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Woke

I attended high school at the end of the 1980’s and my school wasn’t the most racially diverse. Most of the students were suburban white kids, pretty sheltered. Still, I don’t remember race being an issue (though it is very possible I just didn’t see it). I naively believed that the racism which plagued America for hundreds of years had (for the most part) been overcome, and that my generation had grown beyond that sort of idiocy.

By the time I was in college, I was not quite so unobservant. But even then, it was clear to the majority of us that anyone acting overtly racist was an asshole. We dismissed their behavior, their rhetoric for what it was- Unintelligent garbage. Absolute crap.

I really believed America was growing up, putting aside old prejudices, becoming a more welcoming, open minded place.

I continued to believe it, even after the abhorrent behavior I witnessed from those who did not like having a black president. It was easy to do. Things seemed better. Social progress seemed to be unstoppable.

Maybe it moved too fast. Small minds weren’t ready.

And I had misjudged the pulse of the country completely.

In the last year to year and half, the voice I’d thought reduced to a dying whisper has become a very loud shout. Scared white people are running about screaming the sky is falling, their culture (whatever that means) is under assault, and they have to stand up, reclaim their country from everyone who suddenly won’t stay in their *proper* places.

The violence this past weekend is likely only the beginning of a nasty string of events.

Emotions are running dangerously high.

This isn’t just a conflict of ideas (one does not attend a debate armed, in full riot gear, ready to club the opposition), but a war against an ideology of oppression and hate. One that has already shown us what atrocities it is capable of committing, and one that cannot be given another chance.

 

 

In This Moment

My social media feed has been consumed by all sorts of insanity over the past week. I’m sure you’ve all experienced similar stuff. Activist and apologists from various points on the political spectrum have offered their take on many issues. Religion, gender, sexual preferences, gun violence and terrorism have been hot button topics. Along with the *professional* insights, I’ve been inundated with all sorts of posts from friends, family, acquaintances (random people I somehow find myself following on Twitter), expounding on these same subjects.

I’ve done my best to stay out of the fray.

Social media has convinced most of us that our opinions are not only important and insightful, but indispensable, and everyone we know (and in some cases, don’t know) needs to read our observations on every little thing. I am not immune to this feeling, and have made far too many pretentious, didactic posts on all sorts of stuff. I am sure many people have had their opinions of me negatively altered by this foolishness. I feel a sense of shame when I encounter one of these posts (stupid Timehop) and always wish I had been smarter, less reactive, more thoughtful.

When I am in the same room with people I care about, I can engage in respectful debates, even have intense disagreements, and not let my anger win out, but the same conversations with the same people on social media can actually make me dislike a family member or a friend. Why do I react so badly to words on the page/screen? Is my connection to humanity so weak that I lose it the moment I lose physical proximity?

I don’t know the answers to these questions, and I’m not sure any justification really matters.

Not posting a response seems to help. I still feel the rush of anger, and that urge to respond emotionally to something I disagree with does not go away quickly, but I have yet to regret a moment of silence, or scrolling past an argument rather than adding fuel to the fire.

I am learning to recognize that instant of resentment as false and circumstantial, though it is not any less potent. I am learning to better control my digital reaction. I am trying to contribute more joy, more positive things when I post to social media. I still want to speak out when I feel it necessary, when my silence would be misguided, but I want to do it with less arrogance and pride.

People over things. Love first. 

Sign The Petition. Speak Up.

My friend Holli was sexually assaulted at a spa while on vacation in Italy. Those responsible refuse to take action and of course, are blaming Holli, insinuating she misunderstood what happened or was confused about events. I am disgusted, angry, saddened by what has happened to my friend. Read her story HERE.

Blaming the victim is a vile and cowardly practice. I will do whatever I can to make sure something is done. Holli has crated a petition which you can sign  HERE.

Do the right thing. Stand up. Do not sit silent.