Thursday – 14 July 2016
It’s been one week since I wrote Life in Black, White, and Blue. In that week, I’ve had a number of people read it and thank me for giving a voice to my feelings and casting it out to the world. Some have even asked if they could share it with others; I happily said “yes” to those requests. I was also deeply touched and honored that they thought enough of what I had to say to want to share it with others. Hopefully, something I wrote will help someone else be able to address their own uncertainties.
This week has been better. And I have a few things to say about that. (Surprise!)
In Brightest Day, In Blackest Night… 1
Those are the first two lines of the Green Lantern Corps Oath. (I’m a comic book fan, but there really is a point to this.) The GLC are, basically, space cops. Members of the Corps are chosen for their ability to overcome great fear. Their weapon is willpower.
Let’s explore that for a moment: People chosen not because they don’t fear anything, but because they can overcome their fear.
What could we do if we didn’t fear each other?
What could we do if we had the will to stand up for – and with – other?
What could we do if we chose to not let our differences divide us, but instead found things within each other to lift up?
Do you realize how powerful we’d be?
We would be unstoppable.
We only have to let go of our fear.
You can’t have something for nothing, you can’t have freedom for free… 2
People are protesting. To voice their frustrations and to hopefully have that frustration heard and acted upon. And they have done it despite the very real possibility of being arrested. Why? Because, for them, freedom of the body is a small price to pay for the freedom of their souls. Because it’s worth taking a stand, not only for themselves, but also – possibly, especially – for those who can’t.
We ain’t got no time 4 excuses, the promised land belongs 2 all… 3
There are inequalities in our system and, partly because of that, we’ve become polarized:
- Black (or just “brown”) vs. White
- Rich vs. Poor
- Those with power vs. Those with none and/or no voice
I found a couple of items today that made an impression. One was an article from Henry Rollins in L.A. Weekly, excerpted below:
If white America experienced a fraction of what black America deals with regarding law enforcement, incarceration, the court system, employment and countless other facts of life, they would immediately and collectively lose their minds.
I’m an educated, Caucasian, heterosexual male. Does this ensure I will have success and live the American Dream? Obviously it doesn’t, but it damn sure drops me on second base with a great opportunity to steal third.
The other was a Facebook post from Molly Suzanna, recounting her experience after being arrested for a traffic stop when she was 19, excerpted below:
This arrest is still on my record. It doesn’t prevent me from anything but I do have to explain felony charges when I get pulled over or apply for a job.
I have never publicly told this story.
I tell it to you, today.
And here’s why:
If I were a black man, I would be dead. Plain and simple. Pretty white girls don’t get shot during wrongful arrests. Not any that I know of, and certainly not me.
You can’t deny white privilege and what it affords you. To deny it is to acknowledge it exists, that you are privy to it. You don’t see it because it exists for you.
Something is very wrong in this country. There is a sickness. Black men (and sometimes women) are dying. They are being gunned down. For no discernible reason, and at an alarming rate, by white officers.
Seeing these two points of view – from people who are not Black and who have realized the advantages a privilege that is a by-product of the fickle finger of fate and genetics have given them – gave me hope: Hope that there are people out there who get it and are willing to put their stories out there. And hope that change can happen.
And the knowledge that they fear is a weapon to be used against them… 4
Knowledge is power.
- Knowledge of our rights and how to exercise them.
- Knowledge that we can raise our voices to call out the things we refuse to stand for any longer.
- Knowledge of that there is a lot of work to be done, but that it’s worth it to build a better world.
Properly applied, knowledge can combat the problems we see on the news and, for some, in our neighborhoods.