A Little Jaded This Week.

I just haven’t been wanting to be around people much lately.
Why?
I think I have given up on people this week.

There was this viral story that made it’s way across my feed this week about a group of women who didn’t know each other at an airport who teamed up to help another woman crying because her toddler was having a crazy tantrum and not boarding the plane. And everyone was sharing it out, “Oh! See! There’s good in the world!” and normally I would be sobbing while just emitting love of women into the universe for seeing a Mom in need and stepping up.

But that was NOT my reaction. And I realized in that moment: I’m becoming bitter. Because, I read it and just thought, Yeah, but if this had been a black woman whose toddler had been having a meltdown at Wal-Mart those same women would have just judged her and blamed parents like her for the discipline problems in our schools today.

This has not been a good week (or two) for me and people, I guess you could say.

Between attending a forum discussing youth criminal justice reform, attending a community meeting about desegregation in our schools, and the news about SNAP benefits being cut, I have been privy to at LEAST a dozen people saying things like, “The problem starts in the home. If these people would just raise their kids to be good and respectful we would not have these problems.” I MEAN THIS WAS ALL IN THE LAST TWO WEEKS.

So now, I think I’m becoming jaded. I’m seeing that if poor black or brown children are causing problems in schools, then we have no desire to gather around as a community to see what we can do to help. If children commit crimes and get punished as adults, stripping their futures away in a single decision in a courtroom, we blame their absent fathers and do not consider it our responsibility to remember they are still children. If SNAP benefits change to preselected items, making it harder to feed picky children, the parents just have to suck it up and maybe they’ll be motivated to improve their lives to have more food choice for their children.

But if a mother is traveling with her toddler who is throwing a tantrum at an airport, suddenly we want to be the silent tribe of support for a mother in need.

I don’t know. Y’all? This week has sucked. It has made me (hopefully temporarily) bitter and jaded. I’ve gotten the ultimate of ego blows in my professional life, I still have a family member who has blocked me on Facebook (WHY DO I KEEP CHECKING TO SEE IF SHE HAS UNDONE IT?), I got stupid-defense about poverty shaming and caused some unnecessary drama, and then…THEN…I accidentally read this comment on a news site.

IT WAS AN ACCIDENT, it was the first comment below the article! I was just scrolling to the end of the article!

This was all part of why I decided to take a break from social media this week too. I need to figure out how to check events on Facebook without checking EVERYTHING ELSE. I also need to figure out how to quit having bitter responses to stories of beautiful moments of support. Hopefully this is just a bad week and my loving sobbing at stories like that will return to drown out the bitterness, BUT NOT THIS WEEK, Y’ALL. Not this week.

4 Comments

  • Ashley

    I have social media cleansed this month and honestly, it has helped. I still read enough books to get me fired up but not on a minute-by-minute basis like Twitter and Facebook can do. I’m honestly thinking of just giving up on Facebook.

  • Beth E

    Reading you blog this week , I was wondering if you perhaps needed a hiatus from social media and from delving into the truth of white privilege for a while. You have a lot to ponder already. As you said, you may be getting more and more cynical. I , for one, would have come to the aid of the mother, regardless of race or nationality.
    I have another thought on why black children may be discipline problems in the schools. This comes from my 32 years as a preK teacher. I have taught middle class, privileged and poor kids of all races and hues. This is what I know. The parents of black children (I just don’t have much experience with children of other races) do discipline their children. They have strict rules and enforce them. That enforcement moist usually includes a swift pop to the derierre. Sometimes it is just that look that all Moms can deliver, especially black Moms. Often these kids have been cared for relatives when parents were at work. These older relatives know the look even better. When these kids go to school, the group is bigger, and the teacher doesn’t always see every infraction they make. They know the teacher can’t spank them. So therefore they try to get away with things they wouldn’t try at home, and it works. So they do it again. This leads to some of what we see as discipline problems that we blame on the lack of discipline at home.
    The rest of this is pure theory. Black children tend to grow before white peers. Therefore a 12 year old black middle schooler might look the teacher in the eye and know they can be intimidating. It is also my theory based on the fact that my daughter went to school that was 90% black, that black students are less supervised, they don’t have helicopter parents that track their every move. They might get into some trouble, they are expected to get themselves out. Then we judge.
    As for juvenile justice, it sucks . Newest studies say that we don’t reach full brain development until mid 20’s. But we are putting 15 and 16 year olds in the juvenile justice system saying that if t hey commit adult crimes, they should be punished as adults. They get angry and violent partially because their brains are not developed enough to make informed decisions. These young people need to be punished as children, educated, and given a chance. Again all the preceding are my opinions and random thoughts

  • Julie

    Oh Kim I feel for you. Becoming aware of (and being a great role model for speaking up about) the injustices of the world is tiring and draining. I agree about the technology break that you are trying. Our school district did a showing of the documentary “Screenagers” and ever since I can’t stop thinking about a point that was made in it—that our brains get a little dopamine burst from checking our phones, reading Twitter feeds, hearing the ding of a text, etc. Studies are proving that it really is addicting. I think the break is healthy but I also realize that it makes perfect sense for you to feel jaded and bitter.