The riots in Ferguson, Missouri, in the wake of the failure to indict white police officer Darren Wilson have left a lot of progressive people troubled. The riots themselves are not troubling; progressives have long known about the racism endemic in American society, and white America's outright refusal to acknowledge it. Race riots are, therefore, not surprising.
What's troubling to them is just how common such riots are. The usefulness of social media here is that it's been easy for progressive and liberal groups to send around images that contain memes about how many race riots there have been in America. People are learning about how common lynching was, how recent common political violence has been here.
And I'm all for that. But this post is about me....
As for me, I strated educating myself about these things two decades ago. I didn't do it because there'd been race-riots in Ferguson or Los Angeles or some other town. I didn't do it because I was taking a class. I just did it. I wanted to know more, and I read and read and read.
I got excited about what I learned, and tried to share my discoveries with my friends. They couldn't be bothered. And, frankly, it hurt that something which made me so excited and which had opened my eyes so much was rejected with a "pffft" and so off-handedly by the people I called "friend". They didn't think it mattered -- not to them, not to me, and not to the people who'd been attacked or murdered.
Now those same friends are discovering racism anew. Now they, too, are learning about political violence in America. They are all excited, all agog, all talking amongst themselves.
And I can't work up that same level of excitement. The hurt is still there, and I can't get rid of it. There's a part of me that wants to be as coldly dismissive of them as they were of me, once. I don't indulge that feeling, because it's wrong. But it keeps coming up.
There other thing is.... well, I see my friends talking about race riots or whatnot. And I try to contribute to the dicussion by pointing out books people might find enlightening, or data they might find interesting.
Their response has been mostly to label me a know-it-all. Most of them ignore my contribution, because it's a discussion at a level they aren't yet ready to engage in. They more easily can talk about things at the basic level where they all are, and there's no respect for my knowledge. No respect of me.
This all sounds so self-centered, I know. But there it is. I should feel happy that they have seen the light. But I feel left out, disregarded, and ignored.
Some gay people want to take pills that will make them straight. I want to take pills that would make me stupid. I'd rather have friends to talk to, than be smart and alone.