Think Piece

I, as I am sure many others are torn by the state that America is in today. There are many more who are just taking everything as a status quo and business as usual. So the first question is does any of this effect you? Does a cop killing a suspect in some mid-western state two thousand miles away from you, cause any upset to your life?

The simple answer is no. You will wake up tomorrow, go to work, make more money, live out your day and survive. That being the case then it also doesn’t matter what race the person is either, the situation, the context or anything at all… as long as it doesn’t show up on your door step, then it doesn’t matter to you.

I am sorry. The fact that you can bury your head in the sand and pretend that you don’t have a clue, does not remove you from responsibility. And just because you don’t know what the solution is doesn’t remove you from being a part of it.

The bottom line for you is how you look to your friends and how you are perceived by the world around you.

I am a multi-racial male and as a result I have been right in the center of the race debate from my earliest memory. Depending on my current exposure to the sun, clothing, hair length, context, verbiage and whether or not I am smiling, I have been taken as black, white, middle-eastern, Mexican, and Cuban. I am also overweight. To clarify, I am fat, but I also have a great deal of muscle so I am look like a football lineman. My weight is in excess of three hundred pounds. The reason this clarification is necessary is to give you a clear picture. I can look intimidating. 

When I don’t smile or speak I look the most intimidating, as a result I have developed a personality that is open, available and opens doors. My personality is often confusing to people because most people want to place me into a category. Often it is a racial category. I have experienced discrimination by every race, part of it is being a big male, but many other reasons are because, I just don’t fit.

All people are generally afraid of things they do not understand, things that don’t fit into a category they can identify with. This rings true for every race and culture on the planet.

Fear keeps us separate as a people.

Fear is fostered by only one thing. Ignorance.

When you were a child you were afraid of the dark, or the closet, or what was under the bed. That fear abated as you grew up because you learned that there was nothing to be afraid of. It was just dark, there is nothing under the closet or under the bed, but that fear you grew up with is so strong that if you are in an unfamiliar place, it might start to creep back in just a little. That’s why scary movies are so much fun.

So here is another question. How many of you learned about the race you have been afraid of since childhood? How many of you learned that they are just like you? Sure there are differences, but they have the same things you have. They want a nicer car. They want to make more money. They don’t want to end up alone. They want to get laid.

That race has hopes, dreams, and fears. They have things they like and things they don’t like. They like to do many similar things that you do. They like movies, music, television, cookouts, alcohol and games. They have a sense of humor. They like the foods that you like as well. They have relationship problems and identity questions. 

Fear is the reason I am discriminated against. There are two main fears that I have learned. Some fear me because as an enigma they cannot assess if I am a threat or not. Once they get past that, being intelligent, well-spoken, and the fact that I often use college words when I speak, some fear that I am going to make them look stupid. After that, if my race does come up and they place me into a category, I am confronted with everything that person assumes about that race.

None of that is a question about whether or not its fare. That is the way of the world, the burden is then placed upon me to accept it, and deal with it before it becomes an issue, or allow the issue to fester.

I have learned a lot letting people make their assumptions. Most people want to assume you are like minded and they are able to speak freely around you.

Grown men are not going to admit, even to themselves, that they are afraid of another man, another group, or another race. Especially when the media tells them they are right. People sit complacent in their ignorance and would rather do nothing.

They choose not to associate because… (insert bullshit reason)

They choose to lock themselves away because… (insert bullshit reason)

They choose to rally against races and cultures because they don’t know anything about that, or them or numerous bullshit reasons.

Ignorance is safe. Ignorance doesn’t have to put yourself out there and make any attempt to try.

I am just as bad, but from my personal experience, whenever I have faced any question, or fear, any at all, I was blown away by how simple things got, once I got some real information.

So one last question. Who tells you what to think? Who tells you how to think? The television? Your friends? Your father? Your mother? Your environment? Once upon a time you believed in Santa Clause.

So I challenge you, how about pulling back the curtain and learning about the thing you hate, or fear, from the thing you hate or fear? And I will bet there isn’t as much to hate or fear as you believe.

Published by James Gabriel

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