After a week of watching men on social media devalue the voices of sexual assault survivors and watching white Progressives continue to belittle and demean the women of the #BlackLivesMatter movement who stood up at Netroots and yet another young Black person being executed by some cowboy cop, a huge number of people who have been silent about the deaths of Black, Brown, and Native humans losing their collective shit over the death of a lion, and pro-Confederate/White Power racists having yet another rally I am bone tired.
I’m tired of trying to explain to people that my life and my words have value. This isn’t a thing that I should actually have to explain and the fact that I have to explain it over and over and over again validates the point that we are not valued in our society.
I’m tired of watching Twitter for the next hashtag, because I know there’s going to be another one soon.
Most of all, I’m tired of my words and my experiences being dismissed unless they are filtered through a white person’s mouth or a man’s mouth or a straight person’s mouth.
This happens to me every day and as white allies get their shit together it is happening more and more often.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not blaming the allies. Most of the ones who are good allies are doing what they can to confront and correct racism when they see it.
I don’t see the other kind of allies. Bad allies aren’t allies. They are just undercover racists and I have no time for them.
I’m talking about the kind of allies who are doing the right things and lifting up Black voices. They tell our stories when we aren’t there or don’t want to participate in yet another conversation that boils down to one of us insisting “my life matters,” and someone responding in the negative. Yet, that doesn’t work. What works is when they center themselves in the conversation.
I’ve seen this in play with A~. She wrote about it today.
When I talk about how scared I get while going to and from work, people challenge me on the reality and validity of my fear. And, of course there is always that one helpful person who honestly thinks that ignoring the real danger I’m in every day, all the fucking time, will magically make that danger go away. When A~ talks about how scared I am while I go to and from work every day,she gets a shrug and a platitude. But when she talks about how scared she is? Well, people practically rock her gently to sleep. In groups full of allies, my words have the most impact when she repeats them. With our friends, with people I know and have known for years, my words, under her Twitter or Facebook avatar are suddenly insightful and enlightening.
I’m tired of the relentless examples of how little anything about Black life matters in my country. I’m tired of the total lack of empathy shown for our fear, our anger, and our pain.
And I know, before you start typing, I know it is irrational to expect our voices to have value when our lives do not, but it is still fucking frustrating to require a translator so that other humans will listen to the cry of “stop killing us.”
But it’s what I deserve. It’s what we all deserve.
Ad it’s why I keep having A~ make me signs and going out there when I can. Because everyone deserves it and some people have other stuff to do.