Tuesday, July 19, 2016

How's that taste?

For 8 years, I have not eaten meat after reading about the cruel practices of factory farming. Over the course of these years, people have told me, "I won't watch those movies about how animals are treated or I'd never be able to enjoy a hamburger again."

To state the obvious: That's kind of the point.

I've told people that I would eat deer that my brother, the hunter, killed and been told "hunting is cruel." Really? And what about veal? Google it. Let that shit settle in.

For years, I've smiled and nodded while people made excuses for contributing to the torture and murder of animals. That's their deal if they can claim to be animal lovers and still eat them.

Unfortunately, over the years, people have expressed the same desire to avoid acknowledging discrimination and racism.

A few days ago, an acquaintance expressed on Facebook that black people wouldn't get killed if they just listened to the cops.

My knee-jerk reaction was to scream. To explode. To block her. And to cry.

None of those things would be productive. I can only try to learn from her ignorance.

This statement might be shocking to some, but black people have been getting killed for hundreds of years for being black. For not knowing their "place." For daring to want equal treatment. For using the wrong door or sitting in the wrong seat or not calling someone "sir." For being black.

Pretending that isn't true might help some sleep at night, but it sure doesn't make the world a safer place.

Some of us can't wrap our minds around that kind of hate and intolerance. Some of us want to forget that during many of our lifetimes, black people weren't allowed to eat, drink, or use the same bathrooms with whites. Most want to forget that black people were treated like animals and in many cases worse because it's horrific. It. Is. Horrific.

Unfortunately, not thinking about it or talking about it won't change it. The fact that we don't or won't get it doesn't make it any less true. People get worked up about Black Lives Matter, but if black lives had mattered in this country for the last three hundred years, there would be no reason for a movement.

People want to believe in humanity's inherent goodness. I get it. I do too. I want a world that tolerates differences. I want a compassionate and accepting society. Wanting it to be that way doesn't make it so. Turning a blind eye to real problems won't fix anything. Might as well click your heels together and try to teleport.

My friend wrote, "If people don't get it by now, it's because they don't want to get it." Right? The information is available. We need to educate ourselves. We can't protect anyone from issues we won't admit exist. Reinforcing the opinions and beliefs we already hold isn't going to change the world. Changing the world requires acknowledging the problem first.

We don't make any progress by staying in our comfort zones. We have to listen to people with different views. We need to watch videos that make us uncomfortable. We need to question what we believe and why we believe it. We need to be less defensive and more inquisitive. Otherwise we're destined to keep grieving.

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