. And yet there’s no comparison to what I experienced and saw growing up to what I see these days. There is a correlation but it’s not the same.

And now I am an immigrant, with privilege that’s taken me a long time to wrap my head around. And I am an ally. I want to dismantle the bullshit I see over and over again. I want to disrupt the thinking and believing of old patterns and be a voice that hopefully helps someone open their mind and challenge their own inner thoughts.

I don’t think we will ever erase hate unfortunately and I am writing this post today because the local news announced that Pharrell Williams is the speaker for the 2019 Valedictory Exercises… and then I started reading the comments.

The comments of why he should not be the speaker and how disappointed people are.

Why?

Because of his music.

All they see is a rapper.

All they see is that he is a man of color.

They don’t see that he is so much more than a rapper. He is a singer, songwriter, record producer, entrepreneur, and fashion designer.

He is a Grammy winner, Billboard Music Award winner, and Oscar-nominated musical artist and so much more. You can totally search for all his awards.

And he is a human being.

He is own success story. No, I don’t listen to his music because it’s not my thing but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate his journey and the things he’s done to get where he is today. I believe he will have amazing things to share when he speaks. I believe he will touch someone, inspire someone and motivate someone.

It’s really time to look beyond what you know… to do some research… to be open-minded… to stop judging someone based on their music, their looks, their thoughts and their beliefs.

If everyone was the same how boring the world would be. It’s time to appreciate one another and look beyond the racist and jugmental thoughts we hold.