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Saturday, June 13, 2015

Close Your Eyes. Keep Them Closed.

Here is a brand new trick for your mind and your eyes:

This test is even crazier than the one with the dress. You have to follow the rules though. Whenever you are instructed to close your eyes and keep them closed you have to do it. Okay?

The idea of this color test is to see if you can see things differently when you close your eyes and then reopen them.

There has been a lot of outrage in America for the past several years about the deaths of unarmed people of color. Many have been angry that nothing is being done about it. Many others have been outraged that people are upset in the first place. Those defending the killers insist that each of those who were killed deserved it for one reason or another and find ways to excuse each event as it comes up.

I think that the problem in America, however, lies with the people in the middle. Those who have no opinion either way are the ones who perpetuate the problem. When you see these stories on the news and think "Gosh. That's awful," and don't give it another thought until you go to work and hear someone say that Tamir Rice shouldn't have been allowed to be in the park with a toy gun from a person who will rationalize that if his mother hadn't let him go to the park he would still be alive today, you are the problem. If in this moment you do not demand a coherent thought out of the person defending a killer, you allow them to believe that their hate is justified, or at least tolerated.

Unfortunately, we are always going to have racists. We will always have bigots. And homophobes. And assholes. And cranks. They will always exist and we will always have to deal with them. They can, however, go with the rest of us into an evolved society where their hatred is diminished. My answer (which is very naive, I know. I am adorable and I can't help it), is for all Americans who have heard the news about these killings and then gone on in their day having never given them another thought to spend just 5 minutes taking this test.

Jordan Davis
Imagine your white little brother standing in front of that flag instead of Jordan Davis. Now imagine he is 17 years old and in a car at a gas station with his friends back in the day while listening to Metallica too loudly. They were being rowdy like 17 year old boys are supposed to be. Now imagine some black guy pulled up and told his girlfriend in the seat next to him that he hated that awful shit white music and yelled at the kids. The boys yelled back at him. So that black man shot at your little brother. 10 times. He's dead now.           

                                  Close your eyes.  Keep them closed. Can you see that?

Walter Scott

Imagine your white uncle standing in front of that flag instead of Walter Scott. Now imagine he gets pulled over for a broken tail light the day before Easter. He is the one in the family who has a good heart but seems to screw up a lot. The whole family is coming in tomorrow and he knows he has a warrant against him because he is behind on his child support. He decides to take off and make a run for it so he doesn't spend Easter in jail. That would certainly ruin Grandma's day, wouldn't it? The black police officer takes off after him and shoots him in the back. Repeatedly. Until he is dead. And then tries to create a scenario where it was your uncles fault.

                                  Close your eyes. Keep them closed.  Can you see that?

Eric Garner

Imagine your white father holding and feeding your baby in this picture instead of Eric Garner. Now imagine that he is standing on the side of a building and police officers ask him if he is selling cigarettes. They ask your dad this every time he is standing outside. He is getting really sick of it. Your dad asks the police why they don't just leave him alone. One officer, completely unprovoked, put your father in a choke hold and took him down while he was literally begging for his life. As he is beginning to struggle he tells the officer that he can't breathe. The officer does not refrain. Your father is choked to death. On camera. Surrounded by many police officers. Who said he was trying to sell a cigarette. The black police officer who murdered your father gives a gleeful wave to the camera while his body is being taken away. Handcuffed.

                                           Close your eyes. Keep them closed.  Can you see that?

Tamir Rice

Imagine your white son with that unbearably sweet face in this picture instead of Tamir Rice. Now imagine that he is in the park playing with a toy gun. His gun, like most made today, looks real. He is doing what children do with toy guns, pretending to shoot it. A gentleman who is not quite sure about the situation calls the police and tells them it looks like he may be a child and he is unsure if the gun is even real. The police show up and in less than 2 seconds, the officer in the passenger seat gets out of the car and shoots your son. On this day after shooting your son, he also tackles and detains your daughter when she runs to see what has happened to her little brother. He is doing this while he is neglecting to give aid to your son who is still alive. Your son dies the next day. This black police officer, you will later learn, had been released from his previous law enforcement position because he was deemed too emotional and immature regarding his use of weapons. That information doesn't really help you now, though. Does it? Your son is dead.

                                  Close your eyes. Keep them closed.  Can you see that?

It is a lot easier to live in a happy world when you allow for easy answers from the people who would really rather not allow changes in our society. I realize that. It is easier to just say that Jordan Davis should not have talked back to his elder or Walter Scott should not have run or Eric Garner should not have tried to sell cigarettes or Tamir Rice should not have been playing with a toy gun. But society will stay right here as long as you allow that to happen. From now on, every time you hear another story of an innocent unarmed person of color being murdered (and tragically, you will because we aren't demanding better of ourselves), take a quiet moment, close your eyes and imagine that the innocent unarmed person who this story about is white. And someone you love. And their killer is black. Then ask yourself why you have to rewrite the scenario for yourself. When you realize that you do not have a rational answer for that question, you will start to be a part of the solution.

Open your eyes, America. They've been closed long enough.


  1. I can imagine it, what I can't imagine is how some people don't get that there really is a race problem in this country.

    1. NO I can't imagine it. The race problem is with you!

  2. The tragedy is the loss of life but it is worse because of blatant racism. There is a decided race problem throughout the USA as with the woman in McKinney, Texas--and among teachers who should not be licensed to teach without passing a thorough psychological exam--or active racists who get elected to public office. The USA has a long way to go as it is among the most racist and hate-filled nations on this planet.