Hatred Overload

I wrote this in my head weeks ago. I typed most of this last weekend, going back and forth about whether or not I should post it. The truth is writing anything else in this moment would seem disingenuous.

I don’t think I’ve lived a completely sheltered life. I was seemingly privy to the harsh realities of this world upon exiting the womb as a black baby girl. My parents didn’t sugarcoat the challenges I would face. So they armed me with the resilience to keep getting up when knocked down, tunnel vision to overlook the preconceived notions that had not been earned but hastily placed upon me and the resourcefulness to find ways around the road blocks. The focus has always been on moving forward without needing to ask or answer the question why. I also had the perspective that elsewhere things were so much worse. While difficult at times it still never felt like a battle. The world has always been my oyster. The best was yet to come…right?

News makes you privy to hatred in ways that sometimes requires an iron stomach. The ability to compartmentalize the news of the day and your own life is often more of a coping mechanism than an inherent character trait. While relaying that emotion can distinguish a story, it can also take its toll. The sadness of a specific event isn’t always the most difficult part. The response to it can be, especially when it doesn’t always evolve or acknowledge the facts and subsequently hinders the fullness of healing that impacts how we move forward.

The news has been particularly heinous for months on end. The utter disrespect and disregard for human life is nothing short of disgusting. Now technology has allowed it to be brought to us in living color to re-watch over and over and over again. The bodies that lay there helplessly are not always given the same regard. Who we mourn is determined by who we deem to be victims. It’s not a universal truth. The national conversation has required some to be more “perfect” than others to be considered worthy of sorrow, a hashtag…worthy of life. Past decisions to the particular choice of clothing can erode sympathy in an instant.

As for the assailants we crave a “bad guy” profile. One that we can easily apply to everyone in a pre-emptive effort to excommunicate them from society and rid ourselves of this problem, but more so of this pain. You know the “us” vs. “them” mentality. However, the various instances have shown us that the “bad guy” can be anyone; a neighbor, co-worker, classmate, or even someone in a role of authority. In hindsight some of the red flags, when considered in isolation, were not deemed threatening. Or even scarier, they’re a completely stable and a well adjusted human being previously considered incapable of committing such a violent act. What happens when the “bad guy” doesn’t fit the mold that was created, and could actually be somebody who knew the secret handshake in your own camp? What happens when the broad brush strokes that are so welcomed actually paints a mirror that we must now hold up to our own face and use to confront our own biases? As a society we don’t really know, respect or understand each other as well as we should. Do we care?

So how do we respond when being at bible study could make you a target? How can one appropriately move on while acknowledging the extra emphasis I now place on saying “be careful and I love you” to my brother at the end of EVERY conversation. There’s so much talking with so little being said. It’s all just too much. Some would still argue that it’s all a figment of ones imagination.

I need a time out.

The perception of the world I was raised in is different from the reality in which I exist. With every senseless act I need a minute to adjust to that truth. Taking time out prevents knee jerk reactions, Facebook rants and allows for perspective. There are inherent, systematic and cultural problems that must first be acknowledged before being addressed. Yes something needs to be done and I have no clue what that’s supposed to look like.

I’ll think about that privately at a later date. For now, excuse me while I hide numerous posts on Facebook, then scroll through the new releases on Netflix (in that order). I have a lot of vegging out to do!

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1 Comment

  1. Annisa Cline-Thomas
    July 30, 2015

    The world is getting crazy and you have all right asking the questions above. Believing in yourself and knowing that you want to contribute something to the world is a good feeling. Some people might not approve of who you are, what you are doing and criticize you all the way. At the end of the day you cannot protect yourself from criticism; it’s the work that you do and the joy you derive from it that matters. Negative criticism is a distraction and is natural for most people but shouldn’t block you from reaching your goal. Looking at it like a wall and focusing on self, forces you to reach your goal and block your attention from these distractions. In God’s eyes, you are blessed and highly favored.

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