While talking to a wise friend of mine and fellow blogger, I commented with sadness “and that is precisely the tragedy of human beings. To be utterly incapable of communicating with each other.”
Even with the best of intentions, we seem incapable of getting our point across without getting angry, offended, or at the very least, misunderstood.
Life, the universe and everything have a very bizarre way of hinting things at me, I find.
All of this was brought about by three things that pretty much appeared at the same time on my FB newsfeed, one after the other. 1. An article, 2. A meme, and 3. A quote.
The article: 12 things white people can do now because Ferguson.* Now, if you know anything about me, you know that I have never had a problem with thing # 10. I’ll go ahead and put it here in case you don’t feel inclined to read the whole thing**.
10. Don’t be afraid to be unpopular.
Let’s be realistic. If you start calling out all the racism you witness (and it will be a lot once you know what you’re looking at) some people might not want to hang out with you as much. That’s a risk you’ll need to accept. But think about it like this: staying silent when you witness oppression is the same as supporting oppression. So you can be the popular person who stands with the oppressor or you can be the (maybe) unpopular person who stands for equality and dignity for all people. Which person would you prefer to be? And honestly, if some people don’t want to hang out with you anymore once you show yourself as a white ally then why would you even want to be friends with them anyway? They’re probably racists.
That is meant to give you a chuckle. Cause in case you have never seen my FB profile picture, here it is in all its glory,
So, the thing is, at least here in North America, racism is that proverbial pebble in your shoe. And the events in Ferguson are but the tip of the iceberg. Ferguson’s events have generated a lot talks, fights, misunderstandings and even more hate.
[White] People trying to help. [White] People being offended. [White] People being outraged.
Worse of all [lots of white] people still being in denial, crying that racism is a thing of the past.
Entitled white people crying out loud that racism has been dead for decades.
Ferguson’s events have also brought people together. White people, black people, brown people, yellow people. Even green people and blue people. It is beautiful to see, truly. People together, all sick and tired of racism*** and wanting to make a change.
But there is also so much misunderstanding. So much hate. And it makes me so sad but also so angry that I just want to scream. Which leads me to the second item in my list.
A reminder not only for the world (i,e: everyone else that is not me) but probably even more for myself. Because if I want to be the change I want to see in the world, I need to learn how to communicate properly. Communicating is incredibly difficult, even with the ones we love. Add to it that even the best of us have flaws. That even the best of us make mistakes and you can end up in a big mess even with the best of intentions.
And finally, the quote:
“Truth – and justice – require calm, and yet they only belong to the violent”
– G. Bataille (quoted in G. Chatelet “To Live and Think Like Pigs”)
That is the real mind bend of the day. I’ll be ruminating on that one for a while.
*Disclaimer: As it has been brought to my attention, Michael Brown was not entirely free of blame. However, as someone else pointed out, commenting a crime should not mean you are executed on site without a chance to a trial. And if cops are so prone to being trigger-happy, then they should go to trial to parse out the truth, especially when things are not so clear cut. To me, it all reeks of bullshit but hey, that’s just me, she of the #NOFILTERS shirt
** Inaccuracies and all, I stand by the article I shared. Because, as Cate said, a lot of people have no idea how to help. A lot of people are afraid to make the first move. Dissing the article because Mike Brown did the wrong thing is -to me, silly because the article is not about how Mike Brown was wronged but about how the rest of us can help, so terrible things like that can become a thing of the past.
***Make no mistake, racism is not found only in white people. Racism is a disease that may affect us all. Another item in the list of human tragedies.