Wednesday, July 27, 2016

STOP...Enough is Enough

What is going on in the world? Is it the power of social media? It has taken some time to gather my thoughts before sitting down to express myself in writing. Some things in life you wish you could "unsee", but you can't. For a while, I needed a break from social media. The images, the words, the emotions, the hate. It was too much. It was like watching a train wreck. I couldn't turn away. This Blog Is Why Enough is Enough.

I feel like a spectator watching a scene that is so unreal you struggle to see an end in sight. Black Lives Matter. Blue Lives Matter. All Lives Matter. Like all of a sudden we're choosing up sides. But that wasn't the worst part. It was the comments. That's what hurt the most. It makes you look at the world differently. At people differently. Those you've known for years. Maybe you've worked alongside them. Even those new to your life. Is this how you really feel? Is that what you've been thinking this whole time. It hurts. These are not the words of past ancestors or a scene from long ago. This is now. This is how you feel now. It's still there. It never went anywhere. It never went away. As much as we would like to sweep it under the rug. It's still there.

It takes me back to two very real events in my life. The first happened when I was young. A child. I am going to guess and say that I was in fifth grade. I may have been a little older. That part is a blur. But the memory is not. My mom had dropped me off at the public library for a school project. There was an author there. I think a local author. She was having a book signing and the assignment was to get a copy of her autographed book. After I had received my copy, I was standing outside the library waiting for my mom to pick me up. There were three elderly women standing outside as well talking in a group. I'm sure they didn't see me. I'm sure I was invisible to them. A lady walked out of the library and recognized one of the elderly women. The lady looked like me. She came up to the small group of women and hugged the one that she knew. That's how excited she was to see her. There was a brief exchange between the two. Then, the lady walked away to leave. The two bystanders  began to ask the woman that had been hugged, "Oh my goodness! Are you okay?" And began to gather around their companion as if they could wipe the hug off of her. I thought to myself, "Why would a harmless hug cause such a commotion?" I was confused. Or maybe I knew and didn't want to admit the reality.

The second event occurred later in my life. While in grad school, my class was assigned to read a book: "Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?" The title made me think back to my days in college. The days when some students sat in the elevated seating area. While we sat in the area known as "Little Africa". In those days, it was a running joke (which I never found to be humorous). As I read this book, it made me look at life differently. It made me look at people differently. Oddly enough, we never discussed the book in class. We ran out of time. Afterwards, I would ask close friends/colleagues if they had read the book. No one had, but they were curious about its content. The subject matter. Privilege. I usually advise them against reading it. It changes you. It changes your view on life. It changed me. I didn't like it (the change, not the book).

You may have noticed there are certain names/words that I didn't use. I didn't need to use them. And I'm sure you know exactly what I'm talking about. You can fill in the blanks for yourself. That's because it's common. More common than we like to believe. More common than we like to admit. At times, I want to be the girl that Rudy Huxtable wrote about in her story. Do you remember the episode? Someone just needs to tell everyone, "STOP"!

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