I’ve been reading this amazing life-changing book, Tears We Cannot Stop by Michael Eric Dyson. It has begun what will be not only a soul search and hard look inward but drawing a few most interesting parallels into my own life experiences dealing with ongoing health issues. I can’t recommend the book more.
It’s truly a book for our modern day America we find ourselves in. Only about half way into the book my ‘self-talk’ was busily reassuring myself that I’m ‘innocent’ of racial bias, even at times denying I’m so a product of white privilege. There is just no way I’m where I find myself at in life if it wasn’t for it. But as the book continues, I am stubbornly brought down, realizing I was so missing the point. I extrapolate that Black people aren’t looking for a pity party or for us to try and walk in their shoes. My big takeaway is there is just no way to begin to grasp what a black individual must endure in white America each & every day against institutionalized racism. I look forward to reading it through to the end as he promises constructive ideas to how someone being a member of my culture can do his part to take steps in the right direction to try and heal the chasm that is widening rather than narrowing. Suspect it will be to avoid adopting the “savior complex”, instead be about trying every day to “end the whiteness in my life”.
America had made some good progress that might have even surprised MLK & Malcolm X, voting in our first black president. Have we not only erased every bit of that progress but sharply turned back in the wrong direction voting into office the biggest, most dangerous hypocritically proud to be bigot this country has ever seen. Couple quotes from his book:
“President Donald Trump chose “Make America Great Again” as his 2016 campaign slogan. It sounded the call to white America to return to simpler, better days. But the golden age of the past is a fiction, a projection of nostalgia that selects what is most comforting to remember. It summons a past that was not great for all; in fact, it is a past that was not great at all, not with racism and sexism clouding the culture.”
“Barack Obama so spooked the bigoted whites of this country that we are now faced with a racist explicitness that we haven’t seen since the height of the civil rights movement.”
― Michael Eric Dyson,
All my life I can remember hearing endless rhetoric against affirmative action, lies saying “I’m color blind”, people close to me loving to watch the TV show, COPS, to watch the white man beat down on the black man and we should lock ’em up. It all was not only bred into me but continues to this day all around me.
Toward the end, he delves into our obsession with “black-on-black” or “black-on-white” crime, where there is far more “white-on-white” shootings. We should take a hard look at all the time & resources that get poured into fighting “terrorism”, first looking at the fact that 12,000 people/yr. die by firearms and we have 25 times more gun violence than every other developed nation.
Finally the “parallels” part, but with a critical “not quite”. Disabilities make up the largest minority in America. Stop to think that every one of us will have some sort of disability at some point. Where I can draw some small amount of semblance from the black man’s struggles, is as much genuine compassion, help, and understanding I may receive, no one can come close to “walking a mile in my shoes” and empathy is all I can hope for. This is where I can start to draw small parallels to what it’s like being among a minority I so abruptly found myself in. Readers of the book will come to understand, if they don’t already, that it’s nowhere close to what institutionalized racism has brought onto black culture over the centuries though.
Lots of contemplating that hopefully, I can turn to actions ahead. Suppose I can look at this post as one of the first small steps.