I knew of someone-let's be real, several people in my lifetime-who have politely responded to me saying, "Sarah, I'm not in your shoes. I have no idea how you feel." One instance, this response followed palpable (like snot running down the face, hyperventilating sobs, a few moments of gasping for air, etc.), agonizing pain of the racial injustice I was beginning to recognize whilst watching others like me continuously endure. Following her blank stares, silence and discomfort (now from both parties), I scooped up my dignity and walked away, shattered. Here's the thing, y'all; it is no longer (nor has it really ever been) acceptable to tell someone who is suffering in anyway, whether you have experienced it or not, that you don't know how they feel, leaving them to manage on their own. No! You should be walking in my shoes (and others' of humanity). When we stick to our own shoes, we slam the door shut to others. I had to ignore the style and brand of shoes I like for so long to be accepted. But I'm being more selective these days. As I wear the shoes I choose, I have full, realistic experience: painful blisters, walking on a cloud, receiving compliments for their fashion or finding a look of disgust. To me, it doesn't matter. My goal is to love and share the wisdom that has been given to me with as many people as I can-one style does not fit all!
Let me drop the metaphor and be brutally honest with you... as a human race, we cannot stick to and only fight for our own kind. It's a battle that has vexed us since the beginning of time. To see true change is to get uncomfortable with, lower ourselves to, get next to and on the same level of those who are different than us. Comfort is a farce that will inhibit any possibility of harmony. So, I beg of you to join me by walking in someone else's shoes. You can start by borrowing a pair of mine (they're a modest size 12). I'll trade you for a pair of yours.