Friday, June 19, 2015

Anesthetic Innocence

I wasn't going to post on this topic of racism and the recent Church shooting. Why? Because I like to sometimes pretend that such hatred and violence exists. I like to pretend that no one could have the ability to walk into a church (or school, or mall, or any place else) and open fire. I like to pretend that racism is not alive and thriving in our society today. I like having a false comfort, an "anesthetic innocence" (as one article puts it quite nicely: http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/news/a35793/charleston-shooting-discussion/).

But, I'm' allowed to pretend in this way. I'm white. I live in a white community, surrounded by white friends, a white school, white churches. We aren't racist - we just don't have "those people" here. 

....

And, I am part of the problem. I don't like to talk about racism because I don't like to believe it exists. I know it does. It's everywhere. Turn on the news. Open Facebook on your computer. Listen to your children. Open a newspaper. Hell, just open your eyes. It is everywhere. It does exist. Even in those small, all white communities. Maybe especially there. I don't know.

The article I linked above makes two very good points about this tragic massacre that happened last Wednesday. This act was not unthinkable. And it cannot be unspeakable.

Un-Unspeakable

We have a habit of preferring to live in our own little bubbles. This doesn't apply to just white people. It's all of us. We have our family, job, and friends. Outside that? We don't want to see what's going on. We don't want to acknowledge it. If it doesn't directly affect us, we don't care. If it doesn't affect someone we love, we have no concern for it. And we definitely don't want to talk about it.

If we see someone who is slipping - someone on drugs, or drinking too much; someone who is depressed; someone who has pulled themselves away from others... oh sure, we may talk behind their back to those in our bubble, but do we do anything to help the person? No. Do we bother to offer a hand or ear? No. Do we bother to talk about it? No.

If we hear someone talking about hating blacks, or any other group of people, do we bother to step up and do something? No. Say something? No. If we hear that someone we know is getting involved in a hate group, or any other group which is not healthy for them, do we take any action? No. Do we speak out? No.

When we see someone bullying someone for any reason, do we step in? No. Do we pull the bully aside and talk to them? No. Do we offer help, love, and care for either the bully or the bullied? No. Do we talk about these issues? No.

And then we have the audacity to feign surprise when someone walks into a school, or walks into a church, or goes anywhere, and opens fire on a group of helpless, innocent, people.

We NEED to talk about it. We need to pay attention to what is happening around us - in our communities, our churches, our state, country, world. We need to open our eyes.  And we need to talk about it. Why? Because it does affect each and every one of us. Because it is our responsibility. Because, as Christians, we are to show love to all people. Pretending it isn't happening is not showing love for others - it's selfish. It's staying locked inside our pretty little bubbles, refusing to show true care and concern for others.

Let's not let this act, or those like it, be unspeakable.



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