Posts Tagged ‘bigotry

25
Mar
18

If not now when?

Draylon Mason, a 17-year-old musician killed by a package bomb at his home in Austin, Texas on March 12, 2018

I have felt terribly whipsawed of late by the constant flow of news that hits my consciousness through one channel or another. I’ve even turned off all of the alerts that used to bombard my smart phone, but shutting down the input doesn’t mean the stories aren’t there, from the latest hate-filled invective of the our current president on through the latest senseless death.

On the day the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida spearheaded a remarkable worldwide outpouring of support for sensible gun-laws and a deeper look at how our prejudices and bigoted assumptions skew our reaction to gun violence, I caught hold of the following story out of Austin, Texas: Austin bombing victim accepted at Oberlin before death.

The “bombing victim” referred to was Draylon Mason. He was a talented double-bassist who was one of 130 students accepted into the Oberlin Conservatory of Music out of a pool of 1,500 applicants. It seems he’d been accepted into the school prior to his horrific death when a package bomb exploded and killed him. The bombing on March 12, 2018 also caused extensive injuries to his mother. It was the second bomb that had exploded in what became a serial bombing case. The bomber, Mark Anthony Conditt, a 23-year-old a white Christian, was not labeled a terrorist and in the days that followed, it was revealed he had left behind a cell phone recording, described by a law enforcement official as “the outcry of a very challenged young man.”

I do not dispute that a “lone wolf” bomber is likely “very challenged.” No more than any of the other whackos that grab weapons of mass destruction to gun down students and concert goers and crowds of shoppers and so on.

What I feel broken by is how we as a society continue to discount the lives of people of color. Where were the stories about Draylon Mason’s life? Where was the compassion for his parents and family and friends about his death? Where are the ribbons on the trees near his house and the candles and vigils?

All of this leaves me with the query: if not now when?

We cannot have another senseless death on our hands without really looking deeply at who we have become as a society. Our children have shown us a path for dialogue–and now it is up to all of us to heed their call to actually do something about it. Enough is enough.

 

 

22
Mar
12

How many more people have to die before we stop?

How many more people have to die before we stop?

Trayvon Martin's parents in New York City, Photo: John Minchillo/AP

The pain is etched on the faces of Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton.

Pain no parents should ever have to suffer.

Pain no one’s parents or friends or loved ones or fellow travelers should ever have to contend with at the hands of intolerance, bigotry and ignorance.

Trayvon Martin, AP Photo/Martin Family

The truth is I’m heartsick and angry and haunted by the senselessness of this young man’s death.  And for what?  Why does a young 17-year-old with nothing but promise ahead of him have to die?  What was so overwhelmingly fearful other than a perception of “otherness” that caused George Zimmerman to pull the trigger and snuff out this boy’s life?

And there’s the rub.

Trayvon Martin is a drop in the bucket of our daily diet of ridiculous death.  Just since his death on February 26th, we’ve lived through a free-for-all of senseless violence.  And if not for the color of someone’s skin or the shape of their hoodie, than for their religion or ethnicity or sexual orientation or gender or tribal allegiance or gang membership …. and the list goes on and on and on: our collective demonization of “otherness.”

A student being escorted from the Ozar Hatorah school in Toulouse on Monday after a horrific shooting. Photo: Jean-Philippe Arles/ReuterOur collective unabated demonization of the "other."

Here in America, it is in our daily diet of vitriol.

And yet it doesn’t stop here. Three days ago in France, a man opened fire in front of a Jewish school in Toulouse killing a religious teacher and three children, and leaving a 17-year-old boy in serious condition.

And today, if we comb the world’s papers we will find other instances of horror.

We will find that women have been killed for so-called “honor.”  We’ll learn that young men in Iraq have been tortured to death for wearing “emo” clothing.

The question is can we rise above our fears to say enough?

Can each of us rise up and shout down hatred and bigotry long enough to have it mean something?

I’d really had the hope that the long 20th Century of war upon war upon war would somehow liberate us enough to enter a period of tolerance.

Apparently I was wrong.

All that is truly left us is our ability to shout E-N-O-U-G-H.

 

 

 




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© Malissa Smith and Girlboxing, 2010-2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Malissa Smith and Girlboxing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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