Sitting here trying to work and everywhere is full of the Charleston killing, numberless posts trying to redefine and claim and contextualise, pourings out of anger, grief, fear. Call it terrorism, call it a massacre, how dare you call it the #CharlestonKilling, why don’t you say #JeSuisCharleston (but that makes no sense to me because I sure as hell wasn’t Charlie Hebdo and that media outpouring got ugly real fast). No, I don’t like this frenzy because in a way it just represents all of these emotions and despair and no one knows what to do. So we fight over words.
At our best, we remember and grieve for those who have died and all the people who loved them.
I too despair over the scourings of media except for the honest words of Jon Stewart from the Daily Show. He sums it up I think. Even if we do look into the abyss of race in America — though I think it needs to be more specific to the abyss of white violence, white privilege, white supremacy — even if we look into that abyss we won’t do jack shit. And that’s what he can’t get his head around.
I can’t either.
I just sit here full of grief and rage and it feels as though there is nothing I can do.
Like everyone else I’m just writing something, talking something to draw the poison out because no, I am not all right.
Seems like we have been battered over the head, grief upwelling for so many humiliated, hurt, jailed, beaten, murdered and driven to suicide. Cops keep doing what they do. Vigilantes keep doing what they do. Fox just talks the way it always talks, shoveling their same old shit, the rest of the major news outlets straggling in their wake along the spectrum of denial. Meanwhile poverty, segregation, slum housing, shitty schools, no health care, no healthy food, no jobs, no hope — all these things are killing people of colour even faster than white people are killing them.
Structural, systemic racism that continuously erupts in violence. That’s what we got.
Something has to give, to change, and I just don’t see what it will be. I don’t see white folks giving up a damn thing, even attempting to try and deal with what we have become, much less succeeding. Probably because it’s so wrapped up in all that we were, centuries of covering up exploitation and hatred and land-grabbing and slavery and genocide. Probably because all that history is present with us still, in things we believe but especially in terms of who has wealth and privilege and who does not, and just what exactly whites (and people who identify with them of whatever colour because this shit is real complex) are prepared to do to protect that. We have not equipped ourselves to deal with that, because that will take a whole lot of hard work involving skills and know-how. But the fury directed at those schools who are doing anything to equip those skills or talk about what this country is actually founded on — well.
And then there’s the fact that South Carolina still flies the confederate flag…I don’t even…I don’t even have words for that. Though of course, maybe it’s better all out in the open and not hidden behind liberal words just as intent on preserving power and privilege. But no, actually, take down the damn flag.
I sit here afraid for so many people I love in the U.S. Part of me feels that’s a little crazy, to have this fear in my stomach. But I look at this news and I know it isn’t.