my reaction to reaction to perceived over-reaction

a thematic overtone i’ve noticed echoing through social media – and sometimes the media – in regards to ferguson, ray rice, isis, and whatever other stupid things people have decided to do in view of the public eye has been a paraphrased squint-and-head-tilt-inducing

‘why are you only mad about this story now?’

or

‘where was the outrage when _______?’

or

‘yeah, but people only care about this because _________ but if it were ________, then _________.’

(yes, yes, i’ll provide some actual examples instead of just making up quotes that fit my argument, don’t worry)

i mean, there were even tut-tutters about the als ice bucket challenge.

what?

* * *

1) i’ve reached my breaking point with these kind of comments. about anything.

a) who the hell are you to tell me or anyone else when i/we can feel a certain way about something?
b) these statements don’t encourage discourse or conversation. they play as calculated ‘i’m smarter than the room’ drive-by statements. i picture a smirk and crossed arms after the speaker has clicked ‘send.’

2) when am i allowed to be upset to the point of making my own statement? everyone, at some point, goes from not thinking a thing to thinking a thing. all of us, always.

all of us have points where things we think grow to a point of needing to be expressed.

i was not born a lover of fried okra. i thought i didn’t like it for a long time. i tried it, i tried it again, and whaddaya know.

i liked it.

nobody slapped the okra out of my hand and said ‘no, sir, you didn’t like it for the first 21 years of your life, so you’re out.’

we are built to make choices, choices personal and our own.

every decision starts somewhere. every conversation starts somewhere. yes, often conversations start too late. ‘hey, maybe we should start saving for college for our children’ or ‘maybe it’s time we discuss how often victim-blaming surfaces in regards to crimes of those in power (white cops/black men, men/women) against those perceived to have less power’ are still things we should talk about, even if it would have been a good idea to start talking about it sooner, ya know?

* * *

ok, so let’s do ray rice since he’s the topic of the day.

short version of the story – in february (february. it’s september), a video of ray rice dragging his unconscious fiancé, janay palmer, from a casino elevator surfaced. eventually, he was suspended two (2!!!!!) games by the nfl. he held a press conference over the summer – apparently sponsored by the baltimore ravens, as their logo is featured prominently as the backdrop – in which he and his fiancé apologized for what happened.

right, hold on, it gets awesomer,

the nfl gets roasted (as they should) for only suspending rice for two games and creates a brand new domestic violence policy. 6 games for first offense, career ban for the next.

today, new footage from inside the elevator was released by tmz. the footage is graphic and disgusting.

the thing is, what happened in the elevator is something ‘we’ already know – rice even admitted to punching his fiancé.

later today, the ravens void rice’s contract, beating the nfl to the punch of indefinitely suspending him, which happened shortly after. the league released a statement saying they had not seen the video. bonus – rice is not facing charges. he was allowed to enter a pre-trial program by this judge and prosecutor who have managed to find the time to prosecute a single mother of two.

(anyone notice, yet, a theme of man-good woman-whatever? i have. it’s kinda gross)

1) either the league saw the video and is lying about it (if so, goodell should lose his job), or

2) there is no excuse for them not to have seen it. first question i would ask the casino is ‘can we have the elevator security camera footage?’

really – tmz can get it but one of the most powerful organizations on american soil can’t? i don’t believe for a minute that the nfl suddenly creates a new domestic policy without seeing that video. something spurred them beyond what they already assumed they had under control.

rice wasn’t cut until this became too big a pr disaster – we knew he punched her, but seeing it changed the emotional reaction. it made people angrier, and i think that’s part of the ‘problem’ – rice should have been gone the moment the first video surfaced. it shouldn’t have been made ‘ok’ enough for consumers to accept, which is what i think the nfl was doing.

disgusting either way.

easiest way this goes down?

ray rice doesn’t slug his fiancé. ray rice has enough self control and respect for janay palmer to keep his hands to himself.

see how easy that is?

it’s not palmer’s fault, it’s not my fault for being pissed about it, it’s not the fault of folks on twitter or other social media being upset – it’s ray rice’s fault. the end. it’s the nfl’s fault for putting up with it and hoping to protect their brand.

could you imagine a father being ok with his daughter being knocked cold, dragged limp and cold, as long as it didn’t make him look too bad? as long as he gave the son-in-law-to-be a semi-stern talking to?

* * *

ok, so back to my point of what i see as thin ‘oh, now you care’ comments that drive me crazy.

who is you’?

what does this mean?

making assumptions of the audience burns me up. making assumptions about people’s decisions gets me just as hot.

it’s so easy to make these kinds of comments, feet up.

former duke blue devil with the restatement of ‘well, it’s kind of ray’s fault, but man that war machine tmz is out to ruin the man who knocked out his fiancé!’

here, we see local (to raleigh, nc) writer/radio personality lauren brownlow (who is hilarious and insightful as hell) mildly harassed on twitter by a follower upset she wasn’t covering another story (that broke a long time ago and has already been covered). 

just strange, the reactions elicited by reactions. 

* * * 

here’s what i think,

people care because national news is national news. 

i think people in ferguson were angrier because of police behavior after brown was shot. it became a national story because there were riots over potential civil rights issues. 

people were upset that the police released facts about brown that had nothing to do with the shooting itself. 

that conversation has morphed – as conversations are allowed to do – into what is and isn’t appropriate in regards to police force and holding police accountable to protecting and serving (for example, there is no database that documents how many people are shot and killed by police. i feel like that’s a thing worth talking about).

angela washeck wrote a fascinating piece that discusses how important conversations are(n’t) discussed in social media. the idea is titled the spiral of silence, and holds that ‘those who might have an opinion on an issue decide not to share with their close communities — such as family and friends — due to fear of taking the opposing view and being isolated, leading to a monopoly on public opinion.’

* * * 

consumers of ideas – who should be all of us, in a perfect world – should be allowed to have their own breaking point. to take a stand, even if it’s in concert with a loud national voice. so what that a conversation started now?

it started.

so what that most people hadn’t heard of als before the bucket challenge? so what that Facebook feeds were swallowed up with videos? so what? so what that there are other causes to donate towards, too? so what? 

i’ve seen fallout about the ‘ban bossy’ campaign, as if it’s a bad thing to want young girls not be labeled ‘bossy’ for showing assertiveness in the classroom.

it doesn’t matter if the word is or isn’t the issue – what matters is that there is an issue about the perception of girls being leaders in the classroom and there is an issue that, for some reason, people feel threatened enough about it to write responses pieces to the idea.

what are y’all scared of? 

i’ve seen people i (once) respect(ed) commenting on Facebook about the nude celebrity photos leaked from the cloud in which they blamed the victims for taking those photos in the first place. 

absurd. logic so faulty it wouldn’t make it out the driveway. i guess i shouldn’t own a tv if i don’t want to risk having it stolen?

* * * 

i need a stopping point and can’t believe y’all read this far.

people are hungry for justice. 

those hungrier are those in the shallow end of that pool.

those apathetic or distant are the ones (in my opinion, obviously not ‘fact’) perched on floats with mimosas in the deep end, having built or been raised in a universe in which justice errs on ‘their’ side. 

i have no idea when it became a problem to think women should be treated equally to men all the time, but it’s clearly still a revolutionary idea. white officers armed with military weaponry facing off with black citizens while giving no explanation to their decision making should be a problem. 

we should be allowed to be pissed off when we’re ready to be pissed off, i think, is basically what i’m saying. 

we have our reasons, we have our voices to share those reasons, we’re allowed to change our minds and speak our hearts.

i think it’s lazy to stay one step out of the circle and throw empty lobs of condescension.

there. i said it in a mildly wordy fashion, 

joel

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