December 4, 2014 § Leave a comment
“The path to heaven runs through miles of clouded hell right to the top”
– “It’s Time”, Imagine Dragons
America in the past few weeks has been a very difficult place to be in, especially if you are a black male. But also if you’re someone concerned about injustice, inequality and basically, any situation where one social group is abusing its power to fleece off the less privileged. I am one of those people, and right now I am overwhelmed in a cloud of sadness. It’s none of my business, probably. After all, I’m no American. Black history is not my history. The only black person I have in my network is a Facebook acquaintance I met at a conference this July, who lives in Chicago. That is how insulated my social circle is. And privileged.
I don’t know if I’m saddened more by the historical pattern of police violence against black and brown people or by the apathy, the silence, about this trend from my white friends. It is always the usual people who speak up. Everyone else goes about their privileged life. Maybe they are further along the path of bad news fatigue/cynicism than I am, that silence is the best – and most comfortable – option.
Right now I can’t help but draw parallels between the US and India. The co-existence of utter beauty and everything that is good and wonderful about human nature with its darkest side is confusing and beautiful to witness all at once. Like India, where the intensity of the country resides on the visceral plane, in the US, it’s on the conceptual/ideological plane. Everyone has a strong idea of what life in the US should be like. The American Dream. Freedom of Speech. Land of the Free. And, for the most part, it is all of this. But as Ferguson and Staten Island show, there is also a very harrowing and hopeless side, if you are of the wrong skin color or socioeconomic class, or both. Just like India, America has its own caste systems at work. It is about time we started to recognize them as such and stop pretending that society has come a long way since Rosa Parks, just because there’s a black President. That’s tokenism. And it’s dangerous.