The world is on fire and I’ve largely missed it. Is there a greater mark of white privilege?
I am not ok for reasons that are personal and not even a drop in the ocean that is the grief and rage of systemic hate and oppression. “I’m not racist!” We who are complicit in upholding these systems, who benefit from the privilege of our shade of skin, would like to shout this from the rooftops and imagine it absolves us.
Spoiler: it doesn’t.
I’ve struggled with writing this. Silence is complicit, but my voice added to a cacophony of white voices can only further decenter this movement.
If that movement derails, these systems continue at status quo when what they really, so desperately need is to be torn down and replaced with a just, equitable system.
White folks, we need to sit down and stfu unless we’re centering the voices, needs, and experiences of those without the privilege of our skin. We need to question our systems (do they serve everyone equitably?). We need to challenge ourselves to root out our assumptions and unconscious biases (whether we like it or not, we’re part of those systems and we’ve been taught not to see). We need to amplify the voices that have been actively, systematically silenced, and we need to engage with other white folks to confront and educate and have those hard conversations.
And we need to do this without burning out. These conversations require a heavy toll in emotion and energy, and we’re in a marathon, not a sprint. Most of the time, I’m reposting or retweeting. I read and recommend books by BIPOC authors. A friend posts a meme about good cops under attack and I comment with context and facts that were missing and how it works to undermine the needed change that is the purpose of the protests. A family member comments on a link I’ve reposted to say she doesn’t like the children’s board books with antiracist and feminist in the title so I ask her what it is about equality that’s so uncomfortable.
I’m still waiting on the answer.
And those attempted conversations wiped me out. I still have to be present for my family. Burnout is no longer the option it used to be; my mental and emotional health have to take priority. So I do what I feel I can.
I do what I can, but it’s not enough and it can never be enough until we’re all doing it. Until we can tell kids about doing all this and they say, “Damn, you’re old,” and move onto something else because they can’t wrap their heads around the frantic clinging to injustice and inequality.
How amazing would that be?
So please do what you can as you can. Know that you will screw up–we’re only human–but learn from it, apologize, and do better the next time.