A Simple, Matter of Fact…
There’s stuff to be done and we need to do it.
I do not feel guilty for being white. It is simply a matter of fact. I do not feel persecuted for it either. Yet, I perceive that I have a degree of obligation and responsibility that comes with being white, but more that that, because I am a human being, one among billions of others. I am also a human being with a degree of opportunity and advantage that far exceeds many billions of those other human beings.
The status of “white” as the dominate regulator/dictator of American society for the entire history of this “country” and the years preceding it as a defined entity, is another simple matter of fact. As a result, the accompanying reality of the fallout of that regulation/dictation is another, simple matter of fact. Choices were made, hierarchies enshrined as law and policy and those resulted in the heinous, vile and indefensible abuse and murder of countless numbers of non-white human beings. Although regulated to dispensable, the reality is that they were, in fact, indispensable. They were consigned to disposability in that they existed only to serve the regulated and dictated needs and uses of those dictating the paradigm.
Things did not have to go down as they did. A benevolent and cooperative path could have been taken. However, the past, being what it is, what-ifs and could-have-beens are the reality and irrelevant. What does that have to do with now? What is the point, if any, of what I am saying?
There are many, simple matters of fact that exist right now. It is quite likely that you are extremely aware of each an every one of them. As to their value to you and what you think should be done about them, that is ultimately for each of you to decide. Your feelings and views might coincide with mine. Then again, they might be polarly opposite. So it can be with human beings.
The simple matters of fact:
Trump vs. Biden — Do these two individuals even deserve the versus between their names? In my personal opinion? No, they don’t. They are slightly different flavors of the same rotten variety — they are politicians. They have been marinated in it for years, stewed, steeped and roasted. Sure, the venues differ to some degree, but the common denominator is still a combination of money and power. The Orange Accident and Comatose Joe. Will I vote for one of them? Yes, I will. Will it be the OA? Absolutely not. Do I see either as a favorable alternative? I do, CJ… because he has Kamala Harris as his VP candidate. She’s dope. That is his one redeeming trait.
Racism (and by extension, the current reckoning with it) — Can I really, legitimately, comment on this? Depending on who you ask, yes or no. There are some who have said that a white person cannot define what is racist, that if one exists outside the defined paradigm, or is “guilty” by whatever degree of association, then that person has no say. I read “White Fragility”. I think it will end up as a demotivator rather than a motivator. I found “How to Be an Antiracist” far more actionable and compelling in terms of content and presentation. I’ve read a lot of other books too, consistently and for a long time. My interest in equity and equality isn’t new, nor a knee-jerk reaction to 2020.
But rather than try to present credentials that somehow legitimize my right to speak, I am a human being who believes in the humanity of other lives, no matter how different they might be from mine. I have always tried to build bridges of understanding and tear down barriers. I do it person-to-person. I work within the circles I move and expand those circles at every opportunity. That doesn’t make me flawless, nor does it make me perfect. It just means that I am active and engaged.
In order to make any difference in how things currently stand, we just (collectively and individually) have to get past our egos and our fears and engage with one another. We cannot expect to ride the coattails of any other human beings and hope to make any kind of meaningful difference. Performative anything is empty, it’s like rituals without substance.
Covid-19 — This isn’t going away anytime soon. Why? Because not enough people are doing anything of substantive impact. It is a politicized morass of division in the United States. You don’t need me to tell you that. There are many other writers who have said and continue to say more than I do. As with everything and anything, it is something that must be approached collectively and without self righteousness. We have to care about each other and be willing to make personal sacrifices for the common good. You know… wear the damn mask? My brother’s son was sent home to quarantine less than a week ago because he was possibly exposed at school. This trend will continue for too many people and families.
Anything else — What can I say? There are so many things we can work together on. I don’t know that it’s possible to get people to put aside the us vs. them mindset though. I don’t know that it’s fair too. But as long as we remain divided from each other, we are self defeating. There are critics of America, critics within America. We are critical of each other for so very many reasons. I would love to see us collectively put aside the criticism, the fear and disgust that defines the current state of affairs. I would like to see us make space for each other and be willing to support those that need support in their ways, by asking them. Their lived reality is legitimate, real and in need of support and consideration. It doesn’t have to mesh with yours or mine. Coming to know something is often being part of it and quietly, observantly taking it all in as a quiet participant. There’s everything right with that, imo.