How You Do Anything is How You Do Everything … OR … “Doesn’t your freedom deserve more?”
Honestly, every time some “post-racial” “tragedy” has occurred during the last three years, I’ve believed it my duty to respond with some type of khoLi.-created language or tool.
In reverse order, there’s been:
- The Oscar/Grammy Response
- The Reaction to Beyonce’s “Formation” Release
- The Murder of Eric Garner
- The Death of the Miracle Disguised as Flesh: Amiri Baraka
And my all-time favorite piece … wait for it …
To many, a few of those links might not seem tragic. I understand this.
It’s difficult to immediately parse out the ways in which one of the leading entertainment award shows negating (entirely) the work of black people, is inextricably linked to (or perhaps, simply telling of) American race relations.
The thing is, everyone didn’t/doesn’t feel this way.
Many of us (read: all your black friends) have continually made requests of all of us to critically discuss and challenge institutionalized racism and its affects on … well … all of us. And honestly, so many of us (read: mostly white people, but other ethnicities too) have refused to do so. Many of us have made racism — and all of its lasting attributes — a black thing.
INSERT 2016 election results, also known as, a swift kick in the face of white liberal smug and sarcasm, also known as forcible disillusionment.
How do you feel?
And honestly, I’m asking this of my non-black friends. Literally, what is the sensation that swells within you knowing that you believed yourself, or women, or gays, or lesbians, or trans folks, or poor people, to be exempt from institutionalized racism and patriarchy?
I’m using the word institutionalized, because if the electoral college, once again, deciding against the desires of the popular vote is not institutionalized racism or a usurped concentration of power, then I really don’t know what is.
Then it dawned upon me with a certain suddeness that I was different from the others; or like [them perhaps] in heart and
life and longing, but shut out from their world by a vast veil. I had thereafter no desire to tear down that veil, to creep
through; I held all beyond it in common contempt, and lived above it in a region of blue sky and great wandering shadows. (W. E. B. Du Bois)
Do you feel different?
Do you feel seen? Or viewed?
It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of
measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his two-ness — an
American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose
dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder. (W. E. B. Du Bois)
We don’t have to go too far into how I’m finding it difficult to wholeheartedly empathize with what feels like a pervasive mixture of both shock and sadness.
We also don’t have to hold our breath in anticipation of me saying “Told you so.”
(Though I am letting so very many of my friends say it for me.)
What I will say is …
THIS IS AN EXCELLENT JOB TO EVALUATE HOW YOU SHOW UP IN THE WORLD.
The phrase goes, “How you do anything is how you do everything.”
Accepting it as true can change your life.
And right now, don’t you deserve a bit of change?
HAVE YOU BEEN:
- Lacking empathy?
- Consumed with your own well being?
- Dismissive of black rage?
- Dismissive of black lives?
- Dismissive of LGBTQI lives?
- Despite knowing that revolution belongs to the masses, smug toward the idea of a hugely uneducated group of citizens (acting out of power preservation) electing a President (no matter how ill-equipped) to save them from their present circumstance?
If you’ve been like this in any aspect of your life — apathetic, self-centered, dismissive, smug, and generally disbelieving — you’ve probably been like this, at least once, in every aspect of your life, with more people than just those you consider to be social or political minorities.
STOP IT. That’s not nice. That’s not how you build an authentic, understanding, connected community moving toward a common goal.
That is, however, you make it all about you.
TODAY, ARE YOU:
- Paralyzed by fear?
- Triggered to the point of ineffectiveness?
- Responding out of hurt feelings?
- Engaging with every hurtful post/status update?
- Pleading with others to hear/understand you?
- Feigning shock at the state of the world?
- Vowing to leave the country or disengage completely?
If you’re doing this right now — 2 months out from Trump actually entering the White House, with no real knowledge of what is actually coming, with no critical thinking put toward the fact that peace comes in cycles and that revolution nor regime change nor ideological shift (in no book we’ve ever studied) has ever been linear … if 2 months out, you’re already victimizing yourself, proclaiming that America (even with all its previous freedoms you’ve been partaking of) is the worst country in the world, and that you’d rather live elsewhere than understandably be responsible for the futures of others as so many before have been responsible for yours … if 2 months out, you’re already at the end, where you’ve decided we all lose — you’ve probably been like this, at least once, in every aspect of your life.
STOP IT. You’re not a victim. None of this is about you. None of this is personal.
And then again, all of it is personal.
You, we, all of us, need you to do better. Trust me.