The photo above is an interesting little thought exercise my wife conducted on Facebook.
Are the woman and the horse coming or going?
In response to my wife’s post, I stated that they are going and not coming, my logic being that the tail and the head position gives it away, according to me… 😉
I let my comment stand without further elaboration or debate. However, others chimed in with their own logic, some agreeing with me and others disagreeing. Of course, agreement, disagreement, whether the horse and woman are coming or going, is all beside the point.
My wife’s point (one of her points, anyway) is that it really doesn’t matter if the woman and the horse are coming or going. It is just a beautifully-captured silhouette image. A beautiful optical illusion that should be appreciated because you can’t clearly discern the direction the woman and horse are traveling in.
My wife’s other point regards the ensuing debate the photo created. People jockeying so vehemently to be proven right that they lose all sense of objectivity. This rather interesting and disturbing behavior speaks to a larger phenomenon in our society today. Most people are so preoccupied with “being right” that they forget to “do right”.
We as a society are so enamored with our own perceptions, interpretations, and beliefs that anything that counters those things is viewed as a personal affront.
Let us replace the image above with a couple recent events and examine how society’s perceptions of those events are often skewed towards the emotional instead of the logical…
The George Floyd killing
If you are sympathetic towards the police or predisposed to view black people as inherently criminal, your perception of this killing is that Floyd got what he deserved. He had a record. He must have resisted arrest. Any justification to absolve the actions of the officers by blaming the victim.
Conversely, if you are black and/or are predisposed to see the police as largely a corrupt and tyrannical entity, this is yet another example of an unarmed black person killed by the police with no justification whatsoever.
Let me preface what I am about to say by saying that my perspective or opinion is no more or less valid than anyone else’s, but I do try to think about things and get as much information as I can before forming an opinion.
That said, in my opinion, this killing is not about race, hatred of the police, support of the police, or anything else other than the actions and behaviors of the parties involved. An arrest for what amounts to a petty crime should not end in the death of the suspect when the suspect is already in custody. That George Floyd was black is incidental. That the four officers involved be held accountable is imperative. What led up to the killing is even more important.
Take race out of the equation and look at it as a “right vs wrong” situation (which it is). Let that guide your perception.
Here is another case where a white woman pulled a gun on three black women:
I posted an edited version of this video on my Facebook page and one of my friends pointed out to me that I should view the full video (his assumption being that I hadn’t viewed the full version) to get the full context.
My friend is a white male (I’m a black male, in case my readers didn’t realize that) and he appeared to default (key word being “appeared”) to a position of defending the white woman who pulled the gun.
My response to my friend is that the full version of the video didn’t change my opinion that the white woman was unjustified in pulling a gun out on three unarmed women, who while unjustifiably agitated over a slight, were not an immediate threat to her or her husband.
She and her husband were in the safety of their vehicle at a point where they simply could have just driven away and left the scene. The white woman chose to pull a gun and exit her vehicle instead of deescalating the situation.
As I said to my friend, both sides were being emotional and acting stupidly. Nothing warranted such idiotic emotions on the black women’s part and the white woman had no cause to pull a gun.
I further mentioned that people need to stop wearing their skin color on their sleeves and acting like victims or get offended by everything and feeling threatened when there is no actual threat.
I closed that response by mentioning that I grew up around guns and been around guns my whole life. You don’t pull a gun in a circumstance like that. You pull a gun when your life is truly in danger, and when you pull it out, you better be ready to use it. A gun is an instrument for protecting yourself, not an instrument to intimidate people or to pull out because you “feel threatened” (aka: feeling disrespected). This lady cared more about being called a racist than in de-escalating the situation.
UPDATE: It is now reported that white couple involved in the above incident were arrested and charged with felonious assault on the black woman and her two daughters.
According to the Yahoo News article, Jillian Wuestenberg, 32, and Eric Wuestenberg, 42, were taken into custody on Wednesday, the same day they got into an altercation with the family at a Chipotle in Orion Township.
While I am of the opinion that there is enough blame on both sides of this incident, the decision to pull out a gun rather than deescalate and walk away is clearly more egregious than vehemently demanding an apology for a perceived slight.
This is just my perspective, but at the end of our exchange, my friend and I saw the situation the same way and didn’t feel the need to prove one another wrong. In other words, we appreciated the full picture and not just our own perception of the picture.
Nice little thought exercise, Wifey!
-The Rational Ram