Kicking a can down the road is a mindless act. The only requirement is a can – usually empty. I never kicked a can barefooted. Reckon you could tear off a piece of your foot or shear off a toenail if you weren’t careful. So, a sturdy or at least closed toe shoe is suggested. I haven’t kicked a can down the road in a very long time. I’ve got more free time of late. Perhaps I will dig through the recycle bin and pick out an appropriate sized can to kick. My sister and I in our younger days would crush aluminum cans with our hard sole shoes and clunk and dance down the sidewalk as long as the cans held tight. But that’s another story.
There’s an asphalt path that runs along the right-of-way for the electric transmission lines at the end of my street. It might be the perfect avenue to refresh my can kicking skills. I can’t say for sure who decided to kick a can down a road. Maybe a worn down, bone weary grandma, watching kids in the summer, having answered the question “what can we do?” for the last time, offered up the activity. Can’t you hear it? “Why don’t you kick that can down the road? Make a game of it. See who can kick it the farthest, the highest. See who can make it spin. Take turns. And don’t kick it at each other.”
Kicking a can accomplishes one thing. It gets you down the road. That’s it. I’ve watched social injustice, bigotry, prejudice, hate and all kinds of ugly kicked down the road during my life. While it appears that some progress has been made, I have witnessed in recent weeks that many of these same issues were only pushed down the road.
Here’s my thoughts on recent events. As a good friend reminds me, “keep the main thing the main thing.” The issue is racial injustice. Period. As a white woman I personally know nothing about racial injustice and never will. I can read all the history books and watch all the plays and movies about racial injustice. My point of reference will be as a bystander who watched and listened as cruelty festered. While I hope that I was not part of the problem, I certainly failed at being a larger part of the solution. Please don’t post on Facebook or websites that all lives matter or blue lives matter. That is not the issue. Please don’t send a glorified email that your predominately white male organization or business stands with #BlackLivesMatter when your corporate executives and/or board members do not reflect the different colors or genders of your community. Please stop.
Young passionate African American leaders and social activists will have to kick this can down the road. When that time comes, if you look closely, you’ll see an old white woman pulling a red wagon filled with cold drinks and sandwiches following close behind.