Look, I am pro at wasting time. I can’t even begin to detail the amount of subpar Jennifer Aniston movies I’ve watched on Netflix or how many times I have watched The X-Files or The League. I can spend three hours listening to the same song on Spotify while mindlessly scrolling through article after article. I could probably summon up the most perfect gif response for any emotion within seconds because that’s just how adept I am at the art of doing nothing with technology as my vehicle.
But after the last week, after the last few years, I am just so fed up with wasting time and not taking an active role in the world around me. How many more people need to die? How much more violence do we have to see on our screens? How much more ignorance needs to be shouted by politicians from bully pulpits before we wake up and do something?
There will forever be something going wrong in the world and sadness will always be around the corner in some form…but what if we stepped up and did something other than playing Pokemon? Over the last few days my newsfeed has been filled with news of black death, police brutality, police deaths…and Pokemon Go!
I understand that we can get mired in the sadness and it can eventually consume us until we are unable to think about anything else but perhaps that is what we need to do? Perhaps we all watch the video of Alton Sterling, we read the articles telling us how to get involved, we speak up and let our communities know that we can’t continue to live in a world like this?
I have spent hours wondering what am I doing to stand with my black peers? How am I contributing to the conversation? How am I going to play my part to perhaps make black futures better?
I am writing this and so for now that is enough to ease my conscious but that’s not enough for me and living in our safe little worlds apart from the violence we view on TV is not enough. Saying a goddamn prayer doesn’t change anything. Sending your “thoughts” to the black families does absolutely nothing.
And playing Pokemon certainly doesn’t.
I watched Pokemon when I was a kid and I remember some lines from the theme song went: I will travel across the land / searching far and wide / each Pokemon to understand
the power that’s inside. Besides the obvious creepiness and awkwardness concerned with a bunch of humans trolling entire cities trying to capture weird cartoon creatures, I do think that it’s worth noting the significance of those words. What if y’all put forth that same passion towards securing black futures?
What if y’all practiced a little empathy within your communities and worried a little about young black children knowing the power that’s inside each and every one of them? What if the feverish haze that’s taken over people in this nation as a result of the Pokemon app happened after yet another black man is gunned down just for being the wrong skin color?
It is human to want to get through the day by whatever means possible but I can’t in good conscious continue to buy into this lie. You can keep your apps and your mindless television shows, I want to figure out my role and how I can truly help better the world.
And my god, even if I don’t live to see a single thing change, I can at least die knowing I spent a lifetime trying and learning.