Living too close for comfort to the violence over the death of Michael Brown I am still happy to live in St. Louis. My neighbors are my own, yes the are African American and I am not but that never mattered before and it never will to me. But for nearly two weeks now I have been struggling with the same issues that everyone who has taken an interest in the unrest in Ferguson.
I was slipping into myself and unable to write or avoid tearing myself up inside with grief over every issue spawned by this incident. Artists have a tendency to carry the weight of the world, a heightened sense of empathy gives up more energy to create but it is also very draining.
Most people would call me an optimist, but I don’t deny reality and embrace the truth with open arms. I have watched friends and family members pick sides and grow more and more extreme. There are support Darren Wilson shirts and #MichaelBrown shirts everywhere. What I want to know is where were these people before this?
Why do we only care about racism, ignorance, diversity, social issues, community involvement, and so on after something tragic happens? How many of these people gave a damn about either of these individuals last month? And who wins here? Not us.
The images and articles I have read are so personalized and polarized that you can barely find one grain of factual truth shifting through the bullshit. It’s as if the news media loves portraying African Americans as thieving ignorant blacks, something that every educated person knows is not true of the deep rooted culture. And so many columnists want to point their finger at Caucasians and say “You Crackas caused this.” But I was born after the civil rights movement, after slavery.
News flash, I have asked numerous African Americans what I can do to make things better. No one seems to have an answer. Here’s mine let’s stop looking at the black and white print and get the gray on our hands shall we.
Over the past few days I have been more inspired to write than ever. Now I’m immersing myself in worlds of my own creation. Not to escape but to keep myself sane, because in the end we all have to continue living. But when the verdict is reached and everyone moves on, will we learn from all of this or will we just go back to things as usual? I hope not.