The word that best describes how I feel after watching the video of #GeorgeFloyd is “exasperated.” It angers me. I’m sad that this is people’s experience. I feel exhausted by the seemingly unbreaking repetition and continual occurrence of these types of events. I’m disturbed by our societal callousness and at times dismissive or deflective reflexes. And I’m frustrated that justice so often times feels like an uphill battle rather than the grooves of our humanity. I’m grieved that this is the world we live in.
Of course, as I feel this way, I’m also confronted with the reality that my sense of feeling exasperated — as if this is all just some annoyance I might otherwise choose to ignore if I wanted — is contrasted with the experience of many others for whom this is not something they can avoid even if they desire. In other words, I possess the choice to look at this reality square in the eyes and face the discomfort, if I want to. It pains me to do so. And I feel exhausted by it. But it’s a choice I make. Likewise, I possess a certain position that would equally allow me to look away, ignore it, “escape” it, if I so wanted, because it does not directly affect me. For others, this “discussion,” however, isn’t a choice. The issue is thrust upon them whether they like it or not. They can’t just look away and ignore it; they can’t just choose to walk away. It’s their lived-reality.
I don’t know what it’s like to live black in America. And so as I think about this/these events, even as I’m self-aware of my own sense of exasperation, it causes me to think of my black and brown friends and the POC I know, and how their experience is different than mine in these moments–what I can only imagine is the unsettling feeling that they can’t just choose to walk away from this reality like I could if I wanted. This isn’t just the occasional occurrence in our news cycle, here today and gone tomorrow, “on pause” — out of sight and out of mind — until the “next one” pops up.