Want to build upon the subject matter from a previous post in which I talked about the idea that fear can drive us to make decisions based on narratives and stereotypes we have consumed over time – perhaps even on a subconscious level. In that same vein, I have often noted the lack of compassion – the disconnect – that many Americans have as it relates to the circumstances of others outside of their immediate frame of reference. This indifference is not a result of an innate form of evil or the inability of Americans to connect with each other’s plight in a literal sense. It is, rather, a matter of a calculated approach to negatively defining individuals in various communities around this country on the part of our government and their elite counterparts. The motivation for doing so is directly related to factors deemed by these various parties to be in their best interests (which includes for many reasons a permanent hierarchy or class system).
If the powerful among us are able to manufacture an environment of what I call disinterest by disassociation – they are then also able to manufacture a sort of “consent of behavior”, if you will, on the part of the general public, that adversely affects certain citizens within given communities. This is accomplished by simply illuminating in a positive light, events or individuals that you deem important, and then conversely veiling in a cloak of relative darkness and negativity, events or individuals deemed unimportant.
This way as an elite entity (i.e. the “one percent”) you maintain a sort of “mental control” over how individuals view other people around them; and can therefore utilize that narrative to control critical resources (pocket them for the most part) and by connection the fate of the most vulnerable in society.
Take for instance the rather unfortunate events of 9/11 – a single day in history that is commemorated each year with the slogan “Never Forget” – and for which – on pre-determined anniversaries – memorial services are held to honor the slain…rightfully so. However, the media, public officials, and the public in general, would rather not talk about the institution of slavery and the ensuing jim crowe era which lasted for four hundred years. Nor – more importantly – the residual effects of several centuries worth of total economic and social devastation that have resulted from those crippling institutions. “Black people need to get over it and let it go“, is the company line I believe. No yearly commemoration as a nation. No anniversaries replete with stories of the heinous acts performed by slave owners – or more recently by law enforcement during the civil rights movement and jim crowe era; and the unparalleled endurance of black people in the face of this unmitigated tyranny.
For some inexplicable reason we are encouraged to remember the one (“Never Forget”), but not the other (“Let it go”) in America. While the events of September 11th were an undeniably horrific endeavor carried out by foreign terrorists – if we are honest – the human atrocities carried out by home grown terrorists for centuries in this relatively young nation are unparalleled. Anyone who is interested in recognizing or pursuing even a modicum of truth about race relations in America, past and present, has to ask themselves why all of this is the case? Why are we as a country selective about who and what is worthy of consideration and the shedding of our collective tears? And, just so you do not leave this blog today without the truth in hand, the answer is that this approach to history and current events on the part of the “powers that be” – is a one that is purposed to produce the disinterest by disassociation that I mentioned above.
At the risk of repeating myself, this entire scenario starts with our government officials and elite forces, who set the tone for the national agenda and the ensuing conversations that are and are not allowed. And that national agenda indirectly informs the media about “who matters” through policies that are subsequently implemented. From there, the media takes the baton, and their coverage of events that transpire every day in America easily shapes public opinion, because we have been pre-wired to not engage in any meaningful critical analysis. And the result is narratives that create negative associations over time that are imprinted on the psyche of our populace here in America.
This must change. This apathetic disposition fosters an environment that severely skews our perception of our neighbors which is precisely how privilege is produced. Instead, what we need to do, collectively, is step outside of that box that has been built for our minds to reside within. More importantly we must remove other people from the boxes we’ve placed them in after having been inundated with depictions and definitions that are unfortunately readily accepted. The American public must learn to think for itself in order to shatter preconceived notions and stereotypes about others – that to be quite frank – make no sense. Don’t assume you know someone you never met – and how to solve issues they are facing – based simply upon what your family or friends told you, or what you saw on the evening news. Instead, here’s a novel idea…start a conversation with your neighbor – a conversation that I hope will never end.
Oreos to go: “Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike”.
J. K. Rowling
More than a blog. It’s a movement.
Though there is much more that could be said, I will have to stop for now. But hopefully you will continue the conversation in your living rooms, at your places of worship, and even with that person of another race you just met as you were walking down the street in your neighborhood.
And also I do have what I think is another interesting plate of cookies on a platter for next Monday (you can share via social media buttons below), when I hope you will join me again to talk some more oreos.