I must say that the last few months of news coverage has been irritating, to say the least. From the coverage of Mike Brown, Darren Wilson and Ferguson, to Danielle Watts, I’ve been feeling very mentally drained watching all of this. The reason being, not just of the horrible atrocities that happened, but by the lack of culpability many of the guilty parties have exhibited.
Now, when the Mike Brown situation first happened, it was very overwhelming information to take in, especially for anyone who is like me who lives in and around the St. Louis area. I was so hesitant to “cross the river” for a while (our own colloquialism) in these parts, due to all of the rioting coverage. I waited before engaging with other people who participated in the many peaceful riots that weren’t covered (the cameras were there, but the peaceful footage wasn’t shown. Go figure). What we all realized was, it wasn’t just the egregious crime that evoked such strong and hurtful emotions, it was how the Ferguson police handled the situation.
Most people wanted answers, an explanation, just something to give us some peace. However, we got a strong armed robbery video before we got Darren Wilson’s name. Just the entire way that the situation was handled was to protect the police department, rather than serving the people who deserved answers.
Then, once that heat began to die down, the Danielle Watts situation happened. At first it came off as racial profiling, and just like Charing Ball I remembered my own situations of being propositioned as a high schooler while wearing khakis and a polo shirt at my job. I immediately felt horrible for Danielle… until I heard the full story. Unlike the poor women at the Standard Hotel, Danielle’s perceived prostitution allegation seemed more so in her head. Her accusations of profiling and statements of “this wouldn’t have happened if I wasn’t black,” just immediately elicited an eye roll from me each time she did an interview.
I once wrote about how it seemed like apologizing was going out of style, but now it seems like the lack of apologizing has morphed into people creating ridiculous excuses for their poor behavior. People seem more invested in creating alternate reality excuses for why they did what they did, rather than admitting that they were wrong.
Instead of saying: “I handled the situation poorly,” we get horrible answers, or (in the case of the Ferguson Police department) no answers at all. People seem so intent on protecting themselves, that they seem to overlook the negative ramifications of what avoiding blame can bring.
Just like the babysitter who put her boyfriend and friend up to rob the house that she was over, and decided to blame it all on the Black neighbor, when you throw rocks and hide your hand, you’re putting other people in danger. It can cause other people hurt, and they can be negatively affected while you’re trying to save yourself. It’s not fair.
I know that accountability is hard, and it’s very easy to want to deflect, but at the end, no one benefits from it. Sadly, the person who tries to deny blame usually doesn’t end benefiting from it as well, because things always end up coming out. So though it might be unpleasant, it’s better to accept your “L” than trying to throw blame somewhere else. There’s honor in being mature and admitting fault. Don’t cause others to suffer due to your own poor decisions.
Kendra Koger catches L’s and W’s, while simultaneously tweeting @kkoger.