*This piece was written after viewing Jon Stewart’s segment on the Charleston shooting*
Writing about the hard things, the painful things that we face as a people, has never been my strong suit. That makes me part of the problem. You see, I’ve been mulling this over for a while now and I grow more disillusioned and more enraged with each coming day.
We are steeped in a culture of complacency. We are complacent about the things that matter and infuriated by the things that don’t. I’m guilty of it too—but here is what I cannot stand….the sense of blindness. The obstinate INSISTENCE that as we stare things straight in the eyes that we can call it a sheep when it’s a wolf.
We do not live in a post racial society. We are not free of the evils of bigotry; it attacks our culture, our friends, and entire groups of people every day. But when we see it for ourselves, I so often find myself saying “They can’t deny it now, surely they see it now, there’s no way they can’t.” Oh, but it’s the same every time. In the wake of this horrific act of terrorism on our soil, we boil the Charleston shooting down to a crazy person, an extremist. While his act was extreme, this individual is not alone. He is not the only man who believes that black Americans are less. Calling him crazy or extreme is an excuse. It makes him more than he is. He is a man—and men are capable of evil acts. Let us not overlook that fact. Let us not see the evils of man and call him a monster. He is a man and he did evil things—evil things we’d do well to remember that anyone CAN do. This isn’t fiction, we aren’t talking about the swamp creature coming out of the lagoon to wreak havoc. The scariest of stories are those we know are possible, because the acts were executed by people.
And that IS what we should be scared of. We should be scared of what people are capable of, of what everyone is capable of. We should look at ourselves and see our lack of care and lack of action and we should be scared of that too.
We should face our complacency and decide that it’s enough. We’ve been silent long enough, blind long enough, in denial long enough. It’s time we stop this and recognize that racism is alive and thriving in our country and we should come together to end it. After all, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” I don’t want to be part of the silence anymore.