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You Are Lucky
Things I Should Acknowledge Before Running My Mouth About Riots

Posted by Charlie Recksieck on 2020-06-04
Things are bleak this week, there really is no denying it no matter what your politics are. Around the U.S. there are protests, riots, widespread use of force from police and escalations in response to George Floyd's death at the hands of the Minneapolis police. This all on top of a divided country that has been living mostly in isolation for the past 11 weeks for a pandemic with no known cure or even adequate testing on the domestic horizon.

Personally, I'll go you one better: my mother just died last Tuesday. (Actually, that's mixed news as she'd been sick for so long and she was able to do "death with dignity" in hospice at my sister's house at the age of 87. But still.)

What Folks Are Saying

The protests, demonstrations and even riots are continuing by the day and by the hour across the country. The looting and destruction element are obviously horrible and really can't be sufficiently justified. Although George Floyd's murder is the catalyst to this, the protests are likely morphing into more general dissatisfaction about the pandemic, Donald Trump, Republicans, growing inequity and general (and financial) insecurity.

I've seen a lot of talking heads this week who analyze and speak for a living, and few to none of them are doing a great job of tying everything up into an explainable package.

I've also been seeing lots of friends and acquaintances on Facebook posting their messages on the situation. In most cases, these Facebook posts are "my heart breaks" which is certainly more than appropriate ... but also some opining or even lecturing about why things are the way they are, or shock that "the other side" doesn't get it, when these are just messages from one person to another in a bubble. I shouldn't be too critical of the impulse to speak like this on Facebook; people want to be able to express something, in part because we really don't know what to do to tangibly help people.

Who Am I To Say

After seeing these posts and messages, I'm really hesitant to try to be profound, especially with the murder of a black man by police being the trigger point. I'm white. I grew up upper-middle-class. Me speaking with any kind of fake authority about any of this seems ridiculous. And it would be.

I also hate to say this, but I'm not shocked by what happened - both Floyd's death, and the reactions. I'm just not.

Once I came out of a matinee showing of Schindler's List when it was in the theaters. I heard multiple theatergoers whisper to each other filing out "Isn't that awful." Yes, what a take. The Holocaust was awful. But what else is there to fucking say ... or do.

What I Came Here To Say

If you're reading this: first of all that's kind of incredible because we are about 500 words in and I haven't really said anything yet.

But if you're reading this, you are reading a blog from a software company with advice aimed mostly at companies in at least a vaguely-tech setting or who want to understand technology and possibly get help with their business. Which means ...

You Are Lucky

If you are reading this, you are lucky. You are lucky to have the bandwidth and privilege to be not totally outraged 24/7 about what's going on in this country.

You are lucky to be working in an industry or curious about software, which pretty much by definition means you are in (whatever's left of) the middle class.

If you are reading this, you are probably not food insecure.

If you are reading this, it's very likely that you've had lots of advantages in life. If that's incorrect and you've completely pulled yourself up out of poverty, you're lucky to have made it, no matter how hard you've worked.

You are lucky to be able to opine about these riots without being in them.

(Feel free to substitute the word "privileged" for "lucky" in any of these.)

If you resent me calling you "lucky" then take a second look at yourself. You’re "lucky". Sorry.

If you are "law and order" person and that's one of your primary concerns, you are really lucky.

If police reform isn't a vital issue to you and your family, you are lucky.

If you were "born on 3rd base and think you got a triple" (like me), check yourself and realize that you got really fucking lucky.

My Point?

When you're about to speak definitively or with some opinion about what's going on, just before you speak or post, take a little fraction of a second to remember and acknowledge how lucky you are that you're in the position you are, then let's hear your comment.