Over the course of this semester and this year, I have been asking myself how do I feel emotionally impacted by things that had not directly happened to me? Like many, I easily found myself trapped in an ignorant self-bubble, until I was forced out to accept the truth that others can have impacts on me no matter how far or removed, I think I am. When deciding what to do for the new text item in this portfolio, I found myself struggling as I did not know how to connect to the theme and overall Humes course. However, after these past two months, I have felt more of a connection and bodily impact by what others have done than I imagined. The past few weeks in America have been a tense and stressful situation that is being felt by everyone. For that reason, I have decided to reflect on my own personal emotions and actions that resulted from the recent events that have taken place.
“We got to carry each other now. You are either with life, or against it.”Suheir Hammad ” Def Poetry”
12.25.20 – 01.06.20
Christmas morning: A simple and light atmosphere. Breakfast spread, presents, laughter, and the tears of a baby. I feel neutral and content, but then I reach for my phone. My fingers mindlessly click on the Twitter app as if it is second nature. Anticipation to see the trending page cluttered with Christmas wishes is quickly crushed when I see the city Nashville trending. Still with high hopes I tap the hashtag and there it is, Nashville Bombing. Microscopic hairs stand and frantic fingers scroll, as my mind switches to automatic as I try to find information. About two minutes had passed since opening the app, and a brain still confused did what it has become trained to do, spread the information and then continue with the day until the evening news came on.
Days went by and then a week and then another. Yet, I only heard coverage of the Nashville Bombing a handful of times on the news. But it did not dawn on me as to why until recently, the bomber had the right skin color. As I came to this realization, I reflected to the Humes assignment that involved listening to the spoke poetry by Suheir Hammad, “we did not vilify all white men when McVeigh bombed Oklahoma. America did not give out his family’s addresses or where he went to church.”. If the bomber had been Muslim or of a different race, there would have been daily coverage. Those in high positions would have come out and condemned the attack and vowed to rid the country of suspected “terrorism”. The difference I had to accept was that when the perpetrator has the right skin color, no one blames the collective, rather they look into the signs and if the perpetrator had mental health issues. Rather than painting them as the bad guy, they get examined under a microscope to understand why someone of that complexion would act out of character like that— but is it truly out of character.
Mind racing and tension flowed through what was left of my guarded innocence to the reality of the world. Here is when I realized just how impacted my own emotions could be by something others had chosen to disregard. Each day, like clockwork, I return to the news expecting more— disappointed each time. Resentment and pain seep in to take the place of the little ignorance I allowed myself to keep— next time I will be prepared not to be let down.
January 6th, being at home had some perks that day. I knew instantly when it started happening and the madness that ensued. At first stunned to what I was reading and watching live, I thought it must have been a joke or not as bad as everyone was making it out to seem— funny how quickly I can gain my ignorance back.
Frantic text messages take place between a close friend and I, yet I still find myself thinking this will be over very soon. No way individuals would be allowed to storm a high security building with no retaliation. Just the thought passed through my mind, it happened. They stormed the Capital Building with little to no push back. Unable to process what had happened, and my mind cluttered with the constant flood of new tweets under the trending hashtag “Capital”, I closed out the app and blocked out what happened. I set myself up to be willingly ignorant but, at that moment, unable to process what was going on, it was the only logical decision I could think to make.
The darkening sky and sound of the evening news signaled my return to reality as I sat down and had my mind filled with recorded footage and the opinions of reporters. It was worse than I had allowed myself to believe. Growing up in the south, I have grown accustomed to seeing a lot of things, specifically the confederate flag; however, the moment my eye laid witness to a rioter carrying one into the capital, an uncomfortable feeling took over. The sound waves from the TV reach my hears as I watch rioters take over the capital, some just walking in, as if it was their right. On Twitter, there are people calling them patriots and doing what needed to be done— patriots… I take notice of what the rioters looked like, and I came to terms with what I knew deep down. Unlike the many peaceful protestors who marched against brutality, a real issue in America, these rioters had the right skin color and the right people backing them. They were invincible at that moment, something my body will never feel.
Although I was hundreds of miles away from both events and was not directly affected by the actions of these individuals, millions felt the impact in their bodies. As living creatures on one world, we will all continue to feel the aftershocks of the doings of individuals we may have never had direct contact with.