In the Words of Juvenal

I was involved in a discussion this evening where a white acquaintance spoke out about the arrest of two black men in Philadelphia, stating they were loitering and ultimately pulled the “race card.” Here’s the thing, even if the Starbucks in Philadelphia wasn’t directly racially profiling the two black men who were arrested the issue still exists – and stands firm – of an incredibly unbalanced and obvious injustice towards POC. The public attention and call to sensitivity training is speaking out not just for those two black men, not just for Starbucks, but for the teens at an IHOP in Maine who were requested to pay up front for their meals. It’s for the black man in Iowa accused of stealing his winter coat while in an Old Navy store, simply because the jacket was also from – you guessed it – Old Navy. As a white woman, I cannot know what pressures, fears, and dealings a person of color must go through each day, but I tried to relate by drawing a parallel with the claim of, “not all men,” in regards to sexual harassment and assault. “Not everyone” is not the point. We may not be all racist, but we are blatantly ignorant to the racism that is happening, and I am ashamed. Ashamed of my country, and myself. The more people who are silent to injustice the weaker we become as a nation; no problem is solved without first admitting there is, in fact, a problem. Just because our technology advances regularly doesn’t mean we as a human race is advancing along with it. We use our free will to discriminate and judge people based on appearance, race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. We focus on the superficial when we should judge people based on character and integrity – selflessness and kindness – just because our phones are always expected to improve doesn’t mean we can expect to develop without actual effort and self awareness. We want better everything except better selves. We see a shiny new product but not the time and dedication spent to make it greater than before. We can’t simply be handed humility and good character and be true humanitarians without consciously trying. As a country, our views of each other individually are often deplorable. We can get better phones to take better selfies but it doesn’t change our inner ugliness. We can be distracted by flashing advertisements and fashion and sports – new diets, new fast food, new coffee are shoved in our faces and we take it willingly – but feel overwhelmed, and even angered at coming across a raw, beautiful, imperfect human. We often times feel this way because we can’t look at our raw, beautiful, imperfect selves with acceptance, so we distract ourselves. We distract ourselves from the pain, the injustice, the hate, and we lumber on hoping it may just disappear one day. “Give them bread and circuses and they will never revolt.”

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