Tuesday, December 1, 2015

There Is Definitely Light At The End Of The Tunnel

Tuesday, December 22

This date marks Winter Solstice for 2015, which means the days will start to get lighter. My speed on the bike has slowed with road conditions and layers of clothing but I'm already excited to see how much I have improved when the time comes for shedding the layers and the roads dry up. This will be a first for me, hence the excitement.

Truth be told, I miss this
I watched the news this morning which has become part of my routine and there are no less than two officer involved shootings that are heading for trial. I don't know enough about the two cases to have an opinion so I will refrain from commenting on the particulars, but hearing the news makes me sad. Sad because events like these make the divide bigger and the media certainly isn't helping.

Less like this...

More like this...
It's very white where I live. Very. Not a whole lot of cultural diversity on the east side of Seattle. There's a whole lot of granola and Birkenstocks but Benetton wouldn't find any united colors here. Yes, I know if one is to be PC, the term is Caucasian, but since I'm not - white it is. With granola and Birkenstocks comes a somewhat misunderstood urge to promote social justice. Perhaps it's white guilt that's somehow infused into the granola and walking a certain mileage in sandals makes that urge grow even stronger. Or perhaps it's Whole Foods and their fair trade propaganda and their overpriced asparagus water. Whatever it is; when the white people in my area read or hear the phrase "black lives matter" or anything that imply that white people think they are better than people of a different color, first they cringe, then they rally like never before and lie down in the fancy local shopping malls, fists raised, chanting whatever it is they are chanting. I believe last time it was "justice for all". I really can't recall.

Kinda like this
Misunderstand me correctly - of course black lives matter, and yes, it's ultimately a good sign that white privileged people feel an urge to make things better. It's just weird. And funny.

There are bad apples everywhere. You'll find bad school teachers, bad doctors, and bad police officers - and I'm sad to say that I'm afraid that's par for the course. My experience though, is that these people are few and far in between. So I haven't lived in the deep south, nor smack in the middle of the heart of Texas, and nor am I black - but I am a female minority where I live - and even more so when I was in law enforcement.

A while back I had an interesting encounter with a female colleague. From the outside we have very similar histories. We had similar childhoods, growing up in similar small towns amongst similar white people, but that's where the similarities end. While I can't recall ever having issues that were race related, she had many. She referred to herself as the "token [insert race]", a term so foreign to me that I'm almost offended by it. She had numerous stories of how she was treated differently than others because she looked different. I have no such stories. Growing up I was always me. Myself. End of story. Perhaps that's just me being lucky, but I have a different theory.

Again, misunderstand me correctly. It's NEVER the victim's fault - no matter what the subject matter. That being said, my theory is that bullies detect fear or insecurity. I've never suffered from either. Write it off as ignorance or youthful naivete, whatever it was it served me well. I kinda always walked in like I owned the place. If I have a superpower, it's that I can walk into pretty much any situation and feel completely at ease. My colleague - not so much. From what I could gather, she always felt inferior and therefore acted accordingly, making her the perfect target for bullying. My point is that I believe the world tends to treat you in line with your expectations and how you carry yourself. If I expect people to treat me a certain way, nine times out of ten they will. Self-fulfilling prophecy and all that.

But then again, I've never been a young black man in a neighborhood where stereotyping is the only course on the menu. So maybe I'm just full of it and ought to shut up.

But I won't. Shut up, that is. Because in spite of my perhaps skewed world view and theories of how things work, I have faith in humanity. I believe people are ultimatly good. Police shootings, whether we agree on whose lives matter (or not), acts of terror, no matter what happens, I believe most of us are good eggs. Maybe not that asshat driver that pushed the poor biker in the ditch, but most everyone else. And soon - in just three weeks, we are headed towards the light at the end of the tunnel.

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