I am ashamed of how long it has been since I have written a piece for this blog. I could sit here at my keyboard and list a litany of excuses as to why, but the truth of the matter is, I was avoiding it. I was avoiding writing, I was avoiding facing the news, and I was avoiding the realities of our current sociopolitical climate.
In the beginning of this journey, I vowed to work continuously to be a voice for change, and while I have still been doing this privately, my public presence in this forum has waned. I have thrown myself into my work and self-care routines while avoiding the abyss of white supremacy and Trump-isms that I had worked so tirelessly to previously expose. I didn’t realize the impact this would have, though. I didn’t realize the true value of this work until very recently, during a conversation with my uncle.
Last weekend, I worked with a few other wonderful women in my family to plan a housewarming for my cousin. It was a surprise, which I am sure you can imagine was hard to pull off because a housewarming does require being in that person’s home. Nonetheless, we did it and I found myself surrounded by the love — and the questions — of my family.
Towards the end of the evening, my uncle sat next to me and gently asked why my blog has been so quiet lately. I responded as honestly as I could — stating that I needed a break. After all, you can only spend so much time staring into the abyss of hatred and ignorance without feeling sick and/or hopeless. Right?
My uncle went quiet for a bit and then said, “but we needed your voice. I’ve been looking here and there, waiting to see if you posted something new. And there’s nothing. You were speaking necessary truths and we needed that.”
I suddenly felt guilty and sad. I found myself realizing that I had allowed the voices of dissent to silence me. And I found myself feeling shame.
My uncle continued.
“Let me ask you something, a cop can walk up to me on the street and shoot me dead on the spot for no reason. What do you think would happen to him?”
“Nothing…” I said with a twinge of nausea.
“That’s right,” he replied. “Absolutely nothing. And that’s not fair. It’s not. My life isn’t worth shit. And it’s not fair, but it’s my reality. And I don’t get to take a break from that.”
It settled inside me; I had once again allowed the privilege of whiteness to allow me to to “take a break” from a reality that is a daily truth for so many people that I care about. I had allowed the voices of people who challenged my need to speak — my need to be a voice — to silence me. I had allowed the abyss of ignorance and hatred to win because, in the end, I ended up needing a reprieve.
The truth is, though, that much of my family doesn’t get a reprieve. They need to face this reality of ignorance and hatred every day, regardless of how tiring or sickening it gets. I had lost sight of that and, while the voices of some family and former friends that work relentlessly to silence me are the loudest and most painful, I cannot forget that there are people in my family who are proud of me for standing up for what’s right. I cannot forget that with the privilege of my seeming-whiteness comes responsibility. Otherwise, I am just as bad as the rest of the white folks in this nation who sit silently at Thanksgiving dinner knowing full well that their uncle uses the n-word when he talks about NFL players and their aunt thinks all Mexicans are in MS13.
Moving forward, I will endeavor to be more consistent here. It may not be every day. It may not be every other day. After all, the hate that was once in the dark corners of the internet is now mainstream and widely shared and doesn’t necessarily require my constant probing. However, I will be here. I will be working relentlessly on the front lines in my daily 9-5 work. I will be writing truths and rallying against hatred. I will be a voice of dissent amongst others who might look like me, but are not like me and do not think like me. I am here to challenge white supremacy, in the most personal venues (like dinner tables) and the most public ones (like social media). Resistance is a full-time job. No days off.