Last week I was so tired.
Danny Ray Thomas
It was that tiredness that you can feel in your bones.
It was a weariness that comes from living each day in a constant state of motion, both mental and physical.
So this week, I decided to be still.
Keith Lamont Scott
And in that stillness, some truth came through.
A truth that I have a hard time thinking, let alone writing
because it’s in the pieces of news I see every day,
that we all see every single day.
The news informs us that another Black mother and father
of their son.
The news informs us that another Black man or Black boy or Black trans woman or Black adopted child
has been murdered in cold blood
…with the whole world watching.
If we let it, the news even tells us how to feel about each situation,
by omitting a name
streaming only certain parts of a video clip
ensuring we see the repetition of
People shake their heads in pity.
Addie Mae Collins
There seems to be a lot of generally expressed sorrow about each situation.
Until next week, when another death makes the news.
And we roll back the pages of our memories and remember
that none of this is new.
Some days it is unbearable to wake up to a world where people state openly that #blacklivesmatter yet the facts, videos, statistics, etc. etc. etc. show society at large is not doing enough to break the patterns of thought and behavior that keep the cycle going.
- There is a problem with white rage in our society.
- There is a denial of and refusal to face documented historical facts in our society.
- There is a failure to confront an ugly truth–that our society values some lives more than others and routinely, systematically robs people of color of their humanity, while lying about it.
- There is a physical, and emotional price all people from historically marginalized or oppressed groups pay for regularly watching or hearing about people like us being murdered in cold blood.
It is a tax collected without our consent.
I try to counter it in every way imaginable, but awareness of all of the ways carrying this burden could be the end of me is always there, buried in the recesses of my mind.
Though the world I grew up in (with its conspicuous lack of representation) would have us believe we are invisible, clearly, both in life, and especially in death–we are not.
So I ask again, do our lives really matter (to you)? If so, what is the next level of what you are going to do? Do what you’ve always done, or only what is easy, and what has always happened will continue to occur. How many more video clips or retweeted news articles will it take? Though I appreciate the awareness and immediacy viral videos lend to the cause, I’m beginning to wonder if people aren’t getting desensitized or worse yet, developing a fascination for “clickbait”, feasting on the footage of horrific acts contributing to the creation of an increasingly less humane society.
Still, looking away is hardly the answer…We should know by now that avoidance of dealing with pain, discomfort, or sorrow is one of the surest ways to guarantee more of it.
We are none of us as separate from one another as we have been lead to believe. Separation is an illusion, and one day, the effect of all the pain and trauma this nation has impressed upon the bodies and collective memories of people of color will come for us all. Maybe it already has.
As difficult as it may be to consider this, my truth is that the only way to heal is to move forward. The only way forward is together–though painful that may be. My hope, and my constant prayer is that we can somehow find a way forward, together.