Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Post-racial America(?)

There are about a million links to articles and discussions about the most recent case of a Jonathan Ferrell, a young unarmed black man shot and killed by the police, this time in North Carolina.  I guess I just want to express my sadness.  My deep sadness and sometimes hopelessness about the pain caused by one human to another.  It happens literally every day, all day all over the world.  We hear about only the tiniest percentage of the cases but they are all sad.  Even when it is the death of someone that people think deserved it or when the killer didn't mean to do it it is still a mark of our failure as a society to take care of each other.  To cherish life as best we can.  To break our conditioned responses, to interrupt or change the karma, the causes and conditions, that led to us to make that choice.

It makes me think about the undoing racism workshop recently at Green Gulch.  Some people felt that talking about it made the problem worse or more complicated or something.  That we should just work towards "meeting" people of any color in the moment, etc.  Like that was all we needed to do to change.  But its  "moments" like this shooting where you see the danger of unconscious racism that is never examined or acknowledged.  Of course most of us will never be wielding a gun and have to choose whether or not to shoot a stranger but we may have words or judgments or a quick decision to make with a stranger that could impact their life in ungraspable ways.  And whatever choice we make there will be consequences we have to bear forever.  It will be a seed planted and watered by future decisions, making it easier or harder to make a different decision in the future.

I can imagine the possible confusion that happened when a stranger knocked on her door in the middle of the night.  She was alone and you never know what can happen.  Having lived in New Orleans for example, as a rule you would not open the door in the middle of the night to a stranger.  We so far have no idea what the exchange between them was, what words were said, explanations given etc.  But police officers are meant to protect everyone, assess situations before using violence, so I can't see any reason that a police officer would shoot someone who, while maybe "advancing" toward him, was not bearing a weapon.  Other than race and the assumptions this police officer has about young black men.

I am just so sad for everyone, all of us.  And in other news, people are pissed an Indian-American woman won the Miss America pageant.  What do we do?

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