It's been more days since my last post than I had planned—well, initially. However, the past few days have been intentional as I realized that I needed to spend more time listening, learning, marinating. The past couple of weeks have been dizzying. Simultaneously, too much has happened and yet woefully too little.
I was one of the few thousand people who marched across the Brooklyn Bridge last Saturday, though I had only intended to attend a protest in downtown Brooklyn. I'd arrived late, finishing schoolwork due the next day, and the demonstration I was joining up with had started across the bridge over a half-hour prior—after I'd set out on my walk. This trip across the bridge was easily the most meaningful and memorable, having walked across the bridge nearly a handful of times previously.
As one White voice, I have nothing to add to the conversation of anti-racism, confronting anti-Blackness, White supremacy, privilege, systemic racism, or unchecked police brutality, particularly concerning Black bodies and lives. I am not here to be an authority on any of these matters as there have been too many in the course of history and still too many this very day. White people have been whitewashing and neutering the messages of Black people, especially Black womxn, that we need to hear.
My role, as I see it, is to listen to and learn from Black people, the myriad books and talks and films that have already been made, continue to do my work, and to confront White supremacy and invite other White people to join me. Yet, my role is not so simple. I do not believe that we can extricate Black people's ultimate liberation from the liberation of all people—women, People of Color, LGBT people, and people with disabilities—as there is too great a cross-section. The backdrop of all this work must be radically addressing climate change.
As a user experience designer and mental health counseling intern working with people with developmental disabilities, I continue to overturn the innumerable amount of privilege that Whiteness affords me, even as an Iranian-American. This nuance doesn't matter, as I am just White, cisgender, heteronormative, and abled. The only Whiteness box that I do not check is wealth. Otherwise, I am the embodiment of every characteristic prized by this racist, misogynistic, heterophilic, transphobic, and xenophobic—to name a few—system.
There have been a lot of breaking news stories in the past couple of weeks, just too many. Politicians, corporations, murders, lynchings, and all the things. One breaking news story after another. Buzz, buzz, buzz.
Yet, Breonna Taylor still does not have justice. Tony McDade does not have justice. Riah Milton was butchered, and Dominique Rem'mie Fells was murdered by gunshot. I watched Dave Chappelle's "8:46" last night, and I am struck by the way that when someone kills a cop, they coordinate a manhunt immediately, and significant resources are devoted at the drop of a hat to apprehend the suspect. Breonna Taylor was hunted down and killed in her home by police officers—they shot her eight times—literally three months ago.
If this system is not broken...
I said that I do not have anything to add to the conversation, but that does not mean that I have nothing to amplify or say. It means that I can listen to leaders such as Brittany Packnett Cunningham, Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, J Mase III, Sonya Renee Taylor, Tamika D. Mallory, and Weeze Doran. I'll post a link to more anti-racist resources at the bottom of this post. I can then apply the wisdom imparted by these fantastic humans, both internally and in the predominantly White microcosm I refer to as the world around me.
I can re-examine my thinking. I can improve my speaking. I can re-evaluate my consumption and the votes that my dollars cast daily. I can revisit the states of my current relationships. There are so many things that I can do that are necessary to do to support this revolution, one that will—I believe—result in a better world for us all. It is a marathon.
I was cautioned the other day to be mindful of what I say. I'm working on financial stability and sustainability, so there is a sense of vulnerability in this area. If a future employer, partner, or client is offended by my stated beliefs or employment of profanity, I am not confident they are not the individual or organization that I want to support anyway. Please, do not mistake these words for self-righteousness as I acknowledge that I will miss the mark in my efforts and be grateful for any correction.
I have certainly noticed how my type structure—as all roads with me either lead back to the Enneagram or psychology—has been showing up. It's a lot being a sort of societal emotional sponge. There is a swirl of powerful emotions in the air still, even more compounded by the city starting to open back up. I admit that I've felt the urge to indulge the impulse to swim in the strong currents as if they were a cross between a lazy river and a roller coaster—not quite the log flume ride. I recognize that this is merely self-indulgent and a form of numbing out.
I've needed to take extra precautions to consume enough content, primarily news and social media, to be literate and informed, but not so much to where I succumb to inaction. I'm aware of the omnipresence of the pilot light of anger that was stoked a few weeks ago, which I need to tend, but I am even more intentional to make to-do lists so that I can channel that anger into action. Anger without action, unquestionably today, is just emotional masturbation.
So, I wonder what the next few days will bring us. I, honestly, wait with hopeful anticipation. Something is happening; we are making a change. At what pace? At what human cost?
If you, too, are feeling weary, acknowledge it, and take a nap. Do or don't do whatever it is you need to re-energize. And carry on with your work.