Being color brave

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I had in mind to write a post today, because it’s been way too long. Then … I read this. And nothing I have the energy or the time to say measures up.

Please read it. Think about it. Click the links. Something has to change, and it starts with you – and you – and you – and me – and you.

Oh, and by the way, I am routinely stopped for traffic violations. The routine goes as follows: Cop peers into car. Sees apologetic middle aged white woman and a couple of cute dogs. Says, “Ma’am, slow down. And you have a nice day now.” The end.

The Monster in Your Closet

Sandra Bland was taken into custody after failing to signal a lane change.

She died in custody a few days later. Though she’d tried to post bail just two hours before and would soon be starting her dream job, she was reported as having committed suicide.

I would have taken this story at face value a few months ago, but something happened to change that.

I was between jobs a couple months after events in Ferguson, Missouri inspired a series of protests across the nation. While my children slept, I browsed Twitter, Instagram and Vine for firsthand accounts of both protests and police brutality. I became increasingly agitated by the stark differences between firsthand–yet somehow “unofficial”?–accounts and the secondhand news media accounts treated as official. To hear the secondhand accounts represented as truth infuriated me. I also felt guilty, because I’d never before thought to question reporting I’d more or less taken for neutral presentation of fact…

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About Belladonna Took

Into my second half-century and still trying to figure out what to be when I grow up. Born South African, naturalized American, at constant risk of losing my balance and landing ass-first in the Atlantic. A wife, a mom, a daughter and sister, kind of a grandma. Until recently a full-time dog rescuer, now more concerned with rescuing myself. User of dog hair as accessory, decor and garnish. Technical writer, strategic thinker, occasional entrepreneur. Voiceless poet and storyteller. Born again Christ-follower and former missionary schoolteacher chewing on some uncomfortable questions. Ignorer of rules, challenger of assumptions, believer in miracles. Skeptical libertarian, equal opportunity despiser of politicians and assholes. Gonnabe gardener, wannabe beekeeper, Monsanto-hating tree-hugger. Morbidly obese chocaholic, with a horse I don't ride because I might break him, and if not he would probably break me.

9 responses »

  1. Thank you for reblogging this.

    I wish I’d documented every single thing I read, ordered it so that I could neatly reference exactly which article I read when I found this or what reference I was citing when I said that. Instead, I have this mess of hundreds of sources that create a mass of understanding hard to break down into little pieces … and easy to discount by anyone who hasn’t seen evidence of that which they don’t want–or need–to see.

    I’m trying to get better at sources now. But it breaks my heart, so, so deeply, knowing that there is no way to transfer what I have seen into some small, short text that would sway all who read.

    At first I started watching the videos because I would sure I would find evidence of victims doing something wrong. The more I watched where there was nothing instigating lethal fear, nor time to respond or understand what was happening, the more I felt like my world was crumbling. If the good guys aren’t the good guys, and even questioning whether they’re acting like good guys is seen as a moral fault of the questioner, what’s left in this world? What I landed at was: hope.

    So I keep seeking it, and trying to build it in little conversations day to day. And by reading books like Blink, and wondering how I can be part of filtering out its wisdom into day to day operations in ways that will save so many lives.

    Big, big hugs.

    Like

    • You know … I think there has to be at least a small chink of willingness to learn – to see – for truth to begin to enter. Otherwise you’re simply talking to a wall. In other words, it doesn’t really matter that you’re not providing a dissertation here. This is a subject you raise at intervals, and each time you add another piece of truth, and another and another … and each time it opens that chink a little wider.

      And it’s not as though this is hidden knowledge. Any idiot with a search engine can find it. I did! I was shattered, angered, recognized I – and anyone else who believes in “good guys” – was being betrayed on a daily basis. And it’s not as though I didn’t know the ugly wickedness in the hearts of people – I grew up in South Africa during the apartheid era, didn’t I? But it has been an ongoing shock to learn that racism in the Land of the Free is as deep and as foul and as pervasive as ANYTHING I ever saw or heard about growing up.

      You are a tremendous challenge to me. I want to write about these “big issues” … but I keep bumping up against the thought that I have nothing new to say, and why would anyone care about my opinion anyway? This post reminded me that … well … it’s not about me. It’s about speaking the truth. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The news media focuses on people who have a high monetary value, I think. Though that’s not just the media. If you are part of the underclass you are not just expendable, you’re invisible, too.

    Like

    • I think you’re right, for the most part – and by that assessment, we are pretty much all part of the “underclass”. The pie beneath the crust, as it were. But on the other hand, we don’t have to let our own behavior be governed by the media or by the trendsetters it exalts.

      Liked by 1 person

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