Nelson Mandela passed away today. No. This is not going to be a post about how he changed my life.
I posted on Facebook a status that read:
There’s been less attention to Nelson Mandela’s passing today on my Facebook feed than when Corey Monteith killed himself. I need to review my friends list perhaps.
A friend made mention that her Facebook was alive with posts about Mandela’s passing. Though she was quick to point out that these posts were probably more empty.
I think generally speaking, most peoples posts are going to be shallow and empty. Self-serving even. The great majority of us couldn’t even possibly understand the impact he had, because we’ve never been exposed to the things he fought for and against. That’s not to discredit any feelings of sadness, loss, or otherwise that you may be having. I just like to credit my parents, family, and teachers growing up, with showing me that racism, bigotry, and Apartheid (though I may not have known it by that term) were wrong, rather than some politician/activist/political prisoner more than 8 020 or so miles away (yea, I Googled that…deal with it).
At best, studying the ANC, Apartheid, and Mandela in high school might have made me slightly less bigoted. However, as a whole, his passing doesn’t have any influence on my day. I didn’t learn any great lessons from him. He didn’t directly influence my life. Yea, he spun some beautiful quotes about the realities of life. So did some wickedly horrible people. So while his work was certainly admirable, the fact that he died was no more or less important than the rest of the people I could read about in the obituaries.
Are we sad because he was an influence on us? Or are we sad because it would seem insensitive not to be?
“This man did great work, he shaped a nation, a continent even. How could you be so ignorant as to not feel this great loss?”.
I’m not saying the average, white, North American CAN’T be influenced by Mandela. A great deal of people have been, and honestly will continue to learn from his legacy. My point lies more towards the line of: We should take a look at why we are being mournful. Are we just jumping on the popular opinion bandwagon? When great people of history pass on, it’s time to reflect on what they have meant to your world.
The impression I’m left with is that people are far more concerned with their social image.
I recognized that this person did some great things for some other people. Now like my status.
If that warrants a quick WikiQuote scan for your favourite quote, that doesn’t make you a bad person. I guess I just question the sincerity of it all. In a roundabout way, I just legitimized the phenomenon of celebrity apologists. I’m more apt to believe a person is heartbroken over a dead celebrity, than a quick blurb about someone of consequence that left their thumbprint on history.
I hope if you posted about Mandela’s passing, you took the time to reflect. That you understand why you are mournful. If you have, that reduces this to cynical, diarrhea-filled vitriol, by some obnoxious talking head.