A dear friend wrote me an email, asking me where I'd been on the blog and why I wasn't posting as often as I generally do. I can't really tell you why, other than I feel a bit dumbstruck and distracted by various things in my life (good ones) and by the shitstorm/clusterf*^k of the last few weeks in this country. I don't have anything more to add to what you've already read about the senseless brutality against black people by police officers or about the monster that is running for President of The Disunited States. I have decided to be as vocal as I am wont to be and even went so far as to tell a particularly dense white commenter on a black friend's Facebook page (you know the kind -- the one that says all lives matter and spends an inordinate amount of time making excuses with rhetorical questions) to STFU. I actually told someone to STFU and LISTEN for the first time in my life. I know there are many of you out there who will read that and raise your eyebrows and think that I should be less angry or maybe more tolerant or more Buddhist or Christian or gracious or whatever, but in this case I was not, and I do not regret it for one moment. The person who was doing all the mansplaining asked me another rhetorical question and then bowed out of the discussion. While I don't pretend to know anything at all, nor that I am able to change everything, I do know when we white people are flailing around and making excuses for something that is obvious and plain to see, and I do take seriously the directive of black people who are asking for us to be co-conspirators and not just allies. I agree with my friend and mentor Lidia Yuknavitch, too, who said the following:
well hell, i'm of the mind that we need all the voices, the signatures and protests, i think we need the calm and eloquent voices, i think we need the riots, i think we need the diplomatic nice people who call for balance, i think we need the agitators and rabble rousers and those willing to risk danger, i think we need all the stories and images and yawps and poems. i think we need it all. radical change does not come from one mode, one voice, one way of articulating. radical change comes from a plurality of voices that rise variously and unstoppably and refuse to shut up.
Tomorrow, Oliver and I are going to our neighborhood police station (a couple of officers whom I know personally since I've called them to intervene in the bullshit goings-on at the McMansion built behind my house) and enquire about how they as a station or part of the greater LAPD are working on non-violent conflict resolution. I'm going to tell them that I'm concerned and upset by what's happening in other parts of the country and hope that they are, too. I'm going to ask them what their policy and saturation is regarding body cams. I'm going to tell them, too, that I will be writing about their answers on my blog.
It's a little thing, such a small thing, but if we could all grab that veil and keep pulling we just might change things.