Real talk? I don’t have anything inspiring to say about the Rittenhouse situation. What I do have is some gentle recommendations for white folks as we continue to navigate this and whatever injustice comes next. It’s not to sound high and mighty — we’re all learning. It’s understanding that racism is a systemic problem and we are the system perpetuating it. No matter where you come from, no matter what you went through, we benefit from white supremacy.
- I’ve said this one before, and it remains the most important out of anything that I’m going to say to you: listen to Black people. Listen. To. Black. People. No matter what I say or you think, always defer to the people directly affected by the problem over external recommendations.
- Make racist people uncomfortable, but never at the cost of the safety of Black folks around you. We have to challenge racist shit the same way we challenge sexist shit. But don’t make it your business to antagonize an otherwise peaceful or complicated situation that could further endanger Black lives.
- Stop changing your verbiage and behavior to accommodate outdated and otherwise unacceptable habits. Second verse is basically the same as the first, but it includes your social, your personal verbiage, etc.
- Remember that everyone engages with activism differently. Confrontation can be scary, and I know not everyone has my [clears throat] “subtlety.” Taking baby steps matters. Don’t get so wrapped up in the idea that there’s so much you can’t do that you end up doing nothing at all. We w0n’t change the world in a day.
- Remember our conversations about gerrymandering. Show up for local elections. Stop letting them steal our rights.
I hope that you’ll choose to get involved beyond that, and we’ll definitely talk about other ways how in later newsletter (I don’t want to overwhelm). But, to be honest, these first steps are so, so critical. The more folks who understand that we perpetuate a racist system — even passively — the sooner we can finally make gradual change.
Racists don’t deserve to be coddled, and our comfort is not more important than Black lives. It’s that simple. You’re not going to get it right all the time. I sure as hell don’t. But it’s been time for us to do the work for quite a while now. Proverbially, Trump really did manage to shoot someone in the middle of a crowded street. And everyone got away with it.
There are no ads or back links this week, and I know no one had any fun reading this. I’m sorry for that. I hope next week allows us to have a little bit more fun.
It’s Thanksgiving in a couple days. I love you, stay safe, and keep those around you safe to the best of your ability.