When I think about what I know about racism, I know that I have a lot to learn. I have only hit the surface, the top of the iceberg. But I am trying. I realized that I am far from understanding the depth and breadth of this insidious ideology. I do know that when I read or see what today I know to be racist, my heart stops, and my shoulders drop. More often than not, tears come to my eyes from that lump in my throat that pushes it’s way out. How to I make it stop?
I am naive, yet realistic in the fact that this is the largest mountain, obstacle, issue we face as a nation. I don’t think it’s because there are more racists than not. It’s that idea of our ability to become anti racists and stop every action we see and hear no matter how small or large.
It is many things. It comes in word. It comes in song. I comes in spray paint on a wall, or a billboard. It comes in a statue that was set to honor someone who demoralized and dehumanized other human beings. That in and of itself can come in many forms. Mental and physical. Through the abuse of ownership and belittling. Oppression and suppression, taking away the ability for another human to do more than they did yesterday. Or even in their lifetime.
I do have a lot to learn. However, I know this much is true, the more I read and listen to black voices, the more angry I get. The more exhausted I feel. And that’s not just me describing my feeling, yes I feel it, but the anger and the exhaustion that I am feeling is what I hear in those voices. The pure exhaustion of BIPOC just trying to leave the house, drive a car, go to the park, on their sofa watching TV, in their bed sleeping peacefully, get the job they are more than qualified for, being heard in a meeting and then not getting credited for what they have just said. Raising their hands, getting handcuffed and still killed. The pure exhaustion of even trying to act like it’s not there, that it’s not real, that some behind there smiles are ready to cut them back and put them in their place. Imagine you had to exist every day with the straight up aggression of someone questioning you doing something in your own damn front yard or a micro-aggression done with a smile. I can’t even imagine either or which is worse.
We have troubling laws and policies that support this insidious behavior. Yes, laws that make much of this not even an offense, but ok. This is NOT OK! And we have some law enforcement that are color blind and only see black and see their only action is, to put them in their place. This is not who any of us should be, but I fear who we are. Because if we don’t stop it, what are we?
People are in the streets. As they should be. Honestly, if you really look back at history and not the “history” in the history books, but true, actual history. None of us would be where we are today if someone didn’t go into the streets and say, this is wrong. And I honestly don’t think some of us get that. I also honestly believe that some don’t get that those people in the streets are protecting us all from what this administration is trying to strip from us every day. The very thing that men and women volunteer to fight for us every day.
People are breaking windows and steeling things. Stealing “THINGS”! Things that these very large companies have insurance for and will loose nothing in the grand scheme of things. The loss is infinitesimal to the loss of life. Do you not agree? How about we get as outraged about someone who was killed for no reason and stop worrying about who got away with a material object. What is our fascination and allegiance with objects and not people? When did a shoe, a tv, a handbag, or a phone become more important than a human life?
I have no answers. My heart aches every day as I listen and hear black voices asking to just be treated equally and not seen as the enemy. To be considered human.
I have more listening to do.