Sympathy for the Devil

This morning, I had a talk with my 8 year old daughter, Swicky, about systemic racism, the militarization of the police, and how ordinary evil really is. I woke up with Sympathy for the Devil running through my head, and it made more sense than ever.


I am sad for Ferguson. I am disgusted by those who take the Grand Jury's decision not to indict Darren Wilson as proof that he was justified in gunning down an unarmed teen (and, therefore, Mike Brown's guilt of something worthy of the death penalty without charges or trial). I am also disgusted by those who condemn the protesters - particularly those who are lashing out in violence.

That one's the hardest to explain to people. But, yes, I understand the violence, even though I don't condone it. I understand the burning, the destruction, and the looting. (Thank God, I'm not the only one.) I'm angry, too - and I'm lucky: I'm white. 

I don't have to worry about what happens if I consider buying a BB gun from WalMart, or open a door. I don't have to tell my son to be careful where he plays with his toy guns or worry that the police will leave my baby in a coma after breaking into my house. And I don't have to worry, as in this particular case, that a cop will shoot at me as I run away, or continue shooting after I've surrendered, because, apparently, my physical existence constitutes deadly force

No, my kids will probably have no problems with police, as long as they don't commit any terrible crimes. And that's exactly why I talk to them about all of this - because they ought to worry about it, even if - or, maybe, especially because - they don't have to worry about it. They are privileged - and they can either rest secure in that privilege, ignoring the injustice and suffering people of color face every day, or they can strive to make things right. They can fight to bring justice to the suffering, and to change the system that delivers evil as a matter of course. I want them to fight; I want them to believe in the ideal and try to make it real. I want them to understand the violence, too - and try to stop it. 

I hope it breaks their hearts. It ought to. I also hope they find healing - and enough to share. 

Links - in a slightly different order than usual:

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