Tuesday, April 28, 2015
This is turning into a pretty serious post week unfortunately. I feel the need to speak out about what's going on in Baltimore. And the reactions to it.
Everyone knows I love, crave, and need balance. In everything. I even make my pb&j with the exact same amount of peanut butter ratio to the amount of jelly. I'm very lucky, it seems, that I've weeded *most* of my Facebook friends down to very few ignorant people. There are still a few left, but I've kept them there with the hope that maybe my words could penetrate them somehow, someday. I really had an affection for them way back when so I'm trying to give the benefit of the doubt that they can see the light. However, I have seen a few things already today in my feed that are borderline racist, so before it gets full blown and I do find myself not wanting to be associated with such narrow-minded people, I have a few things to say.
I'm on a message board where a friend of mine posted a Facebook status of a friend of hers that really resonated with me. So I'm going to take what that person said and elaborate on it from my own thoughts.
This past week Dr.Derek Shepard was killed off Grey's Anatomy after an eleven year run. Fans of the show were outraged and hysterical. To the point that they made a change.org petition to Shonda Rimes about it. They want Derek back. I mean, hysterics! Over a TV character. I get it. I watch Grey's still. I'm invested. But I'm not signing a petition to get him back and I really can't believe that is what motivates people to action. I know, I know- they don't really have to *do* anything but click some buttons. It's not like they have to make posters, march or go door to door with a clipboard. People are angry though, so this is their hill to die on. Except they're not dead. And Patrick Dempsey is still rich, white, and alive.
Some are not so lucky. To be alive.
I have friends who are not Caucasian. I have friends who are Caucasian, who have bi-racial children. Some of those bi-racial children could "pass for white". And some look like they could have two black biological parents. Those parents of children of color have nothing but worries on their hands, still, in this country in 2015. They have to worry that their child could get shot just walking down the right street at the wrong time, just for wearing a hoodie, or carrying a toy. These are not things that the average Caucasian parent has to worry about.
I can't even say I can really fathom that worry and I *AM* a minority. But I'm Still. Not. Black. I'm Jewish. Anti-Semitism is at an all time scary high these days too. But I still am WHITE. I am not going to have the same fears as my friend whose beautiful son is the color of my skinny vanilla latte but with a stylin', clearly African American afro. My son is not going to have to assume he's probably going to get pulled over for no reason. Her son will live with that assumption. If you're WHITE, and you're NOT married to a person of color and/or have a child of color, you CANNOT understand this to the fullest extent. My heart breaks for my friends and others who have to explain to their elementary school aged sons that it won't happen to them, knowing they can't make that promise.
We can sympathize. We can feel sad. We can try to impart change. But we cannot walk in their shoes. And that's where the ignorance comes in.
I'm not anti-cop. I'm not even that damn the man anymore. I certainly don't think looting or setting fires helps any cause. It's NOT one or the other. You can be pro-cops, anti-violence, and still believe that we need change. The current way of existing ISN'T WORKING.
I was reminded of the first and only time I understood a Republican's point of view. A friend of mine, a teacher, explained to me why she considers herself a Republican. She explained that she's a really awesome teacher who is thoroughly prepared, and then some, all the time. She takes pride in her amazing lesson plans and creativity. Then she is expected to share all her work and ideas with the crappy teacher who does no planning and no work. That teacher is tenured and basically just shows up. Then she asked how that's fair. In that example, it makes sense. Because it's a job, she takes seriously, and does to the best of her ability. This person is a peer and just riding her coattails. There weren't extraneous details that factor into all the reasons I totally disagree with pretty much every other Republican platform but in a work place scenario, in her scenario, I get it. You come to work and do your best so you expect that from your peers. When your peers suck, you have every right to have a problem with them. In this Baltimore case, and I'm sure in many others that came before it, someone, or a lot of someones should've been speaking up and out against their sucky coworkers.
I want to know why we don't see more great cops, speaking out, outraged & disgusted by the behavior of the ones who have been capable of such deplorable behavior. If not even for the gravity of the actions, but for sullying their profession as a whole. I feel like some professions are like a fraternity- you just don't speak out against your brother. Again, I'm in no WAY anti-cop. I'm anti-asshole. Of any color and any profession. You can't just give the excuse- well, you don't know what it is to be an officer either. No, I don't. And I respect the authority immensely. BUT, I know in every profession there is corruption, and just plain poor examples of human beings. Just knowing that there are going to be people who act in a manner unbecoming of their profession, should be enough to question behaviors and want to delve much deeper.
Ferguson, Baltimore...these areas have been bubbling like boiling pot. Just waiting to spill over. They aren't jumping on police cars and setting fires out of nowhere, just because it seemed cool to do. The tension finally hit the all time high and exploded. How about taking a look at that? The who, the what, and the WHY that caused the problems. There is no report that says Freddie Gray actually did anything but lock eyes with the police. Somehow, mysteriously, he died of a spinal cord injury, in police custody. THAT, is a problem. That is just one example of what it means to live a life under suspicion at all times, for not being white. It should be a problem for ALL.
Why are there just two sides? Black and white- not even to make a pun. Instead of just blindly "Standing with the Police" or cheering on the rioters or joining in, how about some understand and compassion. For everyone. For the good cops, fireman, first responders and civilians caught in the crossfire. Not "blue lives matter". Not "black lives matter". How about "ALL LIVES MATTER".
I could go on and on till I'm *blue* in the face, giving reasons why the situation has escalated to the point of rioting and fires. I'm not going to though. You can Google some history for that lesson. I'm done being the Google concierge for now. I've learned that only those with open minds will bother to try to dig deeper to learn about the injustices done for years upon years to people just due to the color of their skin. To take into consideration the fear it takes some just to walk around at night or drive a car in certain neighborhoods doing nothing but minding their business. To care about being part of trying to make this a better place for all of our children. You have to want to try to understand the sociology of what's going on. Not just see it for what you see happening on the Nightly News.
The memes aren't funny, the racism doesn't get a pass. Put something up that screams ignorant racist, I will quietly just unfriend you without hesitation. Care or don't- I'm just putting it out there that I don't want to be associated with that kind of stupidity. I'm really hoping it isn't there or at least that I don't see it going further. Instead of crying over McDreamy and signing petitions to get him his job back, think about what's really important. The kind of world you want your children to live in. The kind of people you want those children to be. Think about why you're outraged at the response but not outraged that a man is dead for no good reason and no one can explain why. No one, including me, is condoning violence. I'm asking, begging, that instead of sharing nonsense on social media, perpetuating deep seeded hate and racism on any side, that you push for change. Or at least just don't swim in the cesspool of ignorance.