“I’m living a nightmare. It’s one in the morning may 31st and no one in my house can sleep. I’m at odds with my mom because I know nothing she could say would make me feel anything but anger. I don’t know why but sometimes she says things that I don’t agree with. I don’t speak up about it because I’m not trying to argue with my mom, but tonight I just could not handle it. She asked me to put my car in the garage. I obeyed. Then she asked if I knew what was going on? Do I live under a rock? She follows me on Instagram and I’m sure she stalks me on twitter. She must know that I feel very strongly about ‘politics’, or as I like to call them, human rights. It’s fucking ridiculous.”
I don’t know that I’ve ever been this mad before at anyone, besides a student I attend school with, for intolerance. I’m so angry at intolerance. Where does this put me as a person? I love everyone. How could I not love everyone? Humans are ever-changing, complex beings with their own consciousness and thoughts and ideas. I don’t think I’ve ever hated someone as much as that person at my school, but I also now realize that there must be more people in the world that share his ideas. That makes me want to hate them.
But what does that say about me? Which matters more to me: the fact that they wish harm on others for no reason or the fact that each and every person on this planet is not just the sum of what they put out into the world but also their conscious and unconscious thoughts and inner dialogue. Must I hate them for their thoughts and actions against people of color or must I fight hate with love and find my own inner peace. But how could I live with myself if I found my own inner peace and rejected hate while others fear for their lives and fight for their lives in this time of civil unrest?
I am afraid I have answered my own question. I can not have moral peace with myself while others still fight for their own human rights.
We need to focus on love in these times more than ever. But I just can’t stop crying over everything I see. How do you do that to people? Even as your job, Running people over with cars, shooting them with rubber bullets (as if it makes it any better than shooting them with real bullets), throwing tear gas inciting panic. Not to mention beating people with batons, or even bear hands, scaring people away with just your presence. That doesn’t do something to you inside? You’re so numb that you can’t feel the fear in the atmosphere or see the fear in their eyes? That doesn’t bear a weight on your soul? Goddamn it bears a weight on my soul and I’m not the one performing these horrifying actions.
I’m exhausted and sad and scared. But I think about the people that are out there on the streets, actually tasking action for something they feel is necessary and making a difference. I think about the protestors and the officers. Facing each other, scared, angry, upset, always on the defensive waiting for one wrong action, and the protestors throwing things and the officers getting out their batons. There are two sides. I have to tell myself that over and over. Sometimes I lose sight of the police. They just have so much more power and forgiveness on their side. I guess all cops aren’t inherently bad, but is it not relevant, the message our schools have been telling us our whole life? Even if you are not the bully, you are just as bad as one, if you are a bystander. All cops may not be inherently bad, but they are not inherently good, they will not always be there to protect the people. This has been shown so many times, over all of history, and more specifically, this past week. With some protests rumored to have been turned violent by undercover cops mostly, but also cops with vehicles surrounded by protestors driving through crowds, riot police showing up to a peaceful protest, police beating protestors with their batons, police pepper spraying peaceful protestors, and most heartbreakingly, police officers showing up to a protests with badge numbers covered, as if ready to cause trouble and be unable to be held accountable. It is very hard to see the other side because this is what the other side is doing.
The one point to be made against these protests, is against the real riots and looting. But what some people fail to think about, is the perspective of minorities who don’t get the automatic privilege that white people do. When you work so hard to get somewhere in life, but don’t get nearly as much reward as someone else, just based on the color of your skin, I can’t even begin to imagine how trapped they feel. It must feel so freeing and satisfying to be able to in a way fight back at the companies that refuse to embrace and fight for equality. And I guarantee you that these brands and companies have the money to replace and repair everything lost. And for the independent businesses and black-owned businesses, I guarantee you it is not black people damaging those stores. I am almost 100% sure about that, because if anyone knows how hard it is to build yourself up to that point of running your own business and being somewhat in control of your own future, it is the black community. There is a heartbreaking phrase known for this struggle, that an African-American person will have to work twice as hard, to get half as far as a white person. Imagine experiencing the systemic racist bullshit at the age of ten, and coming home to tell your parents, only to hear that you have to work twice as hard to get half as far. Looting and rioting is horrible. I do not want to condone it. But I will say, how do I not condone the only thing that gets noticed on the news. Peaceful protests have accomplished very little in the past. The real change comes from riots and revolution. How do I live with myself if I say that present materials items are worth more than future human lives?
My heart is breaking into pieces. I want to stop looking and reading and watching so that maybe I can stop crying but I can’t just ignore it. There are people out there in pain, breathing in tear gas, being blinded by the gas and “non-lethal projectiles”, shouting the words that need to be shouted. There are people out there right now, that will die at the hands of a police officer. I am sitting here in bed. They are out there right now and they are experiencing the protests turned into riots turned into a message against them. I’m just sitting in my bed crying. I can’t just act like everything is fine. I can’t ignore what’s happening. If I can’t be out there… the least I can do is retweet and share and spread a message of and peace.