There are many social ills plaguing the USA: Racism, Ageism, Sexism, Antisemitism, and a deeply rooted homophobia to mention a few. To make matters more complicated we are at a crossroads as a country. Currently there is an ever-widening gap between the have and have-nots, an ever shrinking middle class, and who can forget the ramification of our international surveillance and belligerence.
And somewhere in the midst of this 21st century miasma, many Americans want to address these social ills. Like Heather Mills they want to leave the past behind and start on a new foot, but there are many things that impede this process. Today ladies and Gentleman I am going to bring out into the light how “encouraging people to rise about whatever social ill they are facing keeps them in fact mired down in it.
It is a Noble Sentiment
It is a noble sentiment to rise above but the road to Hell is paved with good intentions goes the saying. But let’s look at it shall we?
rise above something – Fig. [for one] to ignore petty matters and do what one is meant to do in spite of them. He was able to rise above the squabbling and bring some sense to the proceedings. Jane was never able to rise above her petty dislikes
Now here is the thing, here is where I get a little miffed. The phrase is a little pejorative, it amounts for me to be a dismissal. Firstly is sexism or racism or anti-semiticism or homophobia, or ageism petty ? People cant have their lives lost or be crippled families can be torn apart. Also the question remains can you judge to what extent I or the person is question is not doing what they have to do? Let me give you an example:
Working mom supporting two children on her own gets raped one night coming from work. The guy isn’t caught or maybe he is caught and he isn’t convicted and let go. The event has psychological wounds which are difficult to be healed. As some victims of rape or sexual abuse assert, some wounds never heal. When she speaks out in anger or frustration about the rape culture that is deeply entrenched in the USA should we tell her “you need to ignore these petty matters and continue doing what you need to.” There is nothing petty about being violated and she is raising her kids.
When a gay person get beat up for their sexual preference, do we tell them rise above the hate after the thrashing is over and they can feel their legs. Do we tell Jonathan Ferrell’s mom (that she can either raise above the racism or sink under after her unarmed son was shot 10 times ? [Jonathan Ferrell, 24, was shot ten times by a North Carolina cop. Ferrell crashed his car in the early hours of Saturday morning and walked half a mile to knock for help at upscale Bradfield Farms The homeowner called 911 and police shot Ferrell when a Taser failed to stop him from approaching them]
There is still a lot of ground left to cover in terms of progress for many social ills. When less than a generation or two ago people were killed or beaten out in the open, it is a little callous to tell them to rise above it. I think a lot of people are suffering because of denial for example when we deny the existence of a rape culture our wives, and sisters and daughters are at risk.
We have been desensitized to violence. Imagine if instead of violence on TV we were shown mothers crying over their dead children more or older folk angry for being abandoned in homes, or the number of people who suffer after we our military strikes ? I think we like nice little endings where everything is solved the good guys win the bad guys lose and we move on to the next adventure. But its not like that, there are no happy ending for billions of people around the world, somethings unknowingly we are the bad guys.
of course there is more to be said
but got to go make the donuts
- Discrimination against the Elderly (obriengblog.wordpress.com)
- YouTube Wants To Get Rid Of Nasty Comments With Google+ Integration (fastcompany.com)
- Racism (ireport.cnn.com)