What can you say to someone who is late to the party if you show up at the same time as them?
I’ve never protested before. I’ve never gotten truly involved with the movements that have been happening across the country. I’m not vocal about the things that matter to me. And somehow I feel like I’ve been giving myself a pass because I am a black woman. I thought: I don’t need to go to the protest because I live the life of a black woman and that’s enough.
But that’s the thing: It’s not.
At first, I thought that it was really awesome that so many people were gathered this weekend in various marches around the world. I didn’t see anything wrong with everything that was happening this weekend. Then, my many smarter and more woke friends at Brown alerted me to the fact that many things about this weekend were problematic. I’m not going to go into that now but if you are curious and want to educate yourself, I’d be happy to point you towards some good articles or people who know a lot more about it than me.
So, here’s why I’m conflicted.
On the one hand, I am angry at white women. People have been fighting for equality for a long time. This isn’t anything new. However, there are rarely millions of people gathering to protest the same thing. So what’s different? White women feel threatened. That’s what it takes to get people to care. And that makes me angry.
On the other hand, I have never been involved in anything really. I can’t be angry at other people for not supporting these causes if I’ve never actively supported them myself.
It’s definitely not an easy thing to realize and admit, but I think it’s really important that I do now.
But then comes the hard part. What do I do from here? I can’t just sit here and beat myself up for not being active enough. I also can’t go back in time or make up for lost time.
Now I see that I can and should be doing so much more. But where do I start? I honestly don’t know. If you have any ideas, I would love to hear them.
One last thought: If someone shows up to your party and they are late, do you berate them for being late so much so that they want to leave? Or do you say well, the party has already started but come on in, let me fill you in on what you missed.
I’m not in any way trying to condone any of the things that were wrong with this weekend. So please don’t misconstrue what I’m saying. But, as a person who is frankly really fucking late to the party, I would appreciate as much grace & guidance as you are willing to extend to me. And I’m sure that other people in my position feel the same way.
I’m not asking you to forgive me or make me feel better about not getting involved earlier. I am however, asking for your wisdom and insight as I start on this path.