December 6, 2014

The White Moderate

Unfortunately, the white moderate is still the problem.

“First, I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizens Councillor or the Ku Klux Klanner but the white moderate who is more devoted to order than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says, ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can't agree with your methods of direct action’; who paternalistically feels that he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by the myth of time; and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”
—Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter From The Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963.

December 5, 2014

Not Every Blank is X

It's no coincidence that the truths that make us feel the most uncomfortable are the ones so many of us feel the need to try to soften or outright deflect with phrases like, "Not every blank is X." You see, we don’t like to deal in truth as humans. The truth is messy and uncomfortable and scary, and it often means accepting that our march through life takes place contrary to our wishes and fantasies. We tend to spend a lot of our lives wanting and acting like something or someone is a particular way despite evidence to the contrary. And that’s often why we suffer and are unhappy.

But it’s precisely because a truth makes us uncomfortable that we must needs confront it. It is only by dealing with something directly and honestly as it is, not as we want it to be, that anything can be changed. Running from the truth only makes things worse. It makes it worse for you, for me, for them, for everyone. If your go-to response is, “Well, not every blank is X,” not only are you denying someone the validity of their experience, but quite fucking honestly, that makes you part of the problem.

You are why this is going on.

Listen, if you haven’t accepted this by now, there is only a single and indisputable absolute in this life you are currently living and that is that someday you will die. Period. That’s it. The only absolute ever. Got it?

So, now let’s be clear, no one is saying that every single cop is a racist killer. It's just like that other conversation we were having not that long ago when no one was saying that every single man is a misogynist. However, the problem IS that for each of these enough of them ARE that we find ourselves right here, right now in this very predicament.

And here’s the thing. You know it. You really do, deep down. You know it as the God’s honest. What you’re doing is compartmentalizing it. Oh, well, you know, that’s just this isolated thing over here. It’s not a larger issue and certainly not anything that concerns me. You're hoping that way you won’t have to do anything or examine anything and can go on about your life pretending. You can't. You live here too. 

So stop.

Just like that. Stop.
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