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Ignorant Eyes


Ignorant Eyes

Tiffany Graham

by Tiffany Graham

There is so much I don’t know.

I don’t know what justice is. Or how it should look in my culture. Or where to start.

I was walking by a building in another country. I heard the screams of a child. I sensed panic, fear, pain. A man was yelling words I somehow knew, in a language I didn’t understand. There was a muffled thud. The screaming stopped. I stood there, still listening, as people walked by me on the street. I knew they heard it, too, but nobody stopped. After a few more moments of waiting, I walked away.   

Four days later, home again, the screams echoed in my memory. They were so sharp. I hadn’t told anyone. How could I describe it? I didn’t say anything.

A year later, I closed my computer after reading through debate and outrage online over bathroom rights and a dead gorilla. The thump from a year before reverberated to the rhythm of my heartbeat. Each beat was followed by sickening silence. How could I explain?

In the last two years, I’ve heard so much anger over injustice. But sometimes, it’s as though I’m still stuck, standing frozen in the middle of the wrong side of the world. Distinct with my white skin and startled eyes. So ignorant of the pain those around me take for granted.  

I’ve never told anyone about that moment. It has numbed the unrest in my soul over the hurt in my own country.

And yet, I wonder how I might react to the injustice in my own culture if I could just see it through ignorant eyes. If I could spend a day as a foreigner, what screams might I hear? Would I understand those who yell in outrage? Would I stay silent?

There is so much I don’t know.