A few days ago a white reader was decrying police violence against blacks. “We’re next,” he said. “It could be worse. It could be us.”
I like that. It is honest, naked self-interest. IT DOESN’T MATTER AS MUCH WHEN IT IS “THEM,” RIGHT?
I’m not in the slightest offended.
But you’d better believe I’m also not offended when black people say it will be BETTER when more innocent, unarmed, unresisting white people are being killed by the police. Oh, yes. Because then, finally, they’ll wake up, and something will be done.
Both attitudes are the result of believing there is a “them” separate from you. Seeing yourself as mushrooms rather than the mycelial mass that sends those apparently individual stalks into the sunlight. It is ignorance. Sleeping children. And it is the cause of incalculable amounts of human misery. My brothers and sisters identify more with the underground mass than the individual sprouts. It isn’t easy. I don’t hate people who cannot. And frankly, if you’ve been the victim, I find it more understandable. Hard to identify with those who dehumanize you.
But I do honor and love those who can.