Thursday, July 7, 2016

Black. Lives. Matter.

Each of the far-too-frequent times a black person has been killed under "questionable circumstances" recently, I have fought the urge to say something. Be quiet. You don't understand. What could you possibly say?

A few weeks ago when a lifelong friend told me that she and some of her friends were shunned at a popular local restaurant--for no reason other than their skin color--I struggled to find words to convey the outrage I felt on her behalf. Nothing seemed adequate. I hesitated to say anything for fear of offending my friend out of my own ignorance.

When that piece of shit rapist got a slap on the wrist a few weeks ago, I bit my tongue. What could I say that would make a bit of difference? If people couldn't see his whiteness and wealth got him that sentence, how could I make them see?

But this morning, I read something my daughter posted on instagram:

"it's time we atone & make haste to fix a broken system. Far too much blood has already been shed. That means you have to stop clogging the doorway to equity with your narcissism. That means you have to stop being defensive & start comprehending empathy. It's about comprehending privilege & deconstructing it. It's not about you, it's about the well-being of people of color in a country that assaults & scrutinizes their every movement. You can keep denying that, but know what your denial reflects."


And I realized it's not about what I say, it's about what I feel. How we act. No, I don't understand. Your son is not my son. Your husband is not my husband. I can't begin to understand. I am knee-deep in white, pretty, blonde, blue-eyed privilege. And I know that. Still...I feel.  

So, I recommend just doing this one thing: Walk across the bridge from sympathy to empathy. 

Stop looking at these atrocities as other people's problems and start feeling them as our own. Maybe then something would change. Maybe then we'll start holding the racists, the murderers, the rapists accountable for their actions. 

If we stand with each other, perhaps we can enact a change.

We can teach our children manners. We can raise them to respect authority. We can give them wisdom and tools and home-training to make them successful, but we can't protect them from the kind of pervasive evil that doesn't even view them as human. 

And that should matter to all of us. 



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