Yesterday I hit my breaking point. And the fact that I am 31 and I have just now had a breaking point is my privilege speaking. Because social strife is exhausting and I am already so exhausted, but that is nothing. That is nothing at all.
I closed my social media yesterday for a heart beat. I wasn’t going back into the fray. I was tired. I was tired of being challenged, and saddened, and educated. I was tired of seeing awfulness and reading ignorance and feeling obligated to be witness. And what a gift that is for me to be able to just walk away from that, when others cannot walk away. What an ivory tower gift that is. I could no longer face myself if I acted on that privilege.
I am done being concerned with politeness or other people’s comfort or my own comfort. I have gritted my teeth through conversations, I have blank-faced and walked away or made nice or made good – or whatever – for the sake of not being that person. But I am that person. I have always been that person and I am burning up inside trying to push that person away.
Social justice should be in every single one of our bones. It should leak out of our pores, we should all be willing to stand in front of victims to protect them from oppressors. But we don’t. We go to work and we pay our bills and we feed our kids and we go about our days, because realistically that is life.
But I will no longer allow ignorance and the fear of losing the white superior status to wash over me without comment. I am not perfect and I am not always right and I don’t always say it the way it needs to be said. But around me, in my newsfeed, at my table, around my kids, anywhere within my ear shot, I am done being polite about it. Because the root of racism and devaluing the lives of people of color while cherishing the lives of white people comes from our words and our thoughts and our beliefs and our ability to be polite instead of say, “Actually, no. You are wrong.”