Bon ChampionWriting

A Certain Evil

When we watch movies, we escape to worlds of black and white. Our stories are populated by supervillians and Nazis, not because they're fun to watch, but because they're easy to hate. We long for a world that is simple, because we know that we don't live in such a world. Only really huge assholes will side with world domination or genocide. If only our world were split so evenly, really huge assholes on one side and us, the good guys, on the other.

But instead we live in a world where the Supreme Court can claim that racism is pretty much over and gut the Voting Rights Act. We live in a world where Sikhs can be gunned down in their house of worship without much of an outcry. We live in a world where the most powerful nation in the world can rally around the tragedy of a school shooting in an elementary school and still fail to pass any gun control reform. 

And we live in a world where a white police officer can shoot an unarmed black teenager 12 times and not see a day in court. This is also a world where, when a police office shoots a white family's dog, he swiftly loses his job. 

The evil in this world is so pervasive. It lives in all of us.

I got in a political argument with my grandmother while visiting her on vacation earlier this year. She asked me if I thought Barack Obama and Eric Holder were racist (she's a Fox News Republican, and she seems to get much of her political discourse from email forwards). I said "Of course not." Looking back, I wish I hadn't. I still would never use the word racist to describe our President or our Attorney General. But I do believe there are prejudices that live in all of us. I believe it's impossible to live in our society without internalizing assumptions and generalizations. Our world is massively complex, and our instinct is to simplify it. 

Instead of saying "Of course not," I could have made the point that racism isn't a simple on/off switch in our DNA. I could have told my grandma that I am racist. I try every day not to be. I fail a lot.  

That tweet from the top tore me up. It's hard to live in a world where evil is all around and yet so hidden. How do we fight it. Tonight, I don't have any answers, any suggestions. Just a lot of questions.