Last night I was fortunate enough to attend a ladies wine night held by the CEO’s assistant (and incredible badass, IMO). As I walked into the clubroom with a beloved co-worker, we were met with kind greetings, but also a group of professional women all dressed in black. It was a dark day, indeed, but was this all intentional? Who knows! I know I had originally intended to dress up for this event, but upon awaking that morning I just couldn’t bring myself to wear anything but all black. It felt more like a wake than a celebration.
After some great wine and food and conversation I started to think that maybe it won’t be so bad. Maybe we have a chance right now to change things for the better. My Facebook feed affirmed this. Activist groups are starting to organize! Maybe there is hope! A few more glasses of wine and a vegan donut later and I had nearly forgotten what had cast its ugly shadow over that day. Bonding with coworkers and getting wasted on fancy food and wine was splendid!
Walking to the train station at what felt to be very late at night (but was only 8:30pm), I passed a few couples possibly on dates going to and fro. I felt their tentative spirits and nervous-boozey laughter. Or maybe I was just wine-drunk and self conscious! Ha-ha! I was so focused on catching my train, I hadn’t thought much about being in danger or anything. Very unlike me, but it gave me pause once I secured my seat and got settled. The very fact that I wasn’t worried about any immediate dangers was shocking to me, but also what a fucking privilege to not have to worry about that?! Seriously! I always worry about that and am naturally (PTSD) paranoid. I remember having the thought as I left the party, “Where is my pepper spray? Oh ok, I know where it is.” but not enough to actually have it in-hand. Rare.
Once on the train, however, I was full of mixed emotions. Hearing well-off white folks express their sudden distress and concern over the fate of our country, the shock of how hateful it all is, how they had no idea just how racist and sexist this country is (this isn’t the country I thought it was!), was very trying. And I’m not a person of color. It was hurting me to see and hear white folks burdening POC with their emotional baggage. I wanted to shout at them and shake them and make them lift the veil that their privilege hides from their eyes. I was surprised at their shock and their lack of compassion for those who have always been targeted. Those who have always been marginalized, oppressed, and attacked know this has always been a country built upon violence and hate. Your white tears are nothing new to anyone except you. Sounds harsh, maybe (not really), but it’s necessary because POC and LGBTQ have been fighting this fight all their lives.
If you’re really so upset, act like an ally and help! Join a local organization or groups who are planning protests and such. Offer comfort and kindness to your POC and LGBTQ friends and loved ones. Give space and raise the voices of these groups! Use your white privilege to elevate the causes of others! And it was within this line of thinking that I started to realize that there is hope! Maybe we as a nation built upon white supremacy needed this hideous wake up call to show just how awful things have always been. Maybe now things will finally change for the better for ALL!!!
I want to believe.
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