I’ve been getting some feedback recently from white folks in my inner circle about how vocal I am about our country’s issues. I hear that someone doesn’t like the language I use, or that I should just focus on being happy, or that there is more to life than politics.
And my counter points are: 1) Your attempt to censor me by shaming my vernacular is hilarious and a total waste of your time. 2) I am incredibly happy, which is why I am able to look outward and talk about what we can do to make things better for everyone else. And 3) every single element of our lives is influenced by the political decisions of others. Like every. single. one. Wake up on that one, please.
White People, as we’ve all posting nice little things about MLK today, let’s not forget how much we frustrated him too. Our lukewarm commitment, our mealy-mouthed lip service to social justice, or our flat-out silence made the journey towards equal rights a lot harder. He is quite clear on this in his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.”
In a recent Chicago Tribune commentary piece, Leonard Pitts reminds us, “One passage of King’s response seems especially apropos to this moment. In it, he confessed that he had become “gravely disappointed with the white moderate.” Too often, he said, they were “more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice” and preferred “a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice.”
I’m talking about all of this because we still have so far to go. My feed has completely blown up about the whole Covington debacle at the Right to Life march and, I’ll be honest, I’m pretty annoyed with white people as a result.
I was at the D.C. Right to Life march on Saturday, mostly to keep an eye on what the opposition was up to, and I would be amazed if it turned out that I was the only liberal/Catholic/ pro-choice chick there. There must have been other liberal folks there too and, to them, I’m saying, “If you saw the Covington thing go down, why the hell didn’t you step forward and try to stop it?”
And for all the folks who are blaming the Covington chaperones, you need to rethink that one. Don’t expect folks who let teenagers where MAGA hats on school trips to step up and de-escalate a dangerous situation. They are clearly fucking useless morons.*
Friends, when we are there in the moment, we need to act. And if we are afraid, we need to act anyways. I was at the DC marches with three kids, and I know that I would have paused for a long moment and thought about them - and then I would have looked for an ally before approaching a crowd. All it takes is grabbing somebody’s arm and saying, “Come on, we need to do something. Yeah, I know, I’m really scared too.** Come on anyway. It IS our business. This is bad and it needs to stop.”
Let me say it again: White people, even when we’re scared, we have to encourage each other to speak out. Come on, white people. Come on. This is on us.
*Cue the men (and it is always and only the men): ”Oh, Lor, there you go again with that vulgar language! Why do you have to say stuff like that?”
**Cue everyone else, including my mom: “Girl, this sounds too dangerous.” Okay, but everything is dangerous. I’m probably in more danger pumping gas and making eye contact with the conceal carry gun dude at the pump ahead of me. We still need to speak up when shit's going down.
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