which side are you on?

there is literally no excuse left not to know what’s going on in this country. we all know that the america white folks always told us existed, where everyone is treated the same, is a lie. there are two choices.

  1. you hate the status quo and want to live in a country where black folks, muslims, trans folks, etc. don’t risk death for existing.
  2. you like the status quo and want to continue to live in a country where black folks, muslims, trans folks, etc. risk death for existing.

which side are you on, friends? which side are you on?

things aren’t getting worse. the lights are just on now. horrific acts of violence and terror against non-cishet white folks are public knowledge now. we can see cops killing black folks, we can see TSA agents’ “enhanced security measures” against people with brown skin, we can see the murder and demonization of trans people (particularly non-white trans people). we can see the country falling under the sway of a white-nationalist con artist who traffics in literal nazi propaganda.

they always say that knowledge is power. ok, we know now. there are so many hashtags of unjustly dead black people, murdered at the hands of the state, that it gets hard to remember what order they go in. there’s way more outrage over football players kneeling than state-sanctioned murder. we know. we can see it. we can document it.

[oh yeah, and seeing all of this all the time is horrifically psychologically violent against folks who aren’t actually being shot, isn’t it, major news networks who propagate the images all over TV and the internet at all hours? it’s interesting when people die, as don henley once sneered. but i digress.]

so we know. what do we do?

oh, and by “we,” i don’t mean the marginalized, the victims of all this murder and hatred. they do enough just to get through the day. by “we,” i mean very clearly cisgender heterosexual white people. this is OUR illness, OUR burden, OUR sin. every day you breathe in white skin without fighting for the rights of everyone else, you put another brick in the wall. and fighting is small and large. it’s giving money, it’s putting in volunteer time. it’s electing people who aren’t racists. it’s demonstrating against abominations like HB2. it’s voting with your dollar.

and it’s having those ugly uncomfortable talks with the people you love. scratch most families hard enough and you find either outright racists or folks with what the business books call “unconscious bias.” y’know, the folks who you hope to all things holy don’t talk too much at holiday dinners. uncle jerry’s jokes ain’t cute no more, and it’s time to stop countenancing it. you don’t have to scream and yell at these folks, but you do have to look them in the eye and say point-blank, what you just said is wrong, and if you don’t stop saying it, we can’t speak. it’s a great shame to me that i didn’t stand up against the ugly racism in my bloodline sooner. it’s awful that it took being with the man and seeing how my grandmother did him for the pieces to all come together. better late than never, but it’s not good to be late.

so write. tweet. share those articles. but that’s not enough. do more. say out loud that black lives matter. check people when they make transphobic jokes. be a friend to a woman in hijab in public when some jackoff harasses her. if you are a white person and you see someone of color pulled over by a police officer, stop and record the interaction (preferably with an app like ACLU mobile justice so the video gets hosted elsewhere and isn’t easily deleted off your phone). if you’ve got the constitution to do so, fight back against online harassers (and untag their victims when you do).

VOTE. FOR GOD’S SAKE, VOTE. AND VOTE CLINTON. not because she’s perfect. but she is literally the only adult in the race. jill stein has objectively terrible ideas. gary johnson is engaged in a long-term guerilla marketing campaign for his legal-weed firm, not running for president. and as clinton’s transition in platform and policy from 2008 to 2016 demonstrates, she can be reasoned with. AND VOTE FOR DEMOCRATS FOR CONGRESS. they aren’t all perfect either. but when they’re in charge, better things happen.

but this thing where we white folks all tut-tut about how sad it is, wring our hands and lament, then go back to playing with our phones? that ain’t cutting it no more. if you’re not actively pushing back against the flood of white-supremacist horror that chokes life in this nation, the one we can see clear as day now, you’re complicit in its flourishing.

so do something. save someone’s life. pick a side. it’s time.

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