I’ve been trying to work up a piece on anti-racism and having a difficult time getting it to where I think it should be – not about white people, not well-intentioned but poorly informed, something that might speak to everyone without being either puerile or patronizing.
I’ve been working on it for so many weeks that the whole subject is taking a back seat to COVID numbers and US threats against other nations and their own citizens. Once again marginalized people’s voices are drowned out by the incompetence of the people oppressing them. You think you have problems? We will just make bigger problems so you look selfish.
I hope that the protests and the attention drawn to a worse problem than disease and war doesn’t go away. Disease can be dealt with more easily and quickly than racism. War is the provenance of people [men] who think that taking something away from someone else will make them feel bigger about themselves – like racism, but an act of government that could be voted away more easily than racism.
I hope that we don’t forget the names of people who have died at the hands of the people hired to protect them, that change to our police services is made by our elected officials even when the protests fade out, that we have all asked ourselves the question: “What is it that police do anyway?” That we stop ourselves before we dial 9-1-1, and ask, is a crime being committed or does someone need help? Should I be calling family services instead? Or a mental health association?
I wish that we could all realize that lives are more important than property, that the war on drugs kills more people than drugs do, that not all poor people are criminals and not all criminals are poor, that opinions posted on social media are not the same as facts, that crimes should be investigated before people are arrested, and that medical professionals and firefighter don’t carry guns.
In the meantime, I have become aware of how many POC live in my city, something I didn’t really notice before. I stop myself from interacting with them in a self-serving and inappropriate way – going up and saying stuff like “I’m on your side” or “I’m sorry about everything”, or smiling in what I think is a friendly way but realize probably looks patronizing or just demented. I try to just be normal and still aware. They are usually at a bus stop or walking while I drive by, making me feel privileged even though my car is 20 years old. It would be really weird to offer them a ride. Because of where I live, I know that most of them are new to the country and hope that their experience here is better than acceptable, that they find parity and tolerance and maybe even opportunity. I know from personal observation of someone close to me that they will have many obstacles that white people never experience. I wish that was not how it is. And I have made this about myself and how I feel about racism – dang.
Back to that other post – still don’t know how to get it right.