"I’m not even angry. I’m exhausted."
I wrote this journal entry last week while watching the attempted coup of the U.S. Capitol as a way to navigate through my thoughts and emotions.
I’m not even angry. I’m exhausted.
This is going to be a messy post because I need to get this down on paper. And I want to emphasize that these are my thoughts.
I hope that wherever you are, you were able to start your morning off with activities that soothe your soul or the love of family and friends. I hope the first thing did this morning did not include turning on the news or hopping on social media. I hope had some way to prepare yourself for what’s to come.
January 6th (and the days leading up to it) was a roller coaster of emotions. I went from being happy that Georgia turned blue and we were able to elect Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff to the Senate. To watching white supremacists attempt a coup in Washington, D. C.
I’m always reminded that when someone shows me who they are, I need to believe them. To take them at face value. With that knowledge, I understand that……
This is America. It is on brand.
What happened yesterday is both shocking and not. Honestly, the only way it can be shocking is if you weren’t paying attention. And proximity to whiteness is a helluva drug, so it was probably easy to look away. American exceptionalism is at play.
White supremacy and other oppressive systems are embedded in the fabric of this country. There is no way that anyone but white people could get away with what happened in Washington, D.C. No way. And instead of talking about systems that are in play, we’re talking about individuals. We’re talking about “bad white people” and playing into this whole narrative of the good-bad binary. This allows us to willfully (because we are willingly ignoring patterns at this point) ignore white supremacy and other systems that have been embedded in the fabric of this country since it’s inception.
Watching Capitol police open gates/fences to let domestic terrorists gain access to the Capitol was surreal. When I think about the various BLM and Indigenous protests against racism and state-sanctioned white supremacy…I see violence. I see bullets. I see dogs. I see gas. I see pepper spray. I see militarized police.
And then to look at the attempted coup yesterday was weird. It was weird to recognize that police know how not to brutalize people. That they know how not to use deadly force. It’s just about who matters to them.
To all of my BIPOC folks, my Black and brown folks please, please, please take care of yourself. Rest. Cry. Whatever it takes. Having to continually see people like yourself brutalized in the media and then seeing a lack of that behavior when white people are involved is traumatizing. It is soul-crushing. It is invalidating. It is exhausting. You are more than what this country wants to validate. Period.
To all of my white folks. This is not the time to dig in your heels and state that “You are not like that.” To try and label yourself as a “good white person”. I get it. You don’t want to be associated with what happened. That type of narrative has never helped BIPOC folks on a systemic level. And we need to address the systems. Yesterday, I had a few white people reach out to me who were shocked about the events unfolding. And they kept asking me “How can I help?” and “What do I do?”.
Because I have relationships with them and I want to maintain them, I responded. If I didn’t care to maintain the relationships, I wouldn’t have responded. And I let them know that first and foremost, I’m a person. it’s a simple and obvious enough statement, but doesn’t actually come through. Usually, people want me to be a resource. To do the work for them that they can’t or won’t engage in. that’s emotional labor and it’s friggin’ exhausting.
At what point are you going to use any of the knowledge you've gained from reading about interrupting oppression, think critically, and take an action step that doesn’t require someone that looks like me to do emotional labor first?
What are you going to do to address White Supremacy? What are you going to do to be an accomplice to me—not a performative ally?
What is your action step?
peace, love, and apple slugs