The Protest of a Dangerous Black Person
Shannon Barber
246

No. No. No. No. No.

This is so wrong. All of this is wrong.

You are not supposed to feel like this for reading! Reading is supposed to make you feel good about yourself, or emotions related to the words on the page. This is so wrong.

I am very glad you have a partner who is there for you. I can’t imagine how I would react to seeing your name with the hash. I am shaking my head violently to push that thought out of my mind…

At the same time, Shannon, I’m sitting here thinking that statement — the one about your name as a hash — the one that made me cry — if that wasn’t one of your off-the-path-strokes of brilliant I’ve seen so often in your writing.

If EMPATHY requires IDENTIFICATION

(something YOU — yes — YOU taught me — which the tears are really flowing now. Without you I would be missing a very big piece of that puzzle)

If that’s a requirement, and if more people could imagine being directly impacted by the void — without you I would be missing an important piece — maybe that… could that actually be a key to breaking the wall of narcissism?

Could knowing the shape of that void, the tangible realization of the loss, could it press firm the power of our empathy buttons hard enough to activate a desire to protect and want for the safety of others?

I ask because all I wanted to do while reading this was stand directly in front of you while you read, walk immediately behind you down the street until you made it safely home.

You are important. You hold lots of pieces in your messages. You have educated me. You have activated me. I am sorry if other people don’t believe that’s “enough.” I disagree.

I hate the thought hash + your name. It broke my heart to read that thought. I can’t imagine what it must have felt like to write it. I also understand the desire to protest and having an invisible disability that would actually make it dangerous for you and those standing near you if you tried.

I have the same issue. It absolutely sucks to KNOW you cannot in good conscious go march because of a brain health problem. It’s an isolating feeling — wanting to stand with — knowing you’d just be a burden, especially in that environment.

But…

You are not alone, Shannon. I’m virtually standing with you. I’m sorry for your pain. I am angry about your fear. I wish I had some real hardcore witchcraft in my pocket — I’d cast an ironclad bullet proof invisible bubble around you (and many others too).

Love,

-Cyborg