H.,

Thank you for taking time out to join the conversation. I’m glad to hear this essay resonated with you. I’m also sorry to hear about the damage you experienced growing up in Texas. The good thing is that you were able to discern what you needed in your life (non-judgmental people with a variety of experiences beyond Texas) and you went out and got it.

Knowledge is power. And you’re doing yourself and your children an immense favor by educating them in the truth about the world we live in. Sometimes I find it’s easy with a new project/hobby/interest that in my excitement I can get burned out, or worse yet, experience a kind of sensory overload with all the info available. And unfortunately, with social justice negative comments are par for the course.

One thing that helps me is taking in the good and the bad in manageable doses. It’s not a bad thing to establish healthy boundaries for what you expose yourself to. People say, Oh, it’s only words. They don’t know what they’re talking about. Don’t worry about the comments.

They’re wrong. Words can hurt. Or heal.

Personally, I say steer clear of the naysayers, trolls, and the ignorant. If someone has a legitimate question, I’m more than happy to try and help them out if I can. If they want to argue hypothetical situations and deny facts, I have no time for that. There’s a lot of negativity/hate walking around out there on two legs. There’s no reason for me to go looking for it especially if it disturbs me. And someone else’s ignorance will never stop me from doing work I know is good, true, feeds my spirit or is edifying to the world.

There’s a tendency for people to feel that circumstances are so unique to humanity that few, if anyone, can relate to the experience. That’s simply not true.

We all live. We all love. We all bleed. Sharing our stories and listening to others’ stories naturally brings people together.

How else do we learn about one another if we don’t talk to one another?

When reading essays that at first blush seem incendiary, it’s always good to step back and re-read the essay with a cool head to see if what you’re reading is really what you’re reading.

Now I can’t speak for the author, but it seems to me that he’s addressing a very specific type of people: those who debate the value of Black Lives Matter, those who presume to speak for black people and have a lack experience or education about black people. The highlighted sections in the essay are indeed passionate, but they seem to speak to someone who resists seeing what is obvious. “I” think he’s drawing the line in the sand for people who are in a totally different frame of mind than the writer, me, you, and countless other people who realize the relevance of the Black Lives Matter movement. Frankly, if those people are resistant or self-aggrandizing, why should the author be obliged to try and change their mind?

I honestly believe his essay had no intention of opening a conversation, but instead said I no longer choose to try to have this conversation with you as you are unwilling.

Hey, thanks again!

Written by

Artist, actor, author, editorial director of Our Human Family (http://medium.com/our-human-family). Connect via social media: @clayrivers. Love one another.

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