Reckoning These Ruins: White Silence, White Structure, and Regard for Black Lives

Far too many black lives have been violently disregarded, murderously disregarded, by the white structure. As a white man, I have nothing to add, nothing to write, to make the truth of this any stronger. I can say, however, that I am listening to that truth as so many have expressed it. I can say that I am trying to learn from such listening, to act upon such learning. I can say, as one who has been absorbed by the structure, as one who has been assumed content to be part of the structure, as one who once was content to be part of the structure because I was unaware of it and didn’t need to be aware of it, as one who has benefited from the structure, as one whose silence the structure welcomes and upon whose silence the structure depends, as one who looks like the structure and is expected to carry on the legacy of the structure, as one who could fade into the structure—I can say that this structure is really a ruin.

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Walking Around Shining

This worry manifests in depression, yes, but it is not the thing itself. Despite being a stigmatized and misunderstood state, depression may at times be nothing more than a sign that one is awake to—that one cares about, that one feels—the greater worry of the world. The worry of the world, which does not recognize the individual human face, pervades the mass and is in fact defined by the mass. Mass incarceration, mass killings, mass warfare, mass ecocide (literally the killing of home), mass violence of all kinds: All these things are legion. To try to bear them is to be overrun.

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