White People, Speak Up

Friends, enemies, colleagues, I implore you. This week, talk to another white person. Tell them white supremacy is terrorism.

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How does one go about their daily life without acknowledging what is happening in the world around them? How does one socially interact with human beings each day, and not engage in discourse around many of the social issues of which we are currently plagued? I ask because, this oblivion must be nice. This privilege of not having to worry about your general safety and human rights is a privilege I would love to have and live.

I wish my days could be carefree, but they aren’t. As long as there are folks who walk the Earth believing that “White” and “Black” are ethnicities, I will never be carefree. As long as folks call me militant or make jokes about being conscious, I will never be carefree. As long as white men are in power, I will never be carefree. Call me pessimistic. Call me negative. Call me hype or too serious. Tell me I am doing too much. I don’t really care.

Society has moved forward because of people who did too much. Malcolm X did too much. MLK did too much. Fred Hampton did too much. Harriet Tubman did too much, and Nat Turner, a personal fave, definitely did too much as well. I can’t think of any better shoes to follow behind.

Each headline that concerns a marginalized group is a headline that matters to me… I can sit on a beach with a good book and relax, but you better believe that book is going to push my thinking as another resource to build my knowledge base. Knowledge is power, and it is the only power I can somewhat safely obtain. I am hungry for knowledge, and I am hungry for the power to have true dominion over my body.

Each day I do not learn something new about the pursuit of true liberation is a day that was wasted. Whether the discipline be spirituality, education, politics, the arts, etc. The medium does not matter. What matters is that with each word, and every discussion I am one step closer to mental freedom. 

I admit, many days I am discouraged. It can feel like a burden to see the world we live in for what it truly is… man has turned a place of peace and beauty into a place of violence and disarray. Yet, even on my worst day, I am thankful to know and see the truth. I woke up four years ago when Michael Brown was gunned down in the streets. That was the beginning of a journey that I feel will never end. It is my hope that the events of the past few days will wake up my white counterparts.

Friends, enemies, colleagues, I implore you. This week, talk to another white person. Tell them white supremacy is terrorism. Don’t let micro-aggressions slide, speak up. Discard your fragility. Work through the guilt. Give a damn about the millions of people in this world that don’t have the power that you do without asking. Reflect on this fact everyday. Then maybe, you may understand a tenth of what marginalized groups feel on a daily basis.

Julia

Coping…

The trauma of being black and a woman in this country is real, and sometimes I need a break from speaking, thinking, and educating. 

I know we have been quiet, but I can only speak for myself when I say it was necessary. I have been struggling to find the motivation to fight in the face of the constant assault on the character and lives of people of color in this country. Not to mention the emotional roller coaster our current administration has taken us all on.

Sometimes, after a long day at work, all I want to do is cry, or curl up with a good book and take my mind far away. The trauma of being black and a woman in this country is real, and sometimes I need a break from speaking, thinking, and educating. 

Sometimes I just need to revel in the fact that I am beautiful, intelligent, and creative individual. I must reset and recharge on a consistent basis in order to rebound from the micro aggressions I encounter each day. Whether it is because I am a woman, black, an educator, or college educated; there are always a set of assumptions people have of me. These assumptions are a symptom of the normative whiteness this society is built upon.

Intended or unintended, constant attacks on your identity are taxing. I would feel guilty at times for being quiet. I didn’t think I had the right to take time for myself if needed. I realize that, this is the only way I know how to cope for now. I am working on finding other ways to self-care on a regular basis.

As my distant family and fellow members of the resistance, please allow for grace as we continue our journey and share our thoughts with you.

Julia