In the wake of catastrophe, a few thoughts

courage

If you have found your way to this blog you are likely, like me, devastated. And afraid. You made it through a never-ending campaign of bigotry and hatred and boasts of sexual predation only to be faced with four more years of it, with an emboldened contingent of racists and misogynists and rapists who will see themselves reflected in the White House come January.

I’ve shared a few thoughts about what this means and, if you’re a fellow white person, you may not like them. But please, please don’t turn away. Please read it and if you find yourself angry or defensive sit with it.

If you’re struggling and afraid, scroll down to the bottom to find phone numbers you can call and a few blog posts on self-care, mental health, and setting good boundaries that might help.

To my fellow white folks, we have work to do. So much work. This election came down to whiteness. To white people choosing white supremacy over the harm that will come to marginalized people. To white people actively voting for white supremacy or not being deterred by it in favour of narrow self-interest.

We need to redouble our efforts. We need to create and hold space for the painful work that is reckoning with how much we benefit from whiteness and how we reaffirm it. We need to stop giving ourselves permission to walk away from racist white people—our friends, neighbours, family. It is on us. It is on us. To have those conversations. To ache and cry and wonder how someone we care about can have such hateful and wrongheaded views. To not think that we can ignore it and it will go away.

And we need to check in with our friends who are POCs. We need to say we’re here. We’re listening. And you can tag me in—online or in person—when you’re dealing with white fuckery.

To my fellow white women, we need to do better. We need to do so much better. We need to remember that our experience as women does not represent the experiences of all women. We need to remember that “women” means all women– women of colour, queer and trans women, disabled women, women who are survivors, women who are undocumented. We need to question and challenge any notion of feminism or solidarity or sisterhood that centres white, cis, straight women. We need to listen and amplify more than we talk. We need to sit with our discomfort rather than calling challenges and critiques “divisive”–that is a conservative strategy to maintain supremacy.

To the straight white cis dudes: For god’s sake don’t downplay how terrifying this is. Don’t refer to this as exciting. Don’t bleat on about Bernie Sanders. Don’t ignore the realities of women and people of colour and queer and trans folk and claim this is all about capitalism. Is neoliberalism part of this? Of course. Of course. But a vote for Donald Trump was a vote for white supremacy, for sexual predation, for trans antagonism, for conversion therapy which directly leads to queer kids killing themselves. And yes there are all of these structural factors–NAFTA and the hollowing out of the education system and the electoral college and on and on–that played a part. But right now–right now–is not the time for that. Right now trans kids are killing themselves. Right now people of colour are seeing the Klan marching on the bridge and walking past swastikas spray-painted on stores. Right now your job is to check in with your friends who will feel the impacts of this far more than you will. Right now your job is to check your friends who are talking about Bernie or watching the world burn or–somehow–blaming people of colour for this.

To all the folks who will face the worst of this: I am so sorry. I’m sorry that this is a continuation of all the fuckery you’ve already experienced your whole lives. I’m sorry that it is going to get worse. I’m sorry that we have failed you again.

To everyone that is reeling: Please reach out to people you trust. If you can’t, there are places you can call. 1-800-273-TALK (8255) in the USA or find a number in Canada to call.

Take good care of yourself. If you don’t know where to start here are a few posts that might help:

Seven Self-Care Strategies for Those Struggling

You Don’t Need An Excuse To Take Care of Yourself

Self-Care Minimums and Dealing With Depression

A Primer on Mental Health Hygiene

Boundaries–How and Why

I will leave you with the words that I turn to when I don’t know what to do. When I feel hopeless and heartbroken and afraid:

action-quotes-acion-is-the-antidote-to-despair-joan-baez

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s