No, you tell me, how are you doing White People?
I wanted an awakening. A reckoning, but I did not anticipate these strange days of old tangential friends, lovers, old co-workers or classmates reaching out to me.
To them I want to say… “Hey, white people — no, tell me how are you doing?”…and “really damn — what took you so long?”
No really…What took you so long? Literal centuries of evidence of rampant and systemic racism are piled up around you. I get you have never had to look outside of yourself for very long. Why have you never been this fired up before? Why have you never examined yourself and started doing the work.
Your reaching out to me has not made me feel better about this situation. It has made me angry that it has taken so many deaths for you to get here. It makes me feel responsible in some way for your well-being. It makes me annoyed that you never had to examine yourself or truly check your privilege before. Like if I respond to you — you will get a gold star or something. Don’t call me. Don’t text me to ask if I’m ok…
JUST DO THE WORK.
For better or worse I was raised, educated and still work in very white spaces, and I have spent a lifetime behind the veil, so to speak. I can share stories from every institution I have ever attended or been associated with where my worth and validity as a person were questioned because of my race. Every. Single. One.
I have 3 University level degrees — yes I love school- but mostly I knew I wanted access. I have been granted certain access — but at a price. Constant mutations and contortions to make myself presentable. Acceptable. Exceptional. I was so good at it that sometimes you could forget I was in the room. You would slip up and then play it off. “Oh, you’re not like that, though…you’re really white.” Your insistence and erasure of who I was to fit your standards was exhausting.
I have gotten messages from you asking me to tell you if I need anything. The answer is yes — yes I do need something from you — I need to stay the fuck awake! I need you to JUST DO THE WORK — daily. Don’t get complacent as the rage settles, as the memories of these brutally strange days fade, as a new “liberal messiah” gets elected to some important office.
I am by nature strangely optimistic, but I am also a realist and know that our memories fail us more quickly than we would like. I heard a friend speaking earlier tonight about how rage comes out hot, but eventually boils down to a simmer. I need you to keep igniting yourself. To keep the fire burning. Do something daily to remind yourself that this mission is not over.
Educate Yourself. Read. Watch. Vote. Then continue to push our administrators. STAY VIGILANT. Voting is only one piece of our civic duty. We must remain engaged and keep an eye on what our leaders are doing daily. They are supposed to carry out the will of the people. Unfortunately, all too often the people who have been the most vocal and civically engaged have been members of the supremacist ruling class.
So good morning and welcome to the party. I’m glad you finally received your invitation. You are finally “catching up to reality.” I implore you to DO THE WORK. Don’t ask me for resources….there are so many readily available. A short search online will yield many results. Find your compatriots who have compiled wonderful lists already for you.
And keep asking yourself and your friends the hard questions. Call each other out.
Where do you have access?
Where can you open a door?
Where can you stand up?
Who can you lift up?
(Not for any credit or accolades — this is the bare minimum…to begin)!
No — I’m not gonna call you to vent or cry on your shoulder. My tears are not for you. You are not my shoulders to cry on — not yet, not by a long shot.
Oh — and you’re gonna fuck it up. Don’t let that stop you from starting over again. It is a matter of life and death that you continue to stumble and try again.
We will not ever truly be free, until all are free!