Confusion. Guilt. Grief. Embarrassment. Hopelessness. Sad.
All these feelings swirled around inside my head last night as I watched the news. And they are somewhat subdued but still hovering in my mind this morning as I watch the analysis unfolding.
Many people, much more eloquent than I, will write about the incidents in Louisiana and Minnesota that apparently led to last night’s multiple killings in Texas. Me, I’m wondering if these latest incidents will wake us all up. Because maybe our country never made the progress with race relations that we middle class, middle aged, white people liked to believe . Maybe social media and a continuous news loop have made that painfully obvious. It’s more difficult to ignore, erasing our excuses that we didn’t know.
Last night I watched black male adults relate conversations they’d had with their own parents about being safe out in public. Conversations they’ve had to have with their own children. Conversations I never had growing up, never considered. In my white bread life we were taught to be respectful to police officers, but the men killed in Louisiana and Minnesota didn’t seem disrespectful. Just black.
Of course there may be more to these stories. But neither event is an excuse for what occurred in Dallas. Ever.
So as we all wake up this morning it’s hard not to contemplate that seven men are not waking up. That their families must be feeling as though they are living a nightmare that will never end.
And so I am feeling confused about my version of history that is now challenged. I’m feeling guilty about my sheltered life. I am feeling grief for the loss of good people. All seven of them. I’m feeling embarrassed that I didn’t understand, even after seeing this sort of thing on the news over and over, the reality of life outside my own existence. I’m feeling hopeless faced with the enormity of the problem.
And I’m feeling sad.
Race. It’s like the gun issue and the truck issue. Only bigger. It’s an overarching social issue that changes the trajectory of our country. We can choose to go down the spiral of hate and revenge. Or we can use this time to sit together at the table and talk. And then follow up with the hard work that is required.
Let’s not fool ourselves any longer. Change is hard.