Tag Archives: empathy

They Don’t Want Us To Be Woke

Let’s start with this, so that we’re clear from the onset.

I am a survivor of rape and domestic violence. I am also both woke and aware that sometimes women lie about being victimized by men. Therefore, what I’m about to state isn’t based on my biased emotions because of what I’ve survived. I don’t hate men and I know how to be objective.

If you are a person of color, and you don’t go to see Birth of a Nation, you’re playing yourself and robbing our children of an important moment in American History that is not sugar-coated or watered down.

A jury of his peers found Nate Parker not guilty of raping a woman, whom he had a relationship with, when he was a young, black man (without millions of dollars in the bank) on a sports scholarship in college. Now, as a grown man, Nate Parker is being vilified for that same crime because he successfully made a movie that could have a positive impact on our legacy and the minds of people in this country.

This is not a “I slipped something in her drink/I gave women drugs regularly” situation by any means. Nate Parker has spoken about this incident and never changed his stand on his innocence. Recently he was interviewed by Robin Roberts about the incident. After the interview, The Grio published an article about said interview with a very misleading title in an effort to (obviously) gain readers’ attention.  During the interview with Robin Roberts, Parker was expected to apologize for the rape controversy that recently reemerged and exploded due to the spotlight put onto Birth of a Nation. In my experience as a rape victim, a woman, and a citizen, innocent people, who are proven innocent by a jury, don’t often apologize for a crime they didn’t commit, if they didn’t commit the crime. It is my opinion that mainstream media is attempting to hang Parker with his past, in hopes that no one will go see the movie.

The reality is this: the biggest demographic of movie goers is women. With an estimated annual buying power of $5 trillion dollars, women rule in many areas of importance, regardless of what you may assume.  Therefore, if women are led to believe that Nate Parker committed the crime of rape, even though a jury found him innocent, women will sympathize with the alleged victim, if they too have been violated, or empathize, even if they haven’t, and thereby boycott Birth of a Nation instead of supporting it. Someone somewhere is hoping that on this opening box office weekend, that will be their victory.

Ask yourself this one question if you think I’m blowing smoke:

If Parker were in fact guilty of the crime of rape, why bring it to the forefront after he’s already starred in several movies, along with the likes of Denzel Washington?

I’ll tell you why. Birth of a Nation isn’t just going to be in movie theaters across the country or the world. There’s an educational curriculum developed around the film to put it into school districts as well. If our next generation isn’t led to believe that slaves were happy being enslaved and are instead taught the truth about what slavery was, introduced to more stories about how slavery impacted the country the live in, they are more likely to have a higher sense of self, civic responsibility and concern about civil rights as it relates to themselves and other people of color. 

The rape case that ended with a not guilty verdict is being used as a distraction. If Nate Parker was a White man, putting out this same movie, the crime he WASN’T found guilty of committing, wouldn’t be a topic of any conversation at all…. anywhere. I urge you to make a decision to educate yourself about a pivotal figure in African-American history instead of allowing yourself to be influenced by the spin being put on Nate Parker’s past. If you were in his shoes, that is what you’d want.

They don’t want us to be woke. So we need to stay woke.

Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight
Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight

A Disturbance In The Force

It always amazes me how you can know a person for a very long time, then wake up one day and realize that you barely know them at all. Then there are the people who, no matter how much time or distance is between you and them, they ALWAYS know when something isn’t right with you or in your world. During those instances when someone or something has disrupted my flow or thrown something in my life out of balance, even slightly, Super Son will say “I sense a disturbance in the Force“, which for those of you familiar with Star Wars (1977), you know that is in reference to a classic line said by Obi Wan Kenobi. It may be my body language, my tone of voice or my overall mood he’s picking up on, but he’s rarely incorrect. Right now, there is definitely a disturbance in the Force.

Everyone has a least one person with the innate ability to access when you’re not 100% yourself or at your best. Everyone has that one person who is in tune with them to the degree that they can easily sense a disturbance in your Force. Whether you had a hard day at work, encountered a difficult person in the grocery store (it can’t just be me) or had a disagreement with someone you love. That ability is also referred to as empathy. It is completely natural, but not often utilized in our society because we’re often too self-centered to notice what others may be dealing with.

Lack of empathy is why some people are so quick to say that people should “get over” the verdict in the Zimmerman trial, because it wasn’t their child that was murdered. Lack of empathy is why some people are able to watch an elderly man being brutally beaten at a gas station and not make any attempt to help him or even dial 911. Lack of empathy is why some people don’t have any respect for human life. Until…they become a victim and want someone to help them.

Being empathetic towards others doesn’t make a person appear weak. If anything we have the capacity for empathy because it makes us stronger. Being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes for a brief period of time, can actually help you to make better decisions for yourself longterm. Knowing, even through empathy, what it is like to lose a child, a spouse or a parent can improve how you deal with others in a similar situation. Knowing, even through empathy, what it is like to have cancer, depression, dementia or even a broken heart, can help you to help others, and yourself, in the same or similar situation. Knowing, even briefly through empathy, someone else’s struggle, pain or tragedy makes for a more compassionate and understanding human being and human experience. I think we could all use a little more empathy in our lives.

This disturbance in the Force that I’m experiencing will soon be resolved and I’ll be back to my normal. Nothing lasts forever and I’m very resilient. Plus I have a lot of positive distractions I can focus my energy on. But now I know what this feels like and so does Super Son. Now, if a day ever comes and he goes through a similar experience, he will likely have this time to reference back to in order to help him through his disturbance. And may the Force be with him.