The world goes on stupid and brutal, but I do not. Can't you see? I do not.
Whenever something horrible happens in America, I remember the conclusion of this great book. The main character makes a choice to not be stupid and brutal; the world can go on cruelly, but she will not.
I steel myself against the horrors of the world by reminding myself that I can choose not to be cruel. I can choose not to be brutal. If I find myself thinking racist thoughts (like being afraid of a young, black man, just because he is young and black), I can choose to stop thinking those thoughts. I can deliberately refuse to be a racist fuckwit. I can opt out of the system.
And right as I was starting to feel pretty good, I glanced down at my phone and saw a post from a friend of mine who wrote that she had to stop her car on her way to work so she could cry; cry because is the mother of a young, black man and she has to be scared for him in a way that is entirely incomprehensible to me.
It hit me like a ton of bricks right then what a tremendous privilege it is to choose not to participate in racist America. I can opt out of a racist system because I am white. My friend can't. Her son can't.
It matters to refuse to be racist, to refuse to be stupid and brutal. I will keep doing this. I will teach my daughter to do this. And I will cut anyone out of my life who chooses stupidity and brutality. But I hope I always remember what a tremendous privilege it is to make a choice on this when so many people don't get to. Because if I don't, all the rest matters a lot less.