Monday, April 13, 2015

What makes sense

As I have mentioned before, I live on an island that is rural. No stop lights and only a couple of juke joints/stores.  But I live close enough to the city and suburbia to feel connected to what goes on.  The recent killing of an unarmed man by a police man made national headlines and has created a lot of discussion locally.

I am glad that the actions by the mayor and police chief were swift and averted riots and other civil unrest.  But the basic fact that lethal force was used is chilling.  I am no fan of the police.  I respect that they have a job to do, but I have seen too much of their abuse of power in my life.  I have not been arrested. I have been stopped once for an expired inspection sticker, so I have nothing of a personal nature that generates the fear. But I have images in my head from TV coverage of the Vietnam war protests of the 60's and the brutality of the police during desegregation marches.  Large men with guns and clubs and an attitude don't make me feel comfortable.

I know how tense racial relations are in the deep South and in this state particularly.  The island that I live on is 80% black.  And I feel comfortable with that because I know many of the families, and they are good people.  I wonder at their fear and anxiety. Is it similar to mine? A lot of racial tension is still here. We do our best to cover it up and pretend otherwise. Politeness abounds at the surface.  But racism remains like a scab over a deep rotting wound.  The only thing that makes sense to me is the sound of the waves breaking on the beach; the sound of the frogs in the wetland near the house; the breath of my horse as he nuzzles me; the concert of birdsong that exploded as the sun rose over the ocean; and the love for others bending and drowning out everything else.


  1. I remember those images as well and I will never, ever get over them. To this day, I am, at my core, afraid of the police. And I have no reason to be but bottom line is- they have guns and power on their side.
    Racism is alive and well here in the United States of America. I wonder if we will ever recover from the brutal hideous shame which was slavery.

  2. I volunteer at the county jail in a re-entry program called Homeward Bound. Some of the CO (correctional officers) have a similar reputation and for me, it's frustrating. Last week they brought in a 14 year old black girl as a part of the "Scared Straight" program. The CO's tell the inmates to yell and scream and to bang on the doors while they are in there. The little girl had her arms crossed and looked stoic. I felt so sorry for her. They came into our classroom where one of my students who is black was very compassionate to her and shared her own story with her. That is when her arms uncrossed and the tears flowed. I just wonder if we will ever learn.

  3. Very thoughtful post, Syd. I feel so puzzled about how to feel or react to all these news stories. I can't pretend to walk in the shoes of minorities -- my imaginings come from my privileged place and probably barely scratch the surface of their existence and how they are treated by late enforcement.

  4. Syd, I like this post. I too remember the violence exhibited by authority during the Vietnam protests and the civil rights era. The protests in the 50's I was too young but I saw what happened when Dr. King was murdered.

    I heard the poison that came out of a presidential candidates mouth named Governor Wallace. He was a leader and that was not too long ago.

    It is a shame that racism is still such a stain on our nation and poison in our lives.

    Just as not all cops are bad but it only takes a few to ruin a reputation. The way to change it is for the "Thin Blue Line" be erased.

  5. I don't know which is better Syd, to have the racial tension simmering under the surface of politeness or to have them, like they are in Detroit, right up front and in your face. Doesn't make any sense to me, I am Caucasian with one neighbor of the same race as me. As far as I know the next White person is at least a mile away. No i do not get along well with most of them I live amongst, but I also do not go out of my way to scorn them. They can dictate the terms of the relationship and i react accordingly with an approximate equal level of respect.

    Cops, bwahahahaha, Detroit is 140 square miles and including command structure and them doing desk duty there is 1800 badge wearing, gun toting cops.In the late 60's Detroit went through the pandemic police brutality that is just now coming to light. after all was said and done and a couple of them were sent to prison (2 whites for excessive use of force and 1 Black police chief for stealing $3 million) the end result was a highly reactive police force, one that in the lawless lands where I live a 3-never response time is common. The only thing is they rarely pull out the military equipment 9rarely solve a crime either) and if you are a victim, not shot, and the property loss is less than $5000 the 911 operator gives you a phone number to call during regular business hours to report it and get a police report.

    No not all cops are bad, but I don't know of any willing to risk their lives or jail to protect a beleaguered citizenry.

    Far as i know Brian is OK, just not posting as much because it by necessity had to take a back seat to his job (teacher) and family. He does post about once a month give or take. Not everyone can be old retired poops like us Syd.

  6. I just read over the first 4 posts and it occurs to me that people in general if they are ever going to move the dialog forward they had better get over their "white guilt." Racism is an abhorrent character in ALL them who practice it regardless of color.

  7. I live on a disrupted country, every single part of it, and what makes sense to me is the sun shining over the sidewalks, the smell of fresh tortillas at noon, the bold colors of most of the houses of my street and the giggle of my son when he comes back from school. Thank you for such a beautiful ending of such a touching post.

  8. I have lived in the South for the past 37 years and have seen many changes pertaining to race relations. I do see an increasing acceptance factor but it is very slow going ... but at least it is going forward and not back.

  9. we all have to find a balance in our lives for it is that balance that gives us peace and makes us strong. Peace be with you my Friend.


Let me know what you think. I like reading what you have to say.