| SILE SINGLETON
I’ve had a real difficult time trying to write this article. My thoughts have been muddled, affected, not so much by the news, but by my observations of friends, family, co-workers and acquaintances. I admit to feeling annoyed. I mean, come on folks. I don’t know how anyone thirty or older can really say, “This is shocking.” Every day in mainland America, thousands of ‘somebodies’ who are not rich, not white, not straight, not suburban, not educated, not documented, not able-bodied, not American, not Christian, not male, not within a typical gender box, not the ever-elusive dominant culture stakeholder have violent and/or life-terminating experiences directly related to what they are not.
I originally swore to myself that I was not going to write about the “Ferguson Situation” at all because I felt on a whole lot of levels that it was expected of me. And dammit, I just didn’t feel like saying it again. But of course, ‘cause Jesus got jokes, three things happened that have left me with but one choice.
Second, a 21-year-old gay black male church member and mentee of mine, remarked that he did not go to the Ferguson-to-Columbus march/rally because “they wouldn’t stand up for me,” presumably because he is gay, “so why would I stand up for what they are doing?” I was struck by his outrage, fear and pain.
Third, my ten-year-old “mixed-race” daughter was shocked and exclaimed after listening to an NPR report (I thought she hated talk radio) “Mama, they are lying on the national radio. They just said we are a post-racism society. They said racism is less because of President Obama. Mama? Can they lie on the radio? ‘Cause that is not true. If they think that is true, they should come to my school. There is still racism, Mama.” I was struck by her outrage, fear and pain.
And so here it is: For those of you in shock, allow your brain to accept the reality of our world. Racism and its kissing cousins are not dead. That is the lie that we get suckered into believing and acting out when we don’t stay aware and focused on the relations and personal interactions that we have with flesh and blood. Get me? Scream, cry, write letters to your congress person, march, pray, whatever it is that gets you out of the static funk of our divergent-esque society. Then start or join a conversation.
It is scary – and it doesn’t feel great. It is going to be awkward because being disconnected is what we are taught. It hurts less. Yes, it sucks, but the reward is priceless.