A few weeks ago, the world changed as the pandemic forced us all out of our normal contexts and made everyone paranoid about being in their own homes. Now the world is changing again in a far more fundamental way, a far more uncomfortable way, a far more hopeful and frightening way as the whole construct of systemic racism is being confronted all at once. No one I know has ever seen anything like what’s happening now in the US as well as around the world.
Could this be it? Could we finally be able to end a society structured around racial inequality? All I know is a lot of people are putting their lives on the line for this since the murders of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd, and the reaction against those protesting brutality and violence has been brutal and violent.
The very least I can do as a creative is shine what small light I can on it. So this is my statement:
As an artist, writer, and human being, I am anti-racist, anti-fascist, pro-equality, pro-democracy, pro-environmental justice. I am not neutral, and I am tired of being surrounded by oppression and corruption, of being bribed with societal privilege I never asked for and do not want by people who want me to remain complacent and compliant with the status quo. This privilege – white privilege – is a gift made from hate, and it’s poison.
People of color do not need me, a middle-aged white lady, to speak for them. But too many of my fellow white folks do need to hear some speaking, and they need to be spoken to. So I commit to do some of that talking. I commit to use my words and my work to speak truth wherever I see it, however I see it, in public and in my personal life, and to point towards better ways to be. I hope I will be just one of many, many more. I hope you will join with me.
Please visit Black Lives Matter at https://blacklivesmatter.com/ to learn more. Please donate to your local bail fund, which you can find at https://bailfunds.github.io/. Please visit the ACLU at https://www.aclu.org/ for ways to support the legal fight and to get educated about your rights to protest. Please check in with Indivisible at https://indivisible.org/ to join or create a group to organize pressure on your elected officials to bring about real reform.
If you’re not in a position to donate money, then speak. Use your voice. Challenge what must be challenged. Call out what must be called out. If you see something, say something, just like we’re always told to do. Please reach out to your neighbors, friends, family. Join forces where you can. Have painful discussions where you must. The time for politeness is over. Now is the time for honesty.
That includes self-honesty. The rot of racism and bigotry corrupts every part of our society. We can’t root it out of our systems without also rooting it out of our own lives. It’s not that we are racists – no, far from it; most people are not racist, I really believe that – but we live saturated in racism. Everything around us generates it or is warped by it, especially in the US. It has to stop, and the stopping starts with us. That might be the scariest part of this whole thing, the societal equivalent of realizing we’ve become hoarders or addicts. They say the first step is admitting we have a problem.
What a month to launch a newsletter, eh? That’s still happening, scheduled for sometime next week. Gosh, I wonder what I’ll write about. I think I might be emotionally ready to get back to my dark and disturbing vibe, though, because, y’know, it’s what comes naturally. It feels more appropriate now.
Be strong. Be well. Be safe. Be brave. Embrace a better way. Wear your masks.