Somewhere between caves and waterslides Charleston happened. It hit me in the gut for some reason – maybe that it’s a terrible, terrible act of racism. There’s a lot I’d love to let out about it – but I’ve held back because, what’s my place in all this? I’m a white, hetero, male – I don’t have struggles, not real ones. I started life on easy mode. Is it my place to say anything? Man, I don’t know.
Charleston was disgusting. It’s even worse that anyone would spin this as anything other than a man poisoned by hate thinking the way he did. That anyone could live and work and meet with people of color and refuse to acknowledge racism still lives in the hearts of many, many people. People judge others by vision alone, still. We stereotype negatively, and we hide behind whatever is convenient at the time.
And the victims do this: Forgiveness. In my heart, I’d hope I could find forgiveness for an act this terrible. These are wonderful people who embody a spirit many people forget about. They are people who are looking for hope amongst the hate, and people I want to live with in this country.
I don’t care any burden or trouble, not really – but I am sorry for their loss and I wish I could lessen their pain. God, don’t we all wish we could end racism and finally be a united people in this country.
We can’t. Not yet, but I hope we can.
Amongst this tragedy I read about people trying to remove the Confederate flag from the capitol and I thought, “No, that’s not right.” I thought, “that flag is a symbol of ignorance at best, and hatred at worst. I can’t see the use in removing it.” You can remove a flag from a pole, but what it represents stays in people’s hearts – you can’t outlaw emotion. I thought that labels can serve such a strong purpose. If I wanted a hamburger, I’d look for Golden Arches and if I wanted motel I might look for a “vacancy” sign. If I wanted to know how a person felt about equality I might look for stars and bars and I’d know a bit about how to talk to that person. That’s a clunky metaphor, but that’s what I thought. It’d be nice to know your heart is full of hatred, or at the least, disdain for other people’s feelings.
I don’t know if I can let this go – this is a terrible thing that’s happened and I don’t really know what to do about it but raise my children so they might enter that church with arms open, with a smile on their face.
I’m so sorry this happened, Charleston.