I’m late on this, but I guess there is no “late” when writing about problems that have existed for centuries. Seeing as I like to fancy myself a writer I thought I should throw my two cents into the pool of opinion on this whole Eric Garner, Michael Brown, police are workers of the devil thing. Better late than never, even if I’m the only one who ever reads this.
I’ll keep it short.
I haven’t joined any protests, violent, silent or otherwise. Part of me gets frustrated sometimes and thinks what can I do? How can I make all this go away, how can we make all this go away? And then I realize that I can’t. We can’t. Not completely anyway, and certainly not overnight.
What I can do is defeat stereotypes by living my life the way I want to live it. I can stop allowing terms like “acting black” or “acting white” to exist and to define me. I can help to vanquish this “us” vs “them” attitude that kindles the fires of racism and prejudice. This fight to end violence and to defeat ignorance is not just the fight of the minority. If people from the majority don’t join us, we’re shouting into the void.
Part of fighting ignorance is when we stop pretending there isn’t a problem. I hear people say, “well it’s just said when anybody dies.” Or “Not all police are bad. They do a lot for our country.” Those people have looked up, mouths agape as the point flies right over there heads, just out of reach. Yes, it is incredibly sad when anyone dies, but to pretend like the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and countless other black men is not racially motivated at all is wrong. There are bad people out there, within our government, within the police force, within our schools and churches and communities who still harbor racism in their hearts. To pretend this isn’t so is allowing the problem to exist.
So that’s where we start. Us, down here at the bottom who can’t miss work to go to protests. Us who have seemingly little influence over anyone or anything. When we let the smallest ignorant comment or workplace “joke’ to slide past, we’re letting ignorance stay alive. We’re passing it on to our children, we’re allowing it to be commonplace.
If our hearts and our minds are never transformed, no amount of protesting in the streets or government petitions will change our world.
Apparently, there are people who do not understand the concept of “relaxation.” The idea that some of us will take 24 whole hours and not leave our bedrooms is foreign to these people. There’s some kind of pride I suppose in being a workaholic, and always having to be busy. I do not possess such traits. The idea of living in constant motion disturbs me.
I made a pit stop in Chicago this weekend and I found myself in Union Station for several hours. I people watched, but most of the people were moving so fast it was more of a people blur. Lots of coffee cups and the brisk movements of humans on a mission to get here or there. I suppose I understand it, vaguely. Nobody wants to feel like they aren’t making some kind of contribution to the world, or even to their world, the small communities we all inhabit. We want to feel important, like if we didn’t show up to this meeting or that workshop, everything would fall apart.
I don’t think that’s reality though. I think that’s just a fantasy we all dwell in, a way to make ourselves feel important. But maybe this statement doesn’t matter because it’s coming from someone who is fairly replaceable.
Anyway, just as much as it’s important to feel needed, valued, appreciated, it’s also important to just take a second. Waste a few hours, and don’t try to get them back or make up for them.
We humans do this really dumb thing where we want to compare everything. Nothing can stand alone as good or bad or tragic or happy. Everything has to be “as good as…” or “as funny as…” People call Sam Smith “the male Adele” because he can’t just be Sam Smith. He has to take the place of Adele (who is only like, 25, so nobody is taking her place yet). When tragedies occur, they are “the worst ___ since ____.”
That’s fine, I get why we have to do it. We want to reconcile this new thing with an old thing, or we want to compare it to decide whether we like it more or less. But sometimes, we go a little overboard.
Once, someone asked me if I thought the Holocaust or slavery was worse. They weren’t trying to be funny or just get a random opinion. They actually wanted to debate me on which tragedy was worse (they had already decided the Holocaust was). My answer? Are you serious? And then I said a bunch of other stuff along the lines of you cannot compare human suffering because it’s all pretty awful. Whether it’s one dead or thousands, one enslaved or millions, it’s all injustice. So on. So forth.
ANYWAY, I say all that to say this. About 5 minutes ago, Aaron Paul tweeted this:
You are terrible.
Everyone who actually cares about living creatures.
Release your slaves.”
Personally I thought it was great (I’m bias maybe because I think Aaron Paul is pretty awesome… but I digress). Anyway, so someone commented this: “dude, little kids in palestine are being bombed rn and you’re talking about sea creatures lol.”
So many things can be said about this reply but I’m going to try to stick to my point. (But I have to say this. Lol? Seriously? You just brought up a serious issue and you end it with lol?).
Why can’t someone take up issue with the mistreatment of animals and the death of children in war ravaged countries? Is it impossible and/or ridiculous to care for both things? Do you have to put aside the mistreatment of animals to care about human suffering? I don’t think so. I think our brains, while sometimes faulty (like when we end a sentence about children dying in Palestine with lol) but I think we can manage to advocate more than one issue. Sure, on the scale of things that matter, dying children are above enslaved Orca whales. But that doesn’t mean you can’t voice your disdain for both.
In a manner of speaking, post-college life is like an animal being released into the wild. Having been coddled and cared for by the kind humans, fostering it’s health with only the precarious animals best interests at heart, the poor creature has no idea what atrocities await it in what is supposed to be it’s “natural habitat.” Does it know that sometimes in the wild, lions will eat each other when pushed to the brink of starvation? Or that one small injury to the leg of a gazelle could prove fatal because if you’re in the back of the pack, it’s only a matter of time before the lioness singles you out. No, the spoiled little animal doesn’t know that because all it’s life it has been fed and looked after. And told it was special.
And now, out in the great blue yonder, it realizes it’s not special at all and that there are other, more talented animals with similar spots who can run faster and catch more limping gazelles.
But I digress.
None of us are snowflakes. I mean, in terms of our DNA, yes, we are special. Nobody has the same finger print as you, so yeah, in that way, you are incredibly unique. But the idea that no one else can bring to the world what you can? That is hogwash. There are at least 1 million people (probably, I have no scientific data to prove this) that can bring the same spirit, energy and expertise to any number of things that I can. There are tons of people with the same point of view, the same ideals and values. I am not special in that regard.
Then again… when I watch America’s Got Talent, I’m tempted to join the “special snowflake” coalition because some of the things I’ve seen on that show just can’t be duplicated. I mean, a guy ate cacti. What is that about?
If I were a celebrity, I would go to greater lengths to protect my good deeds than I would my personal life. I think it’s really great that a lot of famous people are so philanthropic and give so generously. When you’re given that much money for a job that really shouldn’t be paying you that much, you should do something with it besides buy… I dunno, diamond encrusted hubcaps, or.. whatever rich people buy.
I just saw an article about how Taylor Swift donated a bunch of money to a hospital and then did something else (I don’t know what the else is.. I didn’t read the article. I just saw it). And that’s great, so, so great. But I would like to think that Taylor Swift didn’t do this so that someone from Yahoo! could say “oh, oh, look at Taylor! She did something nice! She’s probably trying to get our attention so we can write an article about it.” As soon as I see an article like that I think, “Ohmygawd Taylor, we get it, you have money and you give it to people. Stop shoving it in our faces.” Her doing good makes me not like her, which is irrational and unfair. She isn’t doing it. The all elusive they are responsible.
Also, whenever a male/female celebrity (especially an attractive one) does anything even remotely endearing, there is this love and adoration that is a little misplaced. They are basically seen as demigods who can do no wrong. Without ever actually requesting it, they are put on this pedestal and if they ever do anything to try and sneak off of it, well.. you’ve seen it happen.
Anyway, basketball stuff is starting and I’m going to pretend to have been paying attention to it the whole season.
“Well, if I were in charge, they would know that waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists.”
For one, let’s all thank God Sarah Palin isn’t in charge of much. I mean, the only thing she’s really got dominion over is her mouth, and she can’t seem to get that under control.
It’s exhausting and redundant to talk about how classless Sarah Palin is, so I won’t. But I will group her together with another rich, entitled person who recently made headlines, you may have heard his name being bounced around lately? Donald Sterling? Yeah. The thing I’m noticing is that these people who say the most horrendous things, the most repulsive, unpopular things? They made it to the top, they’re not wanting for anything, and they didn’t get there by accident. They also didn’t just suddenly become racist and/or ignorant.
The shocking thing is actually the shock. The fact that these people keep getting exposed for their blood curdling stupidity, and we all sit slack-jawed and confused, that’s the sad thing. When you live in a society where people think that ignoring race and/or racism is how to deal with it, you get Sarah Palins and Donald Sterlings. People get to keep their prejudice views as long as it’s only said in private conversations, or at NRA conventions where everybody is agreeing and cheering–where ignorance is being validated.
I want this to be said. Sarah Palin is not a Christian. She worships at the alter of Fox News and Palin, and uses God’s name as a crutch for her agenda. I’m a Christian, and I know a lot of Christians, and they are humble people who give of themselves for the good of others. We are taught to be selfless and accepting and to approach everything we do with love. Do Christians always accomplish that? Not in the least–but the good ones try. Sarah Palin does everything to advance her cause of belittling anyone she finds to be beneath her or who disagree’s with her ludicrous views.
Usually, by the third missed call, I have Law & Order crime scenes playing out in my head. That’s what technology has done to me. It’s made me think that if my parents/siblings/friends do not answer their phones in a timely manner, only the most horrifying things could be happening to them. Usually it’s “I forgot to charge my phone” or “I’m in class” or “I’m in a meeting.” But for the whole gut wrenching, ulcer inducing 30 minutes, I can’t do anything but worry. It’s irrational.
Same with Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. It’s created a whole new etiquette for human behavior. If you are a regular tweeter or selfie taker or Facebook activist poster, your words become like internet white noise. But if you go a week or two weeks without posting, people might start to worry. (If nobody worries, you might want to reconsider the validity of your internet presence.) So now, perhaps it’s common courtesy to let people know “Hey, I’m taking an internet fast, don’t worry I’m not dead.” Even though when people do that now, they might as well be jumping up and down saying “Me, me! I’m important, notice me!”
Also, can I just say that I know more guys that eat yogurt than girls? I can’t with these commercials where women so happily indulge in a giant, goopy spoonful of yogurt as if it really tastes like Key Lime Pie. Give me. A Break.