Thursday, August 17, 2017

Hodgepodge 292/365 - Charlottesville

I have not written about the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, the past weekend, but I have been following them, reading the eye-witness accounts and the commentary. I live in a crucible of moderation here in California, though I do have conservative friends who no doubt would disagree with me (they might call it a crucible of liberalism, or libtardism, or something). But no, I can't fathom what it's like to live in the South and watch white supremacists swagger into town waving weapons, brandishing torches, throwing Nazi salutes, and yelling hateful rhetoric.

[here is where I would post an image of same:
but there's already too much ugliness in the world,
so I won't]

I also can't truly understand what it's like to be black in this country, or an immigrant (legal or undocumented), or Native American, or Muslim, or Jewish, or LGBTQ, or poor, or sick, or disabled, or uneducated. I don't know what it's like to be you, any of you out there. But I can try to understand. And to speak up for the truths I perceive.

I am better at reading than at acting. Here is a list I found of 18 books "white allies" should read. I could start there, to cultivate understanding. (I have read two of the eighteen. I've got a ways to go.) And here are 17 books on race "that every white person needs to read" (many are on both lists).

That said, I am trying to become more activist, though it's not in my quiet, retiring nature. But I think action is the most important avenue we can take. So . . . I'm trying. I'll never be good at it.

I am also privileged: white, well enough off, not much to worry about at least for now, not until my health starts to fail, and then, the way things are going, I'll have plenty to worry about. But so will we all. Well, 99 percent of us.

In any event, I recognize that that privileged status makes my "activism" problematic. I recall the dismissals of the Women's March in January; the critics made valid points, and yet, there was passion on the streets of Washington that day, directed toward the good that this country can be, which should not be discounted. I cannot and do not pretend to speak for anyone other than me. Being me, I do know that injustice, intolerance, prejudice, bigotry, hatred exist, even if I've been fortunate enough never to have experienced those things profoundly. I have never been raped or physically abused, but I know women who have (something that even privilege doesn't shield one from). And I can condemn those things.

Charlottesville candlelight vigil, 8/16/17

I do believe that we are all in this together, as Americans, as participants in this big messy culture, and as human beings. At root, I believe we all want similar things: safety, a decent place to live, enough to eat, health, love and connection—at the very least. But some of us are afraid and angry—some quite justifiably, some not so much. It's all complicated, but there is never a reason for hate.

Our humanity makes us one.

1 comment:

  1. One of the many things I found really disturbing during that horrible event was the hateful young people. Somehow, I'd thought this kind of hate was more of an older generation. But I suppose it is passed down from one generation to another. Still.