Picture it . . . My Facebook Wall: August 20, 2017
Will taking down monuments and art that honors slave owners and traitors to our country — and some who were both, and worse, besides — change history? No. It’s not about CHANGING history, but about owning up to it and correcting the wrongs one’s ancestors and or country did to an entire race/races of people. Whose penchant for terrorism included lynchings, murders, rapes, assaults, denial of RIGHTS, economic sanctions, unfair EVERYTHING. It’s about the country that demands things from me DAILY listening to and giving me some of MY demands. Namely, that it put ACTUAL, LIVING, HURTING people ahead of not just dead racists, but the statues of dead racists.
Do you GET THAT? CAN YOU get that? That there is a message being sent to people of color — many, in fact — and the message those statues left standing sends: “Your pain doesn’t matter. We don’t owe you anything, even a gesture of good faith. These dead racists, and the art and legends that’ve sprung up around them, matter more than you or your pain. They always will. None of us can change history, and we’re not even going to bother trying to make amends for what your country has done to you. Not even the small gesture of getting rid of statues that are ugly in every way it is possible to be.”
That’s the message you’re sending, America, allies, anyone who uses the Strawman of history being immutable as an excuse to not meet us even a little, never mind halfway. The people who are hurt by the honor accorded to traitors and monsters are not stupid. We understand knocking down a statue doesn’t change history. Similarly, we know that a bold statement of repudiation of America’s skewed priorities is a message, too. One that’s been a long time in coming, and which in all likelihood never will. Not at a national level.
Us: “We hurt. We have for a long time. And the fact of that pain can’t be changed, but the pain itself can be soothed with this gesture that literally only offends Nazis and racists. You can begin healing wounds with a statement that says you’re done putting traitors and bad guys FIRST.”
You: “This doesn’t change history. Knocking down statues doesn’t change history. You’re being illogical. I just don’t and won’t see it from your side, because your emotions are high. From my perspective — the obviously natural perspective, the default perspective — a cool, logical head is the order of the day. Play respectability politics and ignore your righteous anger, and maybe we’ll let you sit at the discourse table and weigh-in on your life and rights.”
That. THAT’S how YOU sound. Whether you mean to, or not. And at this point, I don’t care whether it’s accidental insensitivity or not, because whichever, its still part of the problem and still causing pain. My focus can’t be the educating and enlightening of YOU when there’s real suffering going on that you’re refusing to see and accept.
YOU don’t get to say what makes US feel better and what we SHOULD accept. What we deserve or have a right to demand of our country. You haven’t walked in our shoes and have chosen NOT to walk in our shoes. YOU don’t get to decide what makes sense for US.
You don’t get where we — a majority of black people and POCs are coming from. You maybe don’t WANT to get that, and that’s understandable. I probably wouldn’t either, if I were in your privileged shoes. But I’m done. I’m tired of being the voice of reason as I SEE IT. Of empathy, as EVERYONE should see it. I’m tired of explaining that wrongs, however old and entrenched, need to be righted. That if someone(s) is hurting and you can help, NOT helping makes you complicit in their pain. That if your idea of “help” is pointing out that something that will ease their pain and restore their faith in their nation NOW, won’t change the things that happened just over a century ago and for hundreds of years before that, you’re not being empathetic or even sympathetic. You’re placing your idea of reasonable — which, since you’re not the ones suffering from the gross privilege white skin affords you, but benefiting from it in ways you don’t even yet realize — ahead of the damage this country has done to so many of its people since before its inception. You are ignoring a continuing wrong because from your limited perspective, it won’t change anything you consider worthwhile. And you are now complicit. There’s no way around that, no way to soften that fact, and even if there was, softening it wouldn’t change the truth, now would it?
YOU ARE COMPLICIT.
Maybe me asking you to empathize with me, when you have ABSOLUTELY no frame of reference, is like asking you to see the fourth dimension after a lifetime of living in three. You can admit that a fourth is a possibility, even offer speculations and opinions. But you will never understand it the way someone who can see it and has lived it will. And so, your complicity isn’t entirely your fault, but it still stands. And you’re not trying to see beyond your own point-of-view for the sake of . . . statues, and sports-team names and stupid shit that somehow matters more than PEOPLE.
So, yeah. I’m fucking done. Done trying enlighten or even argue my point. It’s banging my head into a brick wall, arguing with so-called allies who can’t even be of help by stepping into my shoes for a few, theoretical moments. My purpose on this planet isn’t to enlighten you and make you better. I’m not your chocolate-flavored, manic pixie dream-girl. If at some point you want to be better and do better, open your own eyes and expand your own heart and compassion. In the meantime, the rest of us — who get it and don’t need it explained that statues to racist traitors need to not be up at all, let alone in places of pride, and that to let that continue is salt on a wound that may never close — will knock down statues and go to jail for doing what the rest of you refuse to. We’ll be attacked and have our anger white-splained away, as if we’re tantrum-y children, and we’ll continue to die for the evil beliefs that those statues represent. And you guys can discuss Colin Kaepernick, and the need to remain calm and play the respectability politics game that only white people EVER win at, and how funny/sharp/in-touch Tina Fey is. Enjoy your “discourse” and enjoy the sheet cake.