A Case for Burying the Headline

Daily Prompt:Ripped from the Headlines
Click over to whatever website you visit most frequently to get news. Find the third headline on the page. Make sure that headline is in your post.

I don’t like reading the newspaper. But whenever I want to read seriously, I go to Christian Science Monitor.  Incidentally, in spite of its name, CSM is pretty secular, which is good.

The third headline was something to do with Ferguson, Mo and I inwardly groaned. I don’t want to read or hear anymore about Ferguson. I’m mildly irritated by the wave of shock that  invariably rocks our nation to its core every time one of these shootings occur. It is the 21st century, but racial tension is alive and kicking in our dear old US. Electing a person of color to the presidency did not “erase” racial insensitivity. It just fed our amnesia. We have too readily patted ourselves on the back for this singular accomplishment.

As you can see, getting into government is just one small step in the grand scale of things. We must vigorously examine  and expect those in positions of power–elected officials, teachers, cops, etc–to vigorously examine how our perceptions of those who are not like ourselves inform our actions. The truth is that until we do this, we don’t and won’t see the “Other.” We look through, around, or over, but not at them.

I think underlying the shock in these tragedies, is the question, “how did we get here:how did things escalate to the point that death was the outcome?” Racial insensitivity is a big, open wound, but it’s preceded by a million tiny, unattended cuts. Ferguson and the hundreds of smaller scale unpublicized incidents happen and will continue to occur if we do not improve our track record in closing the disparity in the major areas that impact our quality of living as human beings: education, housing, equitable representation, and the power to lead. Take a look at the following statistics.

Race and IncarcerationRacial Wealth Gap Race and Leadership Racial Representation in Senate

The Ferguson article was actually good news.  The city council of six people is now, at least in numbers, racially balanced. This is unprecedented in Ferguson. So it is a cause for celebration. Too bad it takes tragedy to shake us out of our complacency. It is a great step forward, but much [                 ] needs to be done. Too often such accomplishments lull us back to sleep. My response to this victory in Ferguson, is “wonderful, but let’s bury the headline on this lest it lure us back to the seat of complacency until the next tragedy awakens us to action.” Let’s keep working to improve racial understanding.


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