For the past two weeks, the news has been the news. Bleak and bullshit everywhere with some humanitarian good peppered in. I can usually just compartmentalize the bad and move on with my day. Not this time. The reaction of people to recent events - both people I know and people I don't know in comments I've read under articles or under the statuses of those I do know on facebook - has just sort of devastated me. Who are these people? Are we all part of the same community?
The Ferguson Situation: I'm waiting to pass judgement on either the cop or Michael Brown since, you know, I wasn't there. Automatically assuming either party is right or wrong because of position or skin color is dangerous. There are things out there in the media that make the cop look bad and things that make Brown look bad. That's why we don't try cases in the media. Oh wait, yes we do.
In the aftermath, I am most concerned about people lumping vandals in with those peacefully protesting against what they believe to be abuse and misuse of authority. Everyone in America has the right to peacefully assemble against what they feel is unjust. This community has the right to gather, grieve, and have their voices heard. The assholes in the community do not have the right to loot, vandalize, or attack police who are on the scene to diffuse the situation but those of us watching should not allow them the spotlight and attention. Anyone who thinks the peaceful and the assholes are all the same is an idiot. Main stream media is feeding you what they want you to see.
The media is setting this up so anyone who thinks it could have been excessive is anti-cop. Let me tell you - I am not anti-cop. I am not a cop, will never be a cop, and will never know what it's like to have to make a split second decision with my life possibly on the line. I am grateful for the service and protection of cops and I know some really good ones. Does that mean every cop has a pure heart and service on his mind? No.
Can we stop pretending racism and white privilege don't exist? I'm white and I will tell you things have been easier for me. I'm a woman and I will tell you things have been harder for me than they've been for my male counterparts. I am sick of people dismissing these feelings, as if to tell me oh no, that's not right dear - everyone has the same opportunities. Bullshit! Can we stop acting like black men aren't treated differently than white men? Look into your heart and be really honest with yourself about this. Who among us of any color has not said and thought things we shouldn't have based on gross generalizations and preconceived notions? Most of us won't admit it because it's shameful. We know better than to generalize.
Racially charged situations still erupt like they did in the 1960s, and we all have a part in fixing that. All of us, white or black.
My Pollyanna wishes...I don't want to point the finger at black or white people for perpetuating anything. I want everyone to stop having such hate in their heart that's been passed down through generations and is based on fear. I want people to stop judging an entire race based on a few encounters or what they see on the news. I want us to approach each other as individuals and if the time comes I want us to be judged as individuals. I want little kids growing up right now to not hear flippant racist remarks that are only "jokes." I don't want anyone of any color to fear mistreatment from police. There are good and bad black people. There are good and bad white people. There are good and bad police officers. There is racism on all sides.
Ferguson needs some peace and some answers. I hope they get some. I hope everyone gets some. I have a lump in my throat when I think about this. I keep thinking things should not be this way. I feel despair like this will just keep blowing up and never stop and we'll be so busy pointing the finger and drawing race lines that we forget that we're all responsible to repair this community.
Ice Bucket Challenge: I don't care if you love or hate the ice bucket challenge for ALS (actually I do, but moving on)...the numbers (both the amount raised and the number of new donors) are absolutely incredible. From the ALS website: As of Wednesday, August 20, The ALS Association has received $31.5 million in donations compared to $1.9 million during the same time period last year (July 29 to August 20). These donations have come from existing donors and 637,527 new donors to The Association. People are shaming each other for doing it the challenge and shaming each other for not doing it. I myself shamed both group of shamers. No one can win. Except ALS who's taking that money all the way to the research rooms.
Suicide: I'm still sick over the ignorant comments about suicide and depression in the aftermath of Robin William's death. I pray to God people who have so much wisdom to impart on how to pull yourself up from this never have a child or loved one who is so depressed that they kill themselves because then they'll have to eat their words.
I'm not even going to go into ISIS beheading or anything else related to the Middle East. We don't have all day here.
Some days I can't decide if I want to be on any social media site and I don't often feel that way. Being in marketing, I know these sites are a huge part of how we communicate and I'm not one to cut myself off from communication but seeing the derisive commentary on all three topics has made my heart actually hurt in my chest. What people are saying, good God! The vitriol and hate on all sides. There is so much fucking hate out there right now. So much arrogance and expertism and know it all-ness. So much talking at and very little talking amongst or talking to.
Since when did we make such a thing about which side we're on? We love to tell each other how wrong we are. We care more about making our point, criticizing the hell out of everyone and everything, and being right than we do about having important conversations and talking things through. Discourse and idea sharing are what changes the world. We can't do that if we've stopped talking to each other. It's normal for our views to expand and change as we grow as people. We can't grow if we're stubbornly holding on to what we've always thought and thought we've known.
I've said very little about any of these things on my blog. Why is that? Am I afraid to offend people who are cops/black/ice bucket challengers/ice bucket challenge haters/think depression is something you get over after a few days? Do I want to avoid overburdening people who like happy little blog posts with lots of pictures and little text?
None of the above. I've not written anything because I simply don't know what to say. I don't know how to put what I'm seeing, thinking, and feeling about all of these things in writing. I don't know how to connect the dots, to make a point concisely, to hit it home. To do my part to help people stop spewing hate. To look inside myself and see what unfounded fears I may have conditioned into me. To see where I'm speaking or acting from a place of fear and to work on that.
I don't like to write from a place of hurt because my thoughts come too quickly and when translated to print tend to be repetitive, circular, and contain mistakes. I'm not editing this because I don't want to overthink. I also don't like to write from a negative place because once you put it out there, you can't get it back. I wish people would not write statuses or tweets from a negative place. That would be something, huh?
The real world feels heavy and ill fitting right now, like it's too tight on my skin. I don't want to stick my head in the sand over it or go on like it's not happening. I don't want to avoid talking about things that matter because they're too hard to confront.
Linking up with Kristin for Stuff & Things