Thursday, December 4, 2014

Now What?

So, Ferguson.

I'm sure I don't need to tell you what happened there. Or rather, didn't happen. A grand jury didn't charge a man who shot down a teen. 

Though I think it's misleading to call it a lack of action or something that didn't happen. It was a choice that people made, a clear choice not to pursue justice. 

I don't often write about these things. I am made uncomfortable by the reactions afterwards, the cultural quagmire I have to sift through in my Facebook feed, the racism, the self-righteousness, and the confusion as to what is supposed to be my reaction. I am made uncomfortable by writing about my own emotions and reactions to these kinds of events.

I don't know what the right reaction is. I don't know what is acceptable for me to express or admit. Today I saw several posts on Facebook. One status: "If you are white and you are not angry about Ferguson, you are the problem."

I had an ex who constantly criticized me for not being open with my emotions and sharing my feelings. True, I'm not the most touchy-feely of people. But it's more difficult to be "open" with my emotions when I have trouble identifying what those emotions are. And here, I'm trying to identify what this is. I don't really have any deep emotions to share in this post because mainly I just feel blank.

Blank, or empty, because "dead inside" is a little too melodramatic. But there is some kind of numbness or deadness to this. Blank; that's a good word. Compartmentalization? Maybe.

I understand on an objective, intellectual level that this is not the correct, good way to feel about Ferguson. I ought not to feel blank or numb because that leads to cynicism, and cynicism doesn't enable change; it impedes it.

I don't think feeling blank necessarily has to lead to acceptance of "the way things are." It doesn't have to be this way. I'll keep following and signing my petitions and voting and doing the things that I do. I still want change in race relations in this country and I believe that that is possible and I can do my bit to help that happen.

And do all that feeling sort of blank. Like when you try to run a program but it's too big so your computer just quits and gives you the blue screen of nope. Maybe there's just too much here for me to process.

Oh, look, it's another white person twisting Ferguson to be all about herself.

But it's kind of misleading to say that this isn't about me, isn't it? That this isn't about all of us, all of America? Because every time a white person denies that Ferguson has anything to do with them, they abdicate guilt and pretend their privilege doesn't exist, and that is wrong.

Anyway, I wrote this post because I couldn't get away from the need to express something about police brutality. I am tired of hearing about these "he-said-corpse-said" scenarios. Tired also of the talking heads on Fox News claiming that police brutality or people's reactions to it have nothing to do with race. Tired of how invested America seems to be in sweeping shit under the rug. 

Tired. Tired, tired, tired. Fed. Up.

2 comments:

  1. I think of it a bit like an ER technician. The stuff they see. Horrifying. They too, however, get numb to it, or at least far less affected by it over time. In a sense they have to be in order to do the job. They're very calling to heal and save lives requires them to not become too shocked by injuries and illness.

    I think that's sort of where lots of us in the country are about this Ferguson thing, as well as with the latest lack of indictment in New York. There is an element of being disgusted and upset, but it becomes so common, that we push it somewhere else. The sheer volume of this sort of nightmare makes it less likely to illicit feelings right away. An accumulative effect is more likely, as time passes from each of these events. Then it all adds up, and that perhaps can lead to change and action, just as the surgeon can eventually operate. But until then, it all is just so much negative stimulus that many of us just don't feel it right away anymore.

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    1. Not that it doesn't impact me (I didn't word this post very well) but I already don't seem to respond emotionally in the same ways as do other people. And getting angry is not how I function best. I can't work at my best when angry. For me to make some kind of difference, I need to be at my best and for me that means keeping my cool. So maybe some of my reaction is actually conscious. Dunno. Anyway.

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