Finding Ways to Breathe

I haven’t posted anything in a while because I’ve been struggling to find something to say regarding Ferguson, Mike Brown, Eric Garner, and the state of police brutality in America.

However, now is not the time for me to “have something to say,” mainly because now is the time for me to be an ally, to let folks grieve, to let black folks speak, and to make sure I listen and not interrupt.

Nothing I have to add differs from what everyone has already said on the matter.

Black lives matter. I stand in solidarity with the protestors pouring their hearts out across the country. Institutionalized racism exists. There are systematic problems with police training and tactics. I can’t breathe.

Like so many other folks, I’ve been left speechless. I’ve spent far too much time laying on my bed in the wake of the grand jury non-indictments. I don’t know what tangible solutions look like. Calls for “dialogue” and “conversations” inevitably occur in the aftermath of traumatic, nation-stirring events, but such calls never bring anything to fruition. Inspirational posts on “spreading love” are nice, but they don’t solve. What solves?

My thoughts have turned back to the industry I’ve been trying to take a hack at. Who has the real power to “contribute to the conversation”? We all do of course, but our individual tweets, posts, this blog, etc., get subsumed in a whole host of noise. The voices who are listened to end up being concentrated in large numbers in Hollywood.

When television/film speaks, people tune in. And yet, in this instance, Hollywood, by and large, has remained mostly silent (most of the solidarity with “I Can’t Breathe,” at least what I’ve observed, has taken place in the sports arena). I don’t know what can be done policy-wise to change institutional racism. I am no expert on police training.

What can be done in Hollywood though — such a loud producer of lionized voices — is the production of stories that seek to sculpt perceptions on issues that matter. An emphasis on enlightenment, rather than distraction.

With an awards season coming up seriously lacking in interesting contenders, I hope to see some of America’s most well-loved celebrities being public allies.

Really, it’s the least they could do.


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