November 25, 2014

"I'm sorry. I love you."

I am nursing an anger that I cannot name.  It sits heavy in my heart and obscures the way I see the world tonight. I know it is not healthy. I don't want it, but I have no idea where to put it. I know a few things: it grows when I follow the #Ferguson hashtag on any social media. It seethes when I read articles about it on the Internet. It throws its hands up when I listen to Dead Prez. I know that it will not lead to peace. I know it is toxic, but it is here and it burns bright-- I can't help but build words around it.

I apologize in advance for this post. It will not be intelligent, poignant or even legible. This post is not for you, looking for answers or calm. This post is for us, the confused. The lost. The speechless. Thank you for being here and reading and commiserating, but I cannot offer you anything beyond confusion and disappointment.

This anger is not directed toward murder, riots, pain or suffering. The problem with anger like this is that it is deep rooted. A symptom of deeper wounds, a re-occurring scab that reminds me of how far I am from healing. 

I find it painful that despite everything we have been promised by the American dream, despite everything we have given to it and every lie we have believed, it all feels so empty.

After the anger comes guilt. Guilt for feeling that my anger is unearned. What the hell do I have to be upset about. I am a privileged white male, living an exceedingly charmed life in a country on the other side of the planet. Why should I have any claim on the anger and pain suffered by the people of Ferguson, Missouri? Or people suffereing from racism anywhere?

After all, wikipedia explains as such:
Anger is an emotional response related to one's psychological interpretation of having been threatened. Often it indicates when one's basic boundaries are violated.
I have not been threatened nor have my boundaries been violated.  So how do I explain this anger? How do I get passed my white guilt? Maybe I am asking the wrong questions. Maybe part of my confusion is wondering why everyone isn't seething with rage.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
Even though my reality is considerably different than the people suffering through Ferguson, Missouri, do we all not owe it to the very notion of peace and justice to be enraged by the egregious nature of systematic injustice?

Learning collective lessons might be the most difficult thing people can do. This is going nowhere. There's peace and love and this and justice and this and everything else. 

Eventually, it becomes clear that the anger was not really anger at all, but a dense sadness at the hopelessness of it all. A cocktail of emotions that leaves me saying, "I'm sorry. I love you."

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