Remote, and Useless
I went to the BLM meeting at the park in our town Tuesday night. There were speakers of all ages addressing a crowd of three or four hundred. There was enthusiastic and noisy support for the spoken words. When the speeches were done, we lined the sidewalks of the highway that passes to the West of the town and shouted and waved signs. And then, once the event was over, I returned to my nice comfy bourgeois house and poured myself a drink. Until I start a more active and involved plan that might add to what appears to be a movement in the country, my outrage is remote. Remote and useless.
It shames me to say this but I already knew of the level of injustice African Americans and other minorities suffer day to day. I already knew and was thinking surely someone else with more power, with better words and networks could do the job that obviously needs doing. I already knew, and since I am nothing if not an average white man I guess most if not all the white folk at last nights meeting had thought the same. And if that is true then nationwide we number in the millions. We are all remotely outraged. Outraged and desperate to know what to do.
It will not be easy to reverse the accumulated injustices of hundreds of years that white power and privilege have heaped on African Americans, Hispanics, Chinese, and other Asian minorities. The scars are on both sides. Minorities bear them most painfully in every part of their daily lives from the day they are born. We, the white majority are lessened by our inactivity, by the far less painful side effects of remote outrage. We should be and could be more, and somehow, collectively, we chose not to. We have chosen to be in a way, absent.
We can blame our leaders. But unless you live in Russia or China, your leaders reflect, albeit at a distance, your wishes. How else can so many racist politicians continue to be in power? And so, my first step is to acknowledge all of the truths. All of the uncomfortable truths that I buried and ignored, making me a smaller man. There will be more steps, many more. But I have to start somehow.