I have been wondering if it is important how one comes to know things, particularly about race and racism. I know somebody who knows about the death of Emmet Till, but only because he's very against abortion and in his readings on abortion Emmett Till's death was used as an analogy to what needs to happen in order for the ugliness of abortion to be exposed, as the ugliness of violent racism was exposed at Till's funeral. Now, I don't have a problem with the analogy, but it seems that the story of Emmett Till is not seeping any deeper than as a argument against abortion, and that seems wrong to me. And so, it makes me wonder, if one comes to know about horrible acts, but they never pierce the psyche, never propel a deeper thinking on the issue, never become something else to explore; if the knowledge is simply there as a footnote to something that is seens as a "bigger", "realer," or "more important," issue, then is that real knowledge?
It it is hard for me to understand white people's lack of desire to know, really know, why things are the way they are in this country. Why there's overrepresentation of blacks in prisons and poverty, why white people are the most segregated people in the country. Saying, "I didn't live around any people of color so I didn't experience racism," is probably one of the saddest things I've ever heard, as the ability for whites to live in areas where there are no people of color is a direct effect and consequence of racism.
Is ignorance really an excuse? But even more than that, is a tiny bit of knowledge fed to an ignorant person going to make any difference? Should it?