As you may already know, the past few weeks have been filled with many national tragedies. I’ve spent a lot of time sitting in front of the TV watching images replay, while various people are provided the platform to speak out about the events. I find that one side of me feels troubled by the injustice victims and the loved ones of victims must endure, while the other side of me is analyzing the portrayal of events, from the race and gender of those speaking on the news, to the images shown, to the amount of coverage given, to the choice of words used. As I deconstruct the messages in each of these channels, I often wonder what information isn’t being given. What is it that I don’t know?
To be honest, I have a hard time committing to either side, because I don’t fully trust what is being presented to me. It’s me questioning the power of media and how media can dictate our emotions, and therefore our beliefs and actions. It’s me questioning what statistics and stories we don’t know. It’s me not knowing whether all systems are corrupt, or only some, or only some people in those systems. It’s me reflecting on what influences have constructed the way in which I process through these events. It’s my fear of being ignorant, because of my ethnicity, gender, upbringing, education, and experiences.
Yet the emotions I feel are real. I’m sad that lives were taken and families and loved ones must grieve their loss. I’m angered by the forces that have led to injustices taking place. I’m confused by the rhetoric on both sides that seem to create further division instead of creating a safe place for dialogue and understanding. I’m irritated at my own limitations of information and knowledge. And I’m disheartened over the lack of wisdom in our society when it comes to addressing these issues.
However, I know I must respond to what I’ve seen and heard and I don’t want to take the opportunity to respond lightly. We each hold power in how we choose to respond, and therefore, we are charged with a level of responsibility in how we choose to influence others. So as I consider what I’ve seen, and what I know, knowing that both are limited, I believe that there shouldn’t be limits placed on loving others. So as cliche as it may sound, I choose to respond to the current events with a love for all humanity. A love that recognizes that all lives matter, and a love that seeks to listen and learn. I believe that only then can we unwrap the layers of misjudgment, misinformation, and fear, and build new layers of healing, peace, respect, equality, and unity.
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