Ferguson, White Privilege, and Human Lives Mattering

Since the grand jury verdict in the case against Michael Brown’s shooter has been made public, a lot has gone down. People’s Facebook friendships have been reevaluated. People have asked what they can do to feel useful and make change, and when given concrete tasks, have opted to go out and protest and march for the evening. Looting and rioting on a scale far smaller than Massachusetts’ reaction to the Red Sox beating the Cardinals in ’04 has occurred.

But what else? What are we doing? Are we sitting and complaining and calling out that Black Lives Matter? They do. We can’t prove that any more than we already have, and we shouldn’t have to. Black people are in all facets of society, and we’re not in control of the dominant narrative of our story. That’s the issue… not what we do, but how we’re perceived. White guilt, white reluctance to accept the label of “privilege” because they don’t understand intersectionality, and fear of accepting responsibility for something that they didn’t actively participate in, all holds back these conversations. There are too many conversational road blocks to real change. There’s too much invested, by people on all sides, in the status quo, because comfort and contentment are difficult to uproot, even for excellence.

HypheNation’s purpose is to foster socio-racial conversation and identity development in America. Without a safe, non-judgmental place for conversation to happen, it won’t–other than with those who are already part of the chorus. Preaching to the choir does nobody any good. Talking to people who want to be allies but don’t know how, and can’t dissect their white privilege without being defensive about how of course they don’t have privilege, they grew up poor and fat and female and in the backwoods (or whatever other reasons they don’t understand about intersectionality, as above), falls on deaf ears unless we help those people figure out their socio-racial identity (which they don’t even realize that they have, because they think it’s just “normal” plus their personality) in a safe way, just like we want to be safe. In regards to willful ignorance exerted on someone’s posting of an article on why Jewish-Americans should care about Ferguson, a commenter mentioned that “Ignorance is bliss…” My response? “It is! It’s such an expensive luxury, I wish I could afford it.”

HypheNation. A safe place to learn about yourself and the people around you. A place where you’ll get called out on needing to check your privilege, be it academic, White, citizenship, class, or what-have-you, but it’ll be done in a loving way where we help you explore what that means, erase the guilt, and use it productively. A place where the stupid things you say won’t be left alone by any means, but will be discussed rather than flamed. Come. Talk. Vent. Learn.

"Diversity and Unity" by Frerieke from The Hague, The Netherlands - Flickr: Day 20.06 _ Diversity and Unity. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Diversity_and_Unity.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Diversity_and_Unity.jpg
“Diversity and Unity” by Frerieke from The Hague, The Netherlands – Flickr: Day 20.06 _ Diversity and Unity. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Diversity_and_Unity.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Diversity_and_Unity.jpg
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