These last few weeks have been heavy for me and I haven’t felt like sharing or writing much. Between sheltering at home because of COVID-19, the inept response from the government around the virus and the many public acts of racism and violence against Black people being broadcast everywhere, I’m done. I’ve cried, I’ve been angry, I’ve been anxious, I’ve been numb. And let me say this right now, I do not need your apologies or concern. I do not need you to post a Black Lives Matter picture on your Instagram feed or tag me in a post where you’re stating Black Lives Matter. I am not asking for that and do not want any of that because those things do not do anything for me or Black people. What I need is for those with privilege (White people) to step up and do something. I need people with privilege to acknowledge and accept the fact that systemic racism is real and on display because until those with the privilege acknowledge it and actively work to change it – all of this chaos will continue to happen.
If you’ve felt like everyone should get back to knitting and not talk about politics – that is a clear sign of privilege and acceptance of the white supremacy that you benefit from. That is not saying you are racist. That is just acknowledging the advantages you have in this world that I do not. And that’s just not a point I intend to argue because it is definitely true and there is enough information and history to back that up.
Every day I’m reminded that I’m Black and that I’m a Black woman. I can’t ignore the killing of Black people, the racism that occurs on a daily basis, the microaggressions, the many things that are dumped on our backs and just knit, hoping everything will be okay and just work itself out. I can’t just knit to ease my anxiety when my husband goes for a run because I’m afraid he’ll get shot. I can’t just knit to ease my anxiety over the fact that police could come into my home while I’m sleeping and kill me. I can’t just knit to ease the anxiety of going to a park and being threatened and have the police called on me simply because I asked someone to put their dog on a leash. I can’t escape this reality. I am not free.
I put on a positive face, I smile, I’m warm and my voice is inviting because I’ve learned that’s how to be accepted in this world. But as R. Eric Thomas wrote this weekend, it does not matter if I am good because there are still people out there that don’t want me to succeed. No matter how educated, qualified, talented…I’m never going to be on the same level in this society and that reality is exhausting.
If you like me as much as you say you do, if you feel as connected to me as you’ve written in comments here, then become an ally. Not just an ally to me but to all people of color. Read, share, contribute. Give to causes that help to support people of color, if you can – show up to a rally, support Black businesses and be genuine in your contributions – whatever they are. I don’t need to list resources, there are tons of them out there for you to find on your own but I just couldn’t keep quiet. I couldn’t respond to the emails asking if I’m okay, the messages on Instagram wanting to check in. This is not okay. I’m not okay but I will continue to push on because I don’t have any other choice in this world.