When heinous crimes are committed by men who look like me…I understand.
To begin, I have to set a baseline in the opinion that as human beings, I believe we all possess the power of empathy. It’s one of our instincts where we can sense how another person is feeling. Whether they’re happy or sad. Worried or excited. But more than just emotions, we can also sense when someone’s happy to see us. Whether they’re attracted to us. Whether they got something against us, like resentment or some unspoken animosity or envy.
Some of us are better than others. Some of us ignore this ability. And some of us go to great lengths to deny what they’re sensing to relieve themselves of some form of responsibility, (ie…claiming they didn’t know or saying they didn’t want to assume anything).
Aside from this ability, we’re also faced with the obstacle of doubt. Meaning, even when you sense something’s wrong, or someone’s feeling a type of way…the disbelief of others takes it toll. Not to mention people will lie to your face about it. There’s the practice of gas-lighting where we’re sometimes made to believe it’s all in our head, that we’re making something out of nothing, or that we’re just projecting. And sometimes they’re right.
Empathy is a skill that takes years to hone and refine. It can be sharpened based on our experience with people, our trials and errors. And not just you and your circle of friends, but also people who come from all walks of life, different backgrounds, races, gender, and culture. And even when you acquire this skill, it also takes time and experience to trust it.
When I was a kid called “sensitive” and they were right. I was extremely sensitive and not in just the “hurt my feelings” kind of way…I could sense or detect how the people around me felt. They didn’t need to say anything. I just felt it. Which brings me to the point of this topic…
Last week, I came across a tragic article where a man, recently paroled, was charged with killing an innocent college student in Chicago. Basically, this dude tried to cat-call her, she ignored him while trying to walk to her car but this asshole went and got mad for being ignored. He put her in a headlock, raped, and killed her. This poor girl’s body was found by her sisters and campus security. The parents, being good Christians, put out a message of forgiveness.
But the killer…his appearance perpetuates a stereotype. This man was big, tall, and black. I’m big, tall, and black. Thus…I understand why people are afraid of people like me. You can read the article to find out the full details. But in my dismay, I wrote the following comment:
“This is one of the reasons why I don’t blame people, especially women, when it comes to being afraid of men like me…big, black, obviously stronger than most. You try to live by example to show others that we’re not all the same and you can be cool and relax around people like me…but then stuff like this happens on a seemingly regular basis. And then we wonder why women cross the street just to avoid men like me. Or why women clutch to their boyfriends just a little bit tighter when I walk by. Or the sound of doors locking when I’m approaching. I’m sorry for the family of the victim. It sounds like she did everything she was supposed to do and still got killed anyway. Thanks to men who look like me.” Continue Reading