I haven’t slept well or much in the last few months.
I’m not ok. Not even close to it.
This country isn’t ok either.
This country hasn’t been ok for a large swath of people since the beginning. This country was build on stolen land, using stolen people, by White men and women who knew exactly what they were doing. These Europeans set this country in motion and here we are riding that same wave.
We are experiencing a Schrödinger’s Cat-type situation with this election. Schrödinger’s Cat is a way of thinking about two opposing realities that exist as two wave forms collapsing into each other, thus creating what we experience as reality. There is some other stuff about it, but right now this election is Schrödinger’s Cat thing – where we are both re-electing and not reelecting the worst president and white house in modern day history. This cat is kicking my ass.
For those who are White, or male, or straight, or cis, or Christian, or middle class, or able, or who are holding tight to those adjacent spaces, folks need to be ready for change. It is going to be scary, because reality and history is going to be challenged. The status quo is built to exclude far too many to stay intact.
I’m writing to the folks who have been awakened in the past 4 years, 2 years, or 6 months. Whatever happens when the ballot boxes are opened and our reality is revealed the oppressive practices will not change. This presidency didn’t invent oppression and the end of this presidency won’t end it either.
This presidency didn’t create Amy Cooper, Jennifer Schulte, Carolyn Bryant. Our support of Whiteness and these women’s faith in that protection created a space for them to weaponize their tears, until it didn’t. Our unerring support of Whiteness must be recognized, challenged and changed.
This presidency didn’t create Henry Weinstein, Jeffrey Epstein, R Kelly, or Brock Turner. Our support of patriarchal ideals protect these men, until it doesn’t and then we are shocked – SHOCKED – about how long their behavior went on. Our unerring support of toxic masculinity must be recognized, challenged and changed.
Stonewall, Matthew Sheppard, and the Pulse nightclub massacre, and the trans women who are the MOST likely to be assaulted are not solely about this presidency. These hate crimes happen because of deep-seated and long standing hatred against LGBTQIA people. This kind of loathing must be recognized, challenged and changed everyday until the FACT of our existence is no longer controversial.
This presidency didn’t invent oppression. But, the current office holder has given a bullhorn of authoritarian voice to these deeply held convictions of White, male, cis, english speaking, middle class, Christian, able, and straight supremacy. Our country has always been divided between “us” and “them” and this president and his white house have gleefully pushed the narrative that marginalized people and communities are dangerous and are to blame for all the ills of the world – real and imagined.
So, what are you going to do about that when the dust settles?
How are you going to work to learn and unlearn and teach your family, your students, or your colleagues to see and read in new ways?
For all those White women who reached out to me and other BIPoC scholars to start book groups, what are you going to do? If Biden wins, are you going to settle back into your willful ignorance? Are you going to chose your comfort? Or, are you going to keep learning the hidden history that has been kept from you?
What are you going to do to change everything from gun laws, to voting laws, school dress codes, high stakes testing, and curriculum?
Janelle Monae addresses us all when she sings “We kicking out the old regime / Liberation, elevation, education / I said ‘America, yousa lie’ / But the whole world ’bout to testify,”
No matter what happens tonight, tomorrow, or next week, we must engage in dismantling oppressive systems and ideas. No matter which of the wave forms collapses into non-reality and which one solidifies, The Work will go on because it isn’t about one man.