An Uncomfortable Silence

“If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

Between that old adage and exemplifying the stereotype that I am from the “silent” minority, I often hesitate on posting anything political or controversial on social media – despite how I may really feel. You can also probably blame it on the fact that I don’t like personal confrontation, and as previously divulged in prior blog entries, I care way too much about what people think.

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Well, this time, my silence on #BlackLivesMatter and the tragic shooting of 5 police officers in Dallas has been for a couple of different reasons.

Quite frankly, it’s taken me this long to even intellectualize any logical thoughts. I’ve simply been sad, which is neither articulate nor helpful. I do not exaggerate when I tell you I have cried every morning on my way to work, listening to NPR – whether it was sharing the grief of Alton Sterling or Philando Castile’s family or the grief of the fallen Dallas officers. (I could care less about Brexit, sorry UK!).

It is one thing to see tragedy on the news in some other country, some other state, or some other city, but when it hits so close to home, it’s …surreal. The shootings of the Dallas police officers were only about 3 miles away……..

I just remember watching Baby O play – her innocence and joy over an empty Desitin box on my bed, a stark contrast to the violence and tragedy on my TV screen, and just being incredibly sad about our world. I saw the heartfelt posts from my mommy friends in the African American community – being fearful for their sons and again, just felt deep sadness and hopelessness.

Another reason why I have hesitated in sharing my thoughts is because I don’t know if I feel like I get to have an opinion or if that opinion matters in the dichotomy of black or white America. I don’t know how it feels to be black or white. I only know how it feels to be “other” and “neither” – often a silent spectator to racial controversies in this country – unless I’m thrown into the general “minority” designation.

But now that I’ve had some time to process…this is what I’ve come to:

I’m sorry.

I’m sorry for having been silent.

Because silence either connotes that I don’t care or I don’t think these problems are my problem…… or worse, the silence can connote that I may agree or be complicit with the social injustices that I see. And without going into a detailed review of our history, I would submit to you that silence gets us nowhere – and that it’s only through breaking the silence – through having dialogue and collaboration that we have a chance of making this world a better place for all of us, including my sweet Baby O.

So regardless of the weight (or lack of) of my opinion, here it goes: I support #BlackLivesMatters and recognize that the injustice of police brutality, especially on those who are African American, need to stop. I also support police officers and recognize that they do a difficult job and most of the time, they are our everyday heroes. I believe in the second amendment and in fact, own guns – but I abhor the gun violence that is like a cancer on our country. Besides implicit bias, I attribute some of our problems to mental illness – and our broken system.

I read that last paragraph and while some see contradictions, I see truthful nuance beyond the dichotomies often drawn in the sand….which brings me to my final point: do you think it’s time we can move beyond all the dichotomies drawn in the sand?

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