This is such a hard time for so many people, and I am trying to find my voice in it all. People are hurting, things are being exposed, and the reality of this racist world is on display to so many people who have thus far chosen to ignore it. There have been endless amounts of posting and copious displays of ‘solidarity’. To be honest, I am exhausted by it and, along with so many POCs, I see the transparency and showmanship of it all.
I’m here just to remind everyone of something, especially these white folk who are suddenly all up in arms. There is constitutional, systemic, judicial, governmental, global, supremist racism everywhere. Thank you for finally noticing. We have been saying it for years, we have been fighting for years, and maybe this time you’ll pay attention long enough to care. Thanks to those of you that have been listening, that will continue the fight, and that are real allies. To be honest though, I don’t think the majority of you are. We’re not here with our fingers crossed and hopes up, expecting you to care about this when lockdown lifts and you return to your privileged lives.
I want to remind you all of one thing though. When I’m having conversations with other POCs about this, that energy you may feel now to fight this is energy we have spending for years to get our causes heard. We are feeling tired, we are feeling ignored, still, and we are triggered. The things that you are discussing in these abstract concepts, these huge statements you’re making on our behalf, these endless posts you are making expressing your sympathy. These things are our actual, real, daily lives.
The number of stories I have heard from friends and family these past two weeks of the kind of racism they experience on a daily basis is heart-breaking, but also just a recognition of a fact we all already knew to be true. I can think of countless times I have been racially, and homophobically, abused or profiled just roaming around in London. So, I can’t even begin to imagine the kind of racism people darker than me, less privileged than me, and in areas less aware than mine are experiencing.
When you share videos, and talk of global change, or spread stories – it can be helpful! It may help spread the message and help show other white people, and maybe even some POCs, the extent to which things are so out of control. But, it is also triggering. It makes so many of us remember these experiences. It reminds so many people just how precarious our positions are within the places that we call home.
This is about the experiences of actual people who have so many aspects of their lives dominated and ruined by racism. Remember that. This isn’t an abstract construct that is just read in books or seen in the States. It is affecting the people you know, who see your posts on Facebook, and who hear you now talk, after all this time, about these things we have been experiencing our whole lives. Remember this. Real lives, real people.
“I can’t believe what you say, because I see what you do.” – James Baldwin