Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Way My Sympathy Is Set Up...

In all my (almost) 40 years I have spent a lot of quality time working on my emotional responses. I had to work on my responses in emotionally charged situations, not because I'm a sociopath, but because I am a fixer. If one of my friends is hurting, I am (generally) the person that puts a solution in motion. I mean, there has to be ONE person that doesn't cry, right? Bottom line: when there is a sad situation, I recognize the sad and try to work on making sure everyone and most things are taken care of. I'm not one to cry (much)... I just move into action. 

So, I am proud of my responses in most emotional situations. I am not as bad as Sheldon on Big Bang Theory, but I can recognize that some may be put off by my "can do" attitude when a hug and some comforting words would do just fine instead. I'm working on it-- especially now that I am a mom. Any time it is possible I am totally committed to being the empathetic person in the crowd. I try to put myself in other people's shoes when they have been served a bad blow. What would I need? How did I feel when I was in that situation? What would be better for me? If I were grading my emotional responses, I would be passing... like a low B. Yeah, B for sure. However, there are situations when I feel like putting in less effort.

I am sure that everyone has heard about the Otto Warmbier case. He was the young Ohioan who was convicted of a petty crime in North Korea, jailed and sent back to his parents in an almost vegetative state. He died three days ago. As an Ohioan, a parent and a human being I hated to read about his demise. It was sad. No one wants to read about a parent losing a child. No one wants to read about their fellow statesman coming to a brutal end for some nonsense. Nobody. And I don't want to say that my sympathy for the Warmbier family stops there. I don't WANT to say that...

Let me put it like this: when I read about (and saw the video of) Otto Warmbier getting in trouble for taking a poster off a hotel wall, my thoughts didn't jump to his family. You know who I thought about? Sandra Bland's mom. Tamir Rice's mom. Eric Garner's family. Philando Castile's family. John Crawford's relatives. Walter Scott's family. And see, this is why I gave myself a low B when it comes to emotional responses. Because, see, how my sympathy is set up... makes it hard for me to see things in a vacuum. I see all this social media outrage about the death of Otto Warmbier-- people completely incensed about him dying at the hand of this "rogue" dictator... when people of color die for trivial crimes every day, so much so that the outrage seems to only come from minority communities. And no one pays for it. No one is found responsible. No one pays the price for these lives taken... except for families that are forever altered; and communities that are deeply scarred; and a nation that become accustomed to seeing Black and Brown men and women die on the evening news. The American public, in general, can stomach our police killing Ray Ray in the street... and blaming Ray Ray's family for raising a thug. But let them see a college student- a white college student- receive that same kind of treatment in a different nation. 


Injustice to one SHOULD be felt as injustice to all, but every day we see evidence that shows that ain't the American way. 


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