Conflicts and Ramblings

https://nmaahc.si.edu/about/news/national-museum-african-american-history-and-culture-releases-talking-about-race-web?fbclid=IwAR2E735VYsspaseyi7Kloyesaxe7-0HsVxpE0BzbzGvYcLGBXHbTRy_7GTU

The above website – The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture today launched Talking About Race, a new online portal designed to help individuals, families, and communities talk about racism, racial identity and the way these forces shape every aspect of society, from the economy and politics to the broader American culture.

There’s a lot going on lately. And while most of us are struggling through it, I can’t imagine the added anxieties and fears of being Black, Brown, Indigenous, Latinx, and/or financially vulnerable. The fact is that my struggles are nothing compared to so many others. Yet, they are real and at times overwhelming. So what do we do with such feelings?

Like many others, I’ve had some challenging conversations with friends and family. They usually end with everyone feeling pretty crappy. Yes they are needed. But everytime I wonder, “Could I have done something differently to have made it go more smoothly, more open, less threatening?” I know I could. Important stances seem so crystal clear to me but so contrary to some I speak with. There has got to be a way to meet somewhere that allows us to hear each other.

Speaking of hearing, my ears ring all the time. So when I woke up and they weren’t ringing, I was so happy. Whenever that happens, which is seldom, it is such a relief. I enjoyed the morning texting my son who is in a new place and one he likes (good feelings). I had my favorite bread for breakfast (good feelings). I knit (good feelings). We were getting a few things fixed in our home for the new owners even though we didn’t have to (good/proud feelings). Then I went online and noticed someone I care about left social media because of things being said. “Was it something I said?” (sad feelings). We got a letter from the bank that we needed more information and money to close on our home (scary feelings). I began to worry about my daughter who is back at work in very close proximity with the general public in a Covid 19 hotspot (petrified feelings). And then I noticed my ears were ringing to beat the band. Stress really does affect our health. As I started the self pity party I remembered an article I recently read on Black mama’s and the generational grief and fear they carry. They carry more societal and family weight on their shoulders than anything I can imagine (intense grief).

So I write. I write because I have no clue what the solutions are. I write because I feel like my head is going to explode. I write because I really don’t want to cry.

There is a phrase going around that has many people on edge, “All Lives Matter”. Sounds harmless enough. Even sounds obvious and logical. Until you realize it is said to counter, “Black Lives Matter”. Then you realize the racist implications of it. This is the phrase causing such difficult conversations online. When you think about it, it is a master gaslight phrase because it’s righteous sounding and insinuates that if you have an issue with it something is wrong with you. But it is not righteous. It is used by overt racists. I assume it is also used by people who are struggling to see the loaded and racist meaning behind it and so they “innocently” jump on the bandwagon and use it thinking they are being righteous? Maybe I’m giving them too much credit. I think I am.

So what do we do? Seriously, what do we do? I think of the phrase (Churchill?) that says something along the lines of, Bravery isn’t the absence of fear; but rather it is doing what is right even when afraid. So holding onto that guiding principal I guess we carry on. We continue to confront racism whenever we encounter it even if it’s by someone we care about. I just wish I knew a better way to do it.

In peace, love, and courage to continue to do what is right; carry on,

Mary

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