Thursday, September 22, 2016

Empty

life, black lives matter, advocacy, raising my voice, standing with friends, showing support, unity, #saytheirnames

I wrote this post yesterday. Or maybe more like over the past few days. There has been a lot of rewriting and a lot of adding more words to it. I'm lacking words, and yet I have oh-so-many. Where to begin? Our country is struggling. The cracks in the foundation are shifting in visible ways. My words may not be enough, but I need to say them and share them anyway.

Facebook tells me this morning that today is the International Day of Peace, or something like that.

Facebook obviously has not been paying attention to the news.

Or my wall.

Or much of my feed.

Or anything at all, maybe.

Because there's no peace happening.

Not internationally. Not nationally.

It's just. Not. Happening.

Yesterday I started writing. I started thinking. I started breathing in the hurt and pain of many of my friends. Another black man lost his life. Another black man lost his life at the hands of a police officer. Someone who took an oath to serve and protect.

Please - please know this - there are men and women in blue I respect. I trust. And I know. I have known and loved - love - many an officer - family, friends. I've known in my heart that what they do is essential. What they do is put their lives on the line so the rest of us can live ours. If you know me you know that I've lived most of my life in New York. Worked for over a decade in New York City. Went to school there. Lived through 9/11. Watched it unfold. Watched the first responders save lives. Lose their own. This? This is not about that.

I struggle with my words. I don't want to lose anyone here. This is not headed where you think it is, please stay with me. I need to say this - want to say this - because there are many people I know and love who love men and women in blue (or whatever color they wear to represent their service). And I know that some of them may believe that any word against any of them is against them all.

It's not. It's just not.

I can't stress that enough.

But you can't go into a situation like this and say NOT ALL. Because it invalidates what people are experiencing. It's like those social media shares about men harassing women on the streets. #notallmen - Sure. OF COURSE. Not all men. Nobody is saying that is IS all men. Just as nobody is saying that it is all officers. And if anyone IS? I'll stand with you, right beside you, saying that they're wrong.

But there's a disconnect somewhere. I don't know where. I don't know why. What's happening. Happened. But it's there. Something is wrong and we can't ignore it.

And while we're on the subject of "not all" and misinterpretations, saying black lives matter doesn't mean other lives do not. It's black lives matter, TOO. The too doesn't need to be there, just put it in your head if it makes you feel better. Please.

But coming into a discussion about BLM and saying WHAT ABOUT-? "_______" insert other race, culture, community, religion here. Takes away from the discussion.

Do you really think that someone who says black lives matter does NOT think that ALL lives matter? But you see - the point is - that until black lives truly matter all lives CANNOT matter. Because black lives are a part of all lives.

Why do people just not get this?

It's so simple. So easy.

Why is it so insulting to you - whoever you are? - to hear people advocate for the causes that matter to them?

What are you afraid of?

I'm so sad this morning. So terribly sad. I don't even know where to take this.

Yesterday I started writing and asked why people get more upset over a television character dying than an actual person. And then? When I didn't post that right away - I ended up laughing - because the Brangelina break-up was all over the news. And social media. And so. There you have it. One thing surpasses another.

I'm a celebrity gossip addict. I am. I confess it. Admit it. I'm not ashamed. When Brad and Jennifer broke up I called my sister-in-law and woke her and my brother up because I was in shock. I was. truly. It didn't really MATTER to me. It had no impact on my life. It was celebrity news. That's all. And I was affected by it anyway.

And so. When I look at all the senseless deaths. Of men. Women. Boys.

It doesn't truly impact my day-to-day.

I'm being honest.

I'm a white woman in the state of North Carolina. How impacted could I be?

I have the privilege of not being touched by all of this.

I can be scared. I can weep. I can ache. But this is not my reality.

I don't worry when my husband comes home late that maybe he's had an incident [that word is so severely lacking] because of the color of his skin. Sure, I worry. And sure, I live with anxiety and so I do come up with worst case scenarios. But they usually go in the direction of - oh, G-d, I hope he wasn't in an accident - NOT - Oh, G-d, I hope he didn't get pulled over by the cops ... or shot for no reason ... or that he's laying on the street somewhere while someone is recording his final moments - or whatever else. Whatever the eff else.

And I know. I KNOW that not every single individual is perfect. Not every single individual is innocent. Sure not. But they're presumed to be. Aren't they? Isn't that how our country works? And when they're apprehended they should walk out with their lives. Intact.

It can be done because we see it done every day. Every.single.day. Men and women of law enforcement DO apprehend peacefully. But there's a problem there. It's not the same for ALL people. It's not the same at all. It's off. Different. It's statistically wrong. It's a scenario where the color of our skin matters. And that's wrong, my friends.

There are some words you'll see tossed around, words you think don't apply to you and the people you love. And I hope that's the truth. We all do. Always. But they're out there.

Prejudice. Bigotry. Racism.

It's happening. Not behind our backs or under our noses, but in front of our faces and right before our eyes. See it. You must see it.

And if you cannot understand that, and if you cannot see why it is important to raise our voices? I know not where to take this with you. I don't know what else to say. Some of you may be people I know and love. People who feel like you're family. And I don't know what to do with that. I don't know what to say. I hope we can find a way through this. Can find ways to understand one another. I hope you're still with me. Reading. Listening. Thinking. Processing. Because lives are depending on it. So so many lives.

And for those of you who do not know me? Who do not know my friends and have much to say about why all of this is wrong? Why all of this is just not so?

Your colors are showing, and they're not accepted here.

2 comments:

Glenda said...

Andrea, it's call lack of empathy. When people can't relate to the issues of another, they simply pretend it isn't happening, or that is doesn't matter, or they find excuses to justify the behavior. There has always been a systematic, dehumanization of the black man and culture. What's happening now, in a more visible way, is what has always happened in our country.

cara sue achterberg said...

Beautifully written, heartfelt, and true. You said so many things that I am feeling. I only wish these words could be heard. For what it's worth, I heard them and I underline them and I'll share them. thanks for writing.

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