It seems like every week I have trouble writing here on this blog because some catastrophic event has taken place that makes me feel irreverent writing about the topics usually covered here.
This week, a white man walked into an historical landmark and killed nine people all because he hated them and was afraid they had too much power.
I know, I know; we don’t know his motivation because we can’t be in his head. I know, I know; racism is a loaded word and people get very anxious when we start throwing it around. I know, I know; church is a sanctuary and it’s a tragedy that people can’t feel safe there. I know, I know; gun control. I know, I know; mental health.
You know what I think when I see all these arguments quickly jump up on traditional and social media? It’s not nice what I think. I think, F*** THIS. I think, who the hell are we trying to kid that this is anything other than blatant, ugly, racial terrorism? We don’t need any more facts than we already have, jacket patches included.
Then I think, what a relief that we finally have something so, pardon the pun, black and white. I mean, when there are police involved, it always devolves into an us and them situation and no one wants to pick sides because maybe there shouldn’t even be sides to begin with. Not all police are evil (I’d argue most aren’t) and no person, no matter their color deserves to be shot in the back, or running away or choked to death by a crowd of men, no matter what their crime or previous record. We should all agree on those points and yet somehow we can’t.
When it’s a mass shooting in a place where people are supposed to feel protected, we focus on safety and gun control and the overall tragedy of innocent lives lost. These aren’t bad things, but they don’t really get us anywhere in the long run except maybe more suspicious of one another.
This time, this time it’s racist and obvious and we should all be shouting together about the horrific nature of the crime and asking about what we can do to make this shit finally stop.
But we can’t even seem to do that in a case that is So. Damn. Clear.
Here is my problem. I don’t know what to do. I am angry, really, really angry. But I’m also heartbroken. I watch movies about when terrorism happens in churches in this country and it breaks my heart that it ever had to happen and now it’s occurring in my every day. So, I’m angry and I’m deeply sad and I feel truly and utterly powerless because, I’m the one that’s supposed to have the power and I know I have a responsiblity to do something and I am up to owning that responsibility but I just don’t know what to do with it.
Sure, I raise my kids in a way that I think is helpful for the future and I share things on social media that I hope people see, but that can’t be all. I read and listen and mull it over in my mind again and again and again. I pray and I worry and I lose sleep over it.
And I still don’t know what to do. I am not sure what blocks me. Confusion? Feeling inadequate? Is it because I’m always afraid to ask? Because how white and privileged is that? “Hey, friends of color, help a girl out with some 411. Help me help you.” I make my own self sick.
I wish I could end this post in my usual hopeful “here’s what’s next” fashion. But I can’t.
Because here I sit. Sad and angry and pretty freakin’ hopeless with the firm belief that I should be doing something but no earthly idea of what to do. All I knew was that I had to write, because I can’t have posts up here about anything else until I do. Charleston happened. A white kid shot and killed nine black citizens because of pure hate. I refuse to pretend it doesn’t affect us all. Now I just need to figure out my role in making it stop.
P.S. Looking for more parenting guidance and tips for self-care? Check out From Chaos to Calm a guided training to help you feel better in this tough season.
This is a big hairy issue and most of us can’t wrap our arms around it, much less or hearts when they are full and heavy with grief. Racism, mental illness, hate, gun control, senseless death are profound and tragic issues that the Charleston massacre brings up. Best we can do is give our loved ones extra hugs and make public our wailing, like you have done in your piece.