Race in America
Jesus be a fence.
Not sleepy — tired. Bone weary. Melancholic. It’s a pandemic, Black folx are being hunted from Louisville to Las Vegas, and y’all’s president just greenlit execution as a viable solution to civic unrest. And this was only a four day week.
I generally avoid speaking on behalf of an entire identity group, but imma go out on a limb here and say that the overwhelming majority of Black Americans are exhausted right now. And you, dear allies, are compounding that exhaustion.
The America that horrifies you is the ‘hood I grew up in.
“I feel so terrible about the events that are happening in Minnesota right now.” A white woman I’m in a zoom call with said. “I’m fed up with white people!” another one tells me. “I want to DO something!” another says.
Believe me, I get it. You feel angry, betrayed, disoriented because the country we live in is turning into a place you no longer recognize. This realization is jarring, perhaps even traumatic, and you seek the comfort of like-minded community. The problem is, we’re not likeminded.
And while we know that ‘not all white people’ are the enemy, you damn sure all wear the same uniform.
The America that horrifies you is the ‘hood I grew up in. It’s the country my ancestors made, the beacon built on the hill of a burial mound. I understand why coming to this realization frustrates you, but I don’t have the bandwidth to provide comfort, absolution, or solutions right now.
You are dealing with the realization that your good intentions are worthless in the face of white supremacy. I’m dealing with the impact of your individual and collective ignorance.
Oil thine own edges. Gather thy cousins. And for the love of God, please stop asking me what to do.
This impact manifests in me as cPTSD. Complex PTSD occurs when a person has repeated exposure to traumatic experiences like “ongoing physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, being a prisoner of war, living in an area of war for long periods of time, [or] ongoing childhood neglect,” according to Healthline.com.
America has been at war with the Black body for over 400 years. It’s a war we embody and can never escape. Black Americans are the walking wounded. And while we know that ‘not all white people’ are the enemy, you damn sure all wear the same uniform. If you’re not an infiltrator working behind enemy lines, you’re an informant. Periodt. In the words of legendary infiltrator Howard Zinn, “you can’t be neutral on a moving train.”
If you’re not ready to burn down a precinct, use your body as a human shield, or loot Target and set up an emergency aid station, at least respect that you are not entitled to Black pain, Black comfort, or Black labor.
Oil thine own edges. Gather thy cousins. And for the love of God, please stop asking me what to do. I’m too busy trying to stay alive to help you figure it out.