Like most of you, I am glued to the radio or television or Internet, catching up on the latest developments with Hurricane Katrina aftermath.
It really captures my heart and emotions. Especially when I think about what it must be like to start from zero again. How do you do it? How do you start again, besides just doing it?
One of my students asked me about -- or rather, brought up -- the topic of getting back to normal. More of a philosophical, reflective kind of topic. When do you know you're getting back to normal? Back to your routine? Does it just happen? Or do you make a conscious decision?
And then we thought and talked about the guilt that comes with getting back to normal, especially when/if a tragedy that's affected our human family hasn't hit us directly. Even though we're all connected, and each of our actions affect the other. Even though we, in California, could be the one's being reported on if/when the big quake hits. How would we feel about others getting back to normal?
I read a commentary about how Katrina has galvanized black people in the U.S. That it's kinda like the collective "eye" that we give, without having to speak, when someone (usually not black) says or does something insulting, stupid, racist, whatever... that black people just get. That this tragedy has galvanized the black community because most of us have our roots "down south," whether we claim them or not, or that we realize how vulnerable we are in a place where politicians don't care, as Kanye puts it, about black people. That finally, others may begin to see what many of us have known for a lifetime. The normal lives of black people don't get discussed, mattered about, dissected, analyzed, whatever... until they make the six o'clock news.And we get it. While others don't. Well, suffering, I think we all can get. The ethnicity part... not everyone gets. Or wants to get.
I wonder, when/if this story fades, what normal will be like. Or will it be business as usual when it comes to black people, and the poor, the brown, women, immigrants, gays and lesbians, kids, etc...
Just some things on my mind on a night when I can't sleep.