Ferguson and Race in America

I was all set to do a post last night about a bad day I had last week, describing the snowball effect negative energy can have and how I was able to creatively problem-solve certain issues. Then the news came in from Ferguson and I couldn’t in good conscience write a post about personal growth or fighting inner demons.

Regardless of whether the Grand Jury in Ferguson fulfilled their civic duty the best they could with the evidence they were presented (entirely possible), regardless of whether the prosecutor or even Darren Wilson were doing their jobs to the best of their abilities (debatable and less likely), the whole tragedy surrounding the death of Mike Brown and the ensuing mess at every stage and level of the aftermath proves that something has to give. Action must be made to stop the unraveling of our society, but what action? To decide that, we have to come to some consensus as a nation on what we want the end result to be, but that would involve actually talking and listening to one another. Opening up and feeling other’s pain instead of shutting down anyone’s ideas that differs and getting defensive at the merest hint of criticism. Being willing to shake the status quo, externally and internally (and there’s that tension of opposites that I’ve been working on figuring out).

I have heard it argued that racism is only one of many issues we face in our present day lives (the same has been said about feminist issues), and I agree to a certain extent. But race is a really big issue as we are talking about a large percentage of the population having to deal with it. So let’s at least talk about it. Let’s pick one major issue and discuss it thoroughly, and see how it is woven with other major issues, and look at the big ugly tapestry of all that is wrong in society and try to come up with viable, working solutions. Let’s come up with an actionable list and actually follow through on the list, sidestepping the idiots of both political sides currently in political office if it becomes necessary.

The inner work we do on ourselves is important, but so is the work we can do as a functioning member of society. The two have to balance. Micro and macro. You can be as peaceful and transcended into your own mind as you like, but that isn’t going to matter if society crumbles around you. So listen to other people. Hear not only what they say but the undercurrent beneath the words. Listen to yourself, and root out what is really beneath your deepest fears and preconceived notions, and work to get rid of them. Listen, and then speak up when you have something of worth to say. Decide for yourself the kind of society you want (inner) and then work with others in your community to make that a reality (outer), compromising on details but staying true to the major elements. It’s possible. The alternative, doing nothing, means we just keep straight on the path we’re currently on, heading for disaster.

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