While this is firmly a page about and for survivors and their loved ones, I can’t and won’t ignore what some call civil and unrest and others call social change that’s been a long time in the making. I stand with the black community and support the work of so many to address institutional racism and violence against their community, and any community. I have, am, and always will be antiracist and an intersectional feminist. It is important that white allies don’t remain silent because this isn’t affecting them personally; we have to take on this issue as our own. These are our neighbors, community members, leaders, colleagues, relatives, friends, partners, and children. This has to end; generational trauma needs healing and to heal you need safety and to be held by caring others. It’s unacceptable that black people are treated with suspicion by default, and killed by police and incarcerated at a disproportionate rate, and I admire the courage and resolve of protesters everywhere who choose nonviolent means. I wish this country didn’t have such a bloody history of conquering, change, and revolt, but it does. We have to deal with it. We have to heal it.
I’ve heard it said that privilege isn’t about what happens to you, but what doesn’t happen to you, and I would ask those white folks reading this to please reflect on that. I have no doubt that being white has contributed to the opportunities I’ve had. While I never asked for this, it doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened. For the most part, the police have come when I’ve called and treated me well. I’ve worked with many first responders in crisis teams and I’ve seen into that world, where I was accepted and respected. Because I had access to therapy and healthcare, I was able to identify my abuse, and because I had parents who could and did help me, I got away. I didn’t have to stay with my abuser because I literally had nowhere else to go or no money or my children would not eat if I left. When I was healing from abuse, I could speak emotionally about my anger without being accused of being threatening. I am safe, I am well, I can support myself, I have an education and a profession I can rely on. While as a woman I am part of a target demographic, as a white woman I have clear privilege. No one follows me around a store thinking I’m going to steal something, no one asks me if my car is mine or what I’m doing out or deprives me of health care or questions the areas in which I am an authority, because of the color of my skin. While I’m not going to claim I’ve had the best life all the time, I thoroughly understand that many people have it much worse.
Everyone else should have those freedoms I listed above, and more. This moment in time isn’t about me, not at all, but I use myself as a way to illustrate to other white womxn that we have to go out of our way more, be more supportive and empowering toward communities of color. Put your money where you mouth is, vote where your heart is, donate, volunteer, organize, educate yourselves (it’s not on POC to educate you), and most of all, listen. Just listen. Take it in without becoming defensive, without uttering the words “not all white people.” Then speak to others in your communities. “Come out” as an antiracist. Confront microaggressions (I am still working on this myself, confrontation can feel scary). Try to understand and embrace someone different than you, without judgement.
Speaking for myself, I’m coming out of a week of trauma freeze. It was involuntary, it was unwanted, but I had to work with it. For me, freeze means only feeling safe within my four walls, viewing the outside world as threatening or unsafe. I can’t reason myself out of this state, I just have to take care of my body and allow it to pass through. Some freeze up in trauma. Some lash out. Some run away. It’s important that we understand and know how to soothe our responses if society is to become less violent. Otherwise the wheel just keeps turning, the intergenerational trauma just spawns a new generation. (Note: I’m so proud of how young people simply won’t take this shit and are taking to the streets in the hundreds of thousands, refusing to accept the racist legacy of previous generations.) And so many other inequities need to be addressed along the way.
Let’s stop this. We can do it.
#hernamewasbreonnataylor #hisnamewasgeorgefloyd #blacklivesmatter