I’ve been wondering how to write about this week. I’m not a reporter who’s on the ground. I’m not a black man who can relate to the incidents in Baton Rouge and Falcon Heights. I’m not a police officer or a son of a police officer. I’m a white, middle-class, taxpayer, who is liberal in convictions. Adding these all up, my Facebook post, my tweet, my digital record of this probably isn’t going to change minds. I am safe writing this. I am not being paid to write this. It is Sunday morning and I am sipping coffee while sitting on my couch. I have a bunch of things going for me in that regard.
Something still doesn’t feel right though. I believe that my skin color has benefited me. Being raised with a brother who is from El Salvador taught me that early on. I was never the subject of racial insults like he was (is,probalby). There probably have been hundreds of little events that I’ve never noticed. We don’t talk about it much as a family. But I’ll save that unpacking for another blog post.
I wanted to say something earlier this week, but there seemed to be a lot of voices speaking all at once. I didn’t know what to feel, what to say, or who to blame. Yet, not even 12 hours after the death of Alton Sterling, people had already formed opinions of the person, the events, and who to blame for everything. That made me queasy. And the thing is, it happened again after Philando Castille and Dallas. People on both sides think they have everything figured. For a lot of that, I blame social media and the rapidly disintegrating attention span of the American populace. I don’t think that helps matters at all. While I don’t want voices silenced, you also don’t have to say anything on social media. You can take a breath, think about your words, and then type out a thoughtful, informed opinion. I’ve unfollowed a lot of people for knee-jerk reactions after tragedies.
And while I’d like to think my friends are well-meaning people, I think my generation has come to equate a Facebook post with “doing something.” It’s not. It’s fine, but no cares. (The same can be said for this blog post, while I thank loyal readers, this isn’t an influential blog.) What I mean by that is this, the words are coming from a safe space. And that’s fine. I’m not going to blame anyone for where life has led them, but I don’t think a lot of my Facebook friends are writing from a place of discomfort. I’m writing from a place of comfort.
That’s been what else I’ve been thinking about this week. How do I make myself uncomfortable to help a cause?
I did something, but it’s just the start. I sent an email to an organization where I’d like to volunteer. It’s a good organization that I heard about through church. I realize I’m being vague here, but I’ll save the updates for another blog post.