Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Autism Answer: The Baltimore Riots and The Incredible Hulk #NationalSuperHeroDay

The downtrodden need to remain passionate so as not to become complacent, without ever exploding in anger. It's not fair but it's necessary. 

Like Bruce Banner, they/we need to keep an eye on our rights and walk the edge of justified insistence when it comes to being treated fairly--without tripping over into blind anger. 

Again I admit, it's not fair but it's necessary.

It's hard to walk that line. 

When you're constantly treated as though your life is "less than" or as though being treated fairly is a gift you should be grateful for, then you  have to choose between giving up and pretending it's okay, or insisting on change and engaging in civil disobedience. It's an exhausting way to live.

And change is slow moving. So, sometimes people explode. Which is so sad and brings the movement farther away from where it needs to be. 

In Baltimore there were protests and pleas to look deeper into the possibility of police brutality and prejudice, following the death of Freddie Gray--a twenty-five year old black man who was arrested pretty peaceably but then died of an as yet unexplained spinal cord injury while in police custody. It's all pretty shady and not-so transparent. But also, it's all too familiar and easy for folks to make assumptions. Assumptions that grow out of the world they live in. 

In Baltimore there were protests. 

But there were also violent riots and heavy looting.  

And that's why I thought of Bruce Banner. 

He turns into The Hulk when he's angry, and he destroys everything in the process. His life, his city, his possibilities for a future. But if he doesn't stay at least a little bit angry then he also loses control of his life. He has to hide away from society, become useless, and be afraid of accidentally becoming angry. 

A line in The Avengers film offered by Bruce Banner (played by the ever sexy--oops! I mean talented--Mark Ruffalo) really resonates for me today. Throughout the movie the superheros wonder what his secret is, how it is that he mostly stays in control and doesn't turn into The Hulk. In the end, during the epic and obligatory end-of-a-Hollywood-action-movie battle, when they need The Hulk to appear and so tell Bruce to go ahead and get angry, he lets us in on his trick. "That's my secret," he says as he begins to turn green. "I'm always angry."

Now, I don't know that the downtrodden need to stay always angry. But they/we do need to stay always aware and brave. Willing to step up and insist on fairness or change, without tripping over into blind anger. It's emotionally and physically exhausting.

It's not fair.
And hopefully one day it won't be necessary. 

My heart goes out to those in Baltimore and elsewhere. Scrambling to get a foothold on how to express a passion and truth that needs to be acknowledged. 

Already many superheros have emerged. Volunteers and leaders changing the tone and insisting that the reason for the outburst not get lost in the rubble of the rioting. 

I stand with them and I hear their message.  

Hugs, smiles, and love.
Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook)

Yes, I did just compare the Baltimore Riots and a Civil Rights movement to Bruce Banner and The Incredible Hulk. Yes, my mind works in mysterious ways. But in my defense I have four sons! And an itty bitty crush on Mark Ruffalo!!