It’s early Sunday morning. My friend called Friday evening. He asked me a work question or two, regarding an event coming up. An interesting aspect of this call is that my kids and I had just been texting, discussing the [event]s of the day and week. Protesters were gathering and marching, as we were communicating. I didn’t mention this to my friend, meaning the topic of my children and I’s conversation or even that we’d had it. But he asked me, after we had chatted a bit and I allowed my agitation to show (not at him but the situations), when I was going to voice how I feel. Meaning not to just him or my kids or those close to me. And I answered and the words didn’t come out all that well. Kind of one of those…if you know me you know how I feel sort of replies. But I thought about it for the rest of the evening and then yesterday, when I began formulating organized thoughts. Of course, this morning it’s still on my mind. I should probably add the above mentioned friend is a black man.
I suppose there is not a reason. I have no excuse to not state how I feel. As in my opinions. I am not afraid. I am not concerned I’ll offend friends or family or anyone really. I think my concern is whether or not I can articulate anything meaningful or insightful or most importantly, helpful.
I have always disdained bandwagons and the people who participate. I have strong feelings one should be a life long fan or a fully committed fan. But you don’t jump here and there with your associations, depending on who is winning or losing during a particular season. Or based on what is trendy at the moment. I don’t know if that makes sense regarding racism. But I have noted many white people make social media posts which are most likely well intentioned, yet seem trite. I have noticed white people make comments, ask questions, and appear to be trying to solve problems, yet are not seemingly willing to change their lives. By that I mean they are unwilling to address systemic bias, systemic racism, and systemic oppression. They are unwilling to form relationships, especially if the relationships could quite possibly conjure uncomfortableness. They are not willing to delve into ugliness. Nor are they willing to accept the realization many of the issues we are facing have to do with economics. A financial system based on oppression. Capitalism can be hurtful and harmful unless you yield a good deal of power…aka money.
I hear people refer to this past week’s murder and other outcomes in Minnesota as one tragic incident to work through, as opposed to it being what it actually is. One in thousands. It’s as if we, as in white people, woke up on Tuesday and said, “Wow(!) racism is real and so is police brutality…let’s figure this out…what can we do???” And we asked it with a whiny voice filled with surprise. When this violence, which is the absolute heart of evil, has been happening in our country for centuries. It’s only been weeks since we heard about Ahmaud and Breonna. And those are the stories we have heard, as opposed to those which have taken place without media fanfare. Isolated incidents which happen in neighborhoods and communities day after day after day.
I find white people often have a comeback. Oh, many will agree that recent events are terrible. But they’ll reply with something like, “…but violence is not the answer.” Or “…but looting is wrong.” It’s the old “two wrongs don’t make…” And what this really is, I think, is the need of the privileged to get the last word. To say something, even if it’s absurdly asinine. To say something deemed as helpful but is far from it. And that’s one of the reasons I hesitate to speak out. Because I don’t want to be lumped into the crowd of people who say ridiculous things.
I think white people also talk so they’ll feel better. As if a few words or too many words or some amount of words can change the world. Or if not, at least they’ll feel as if they did good. There are terrible white people who are blatantly racist and evil. There is also a good sized contingency who want to feel as if they’ve accomplished some good. They truly do want to help, to a certain degree. I liken it to checking something off a list. They make a comment or two. Show a face of compassion. Post an MLK quote or a pretty, artistic resemblance of Breonna Taylor on their Instagram and then move onto the next thing. It’s not that they are awful. They’re simply not all in.
To change the world you absolutely have to be all in. Yes, that’s a statement. And a matter of opinion. But this is my blog and I can say what I like.
Someone is probably annoyed now. Someone is probably thinking, “well, I just don’t know what to do.” If you don’t know what to do, I truly hope you figure it out.
This week I witnessed first hand the lament of my friends. People I am in relationship with. People I love and care for and personally count on. People I have laughed with and cried with and walked beside for some time. And that’s the most difficult. That’s what I would venture to guess is difficult for many and why they are befuddled as to how to respond. They are not in relationship with anyone who is affected. I don’t mean they don’t know a person of color. Or don’t work with a person of color or aren’t a teammate of a person of color or even someone they consider a friend. But if you are truly, truly in relationship with someone right now who is black, and you are not concerned for their feelings, emotions and thought processes, then you are not in relationship with that person. I believe that strongly. If you haven’t considered this week’s actions as traumatic, you are not truly in a relationship with a person affected. Knowing someone well means recognizing their pain. You don’t necessarily have to discuss it or work through it or deal with it at the time. But you should be able to recognize it. Acknowledge it. Be present in it.
What is happening right now is not a difference of opinion. It’s not people seeing things differently. Or cultural variations. What is happening right now is evil. It is hate filled anger. There are systems in place which are terrifically harmful. There are means to keep people of color oppressed. Organized means. There are inequities in our educational systems, in law enforcement, in the judicial system, in the workforce, in financial realms, and on and on. This is not one bad cop who decided to go off the charts. This is not a bunch of people who decided Saturday was a good day to protest because they’re tired of being home during a pandemic. This is reality and has been for hundreds of years.
Again, I am not sure if I am articulating anything that will assist anyone. I don’t think a blog post is going to change the course of history. Not without action. Not enough people even read my blog for anything significant to change. But. I will have voiced my concerns. I will have stated what I deem imperative. And I will continue to listen and do what each day affords, in hopes the tide will turn.
My daughter has worked the past few years, compiling data regarding police brutality. It’s important and rather difficult work. Here is a link to check out:
My son and his girlfriend are Louisville residents. They introduced me to the Louisville Bail Fund, which is an easy way to assist in these issues via donations:
Lastly, a young woman I work with posted this on her IG: