Have you ever gone so deep down the rabbit hole that the people you engage with would nearly need prerequisites to get the conversation on track?
If you’re in a reading mood, I’ve got you covered. In light of all the civil unrest, I wanted to share with you some interesting introspection. Much of what you already think about at least on an unconscious level, I wanted to share some perspective around intersectionality & subculture from my perspective.
To begin, my story, & so if you’ve read this you understand at least a bit about why I would choose to participate in Justice Reform work. More than not my efforts have been rejected from both white & people of color. For that reason I had been researching long and hard anything related to “rejecting allies” so I could understand why? To which I found this insightful read. I should say that the BLM movement has been hard for me to, because I’m watching people I love hurt. From one person to the next the way I respond lands differently. In that way, I am almost renedered silent at times for a fear I’ll make it worse. Clearly there’s work to do in unraveling much of this where the unconcious is at play. All said, I will never defend police brutality, ever.
So t was incredible read for perspective, thought provoking, & offered me no resolution. Here’s why:
I’m not a person of color, I am a person with an “invisible” disability, a woman, a parent, from immigrant families, living with trauma, from poverty that I work hard not to return to & a person with lived experience, to the world right now I’m a white woman however but there is no “I in we” until it is.
I suspect people develop white guilt because they are white, but possess empathy while other white people can be shitty; those emotions are valid even if not helpful. I’ve yet to meet a male, able bodied person, or person without trauma to feel that guilt for their counterparts, so there is movement for people of color at least if some experience guilt.
None of us can control other people however. By being an “ally” which this article rejects, I offer to be supportive & intercept where I can, if I can, even if I don’t possess power. Unfortunately some of that may require me to ask & educate myself, a notion which some people find even more infuriating. I wish I had that support, I wish someone would look out for me where I have experienced bias too & furthermore ask me about my experience, there is no “I in we” than either? I don’t see anyone tossing their body on a bed of flames to protect me either, would “we & not I” were to apply than?
I’m often times rejected from shared spaces where it comes to justice reform, though I have lived experience. The perception is being white it’s implied I’m obnoxious to want a part in that, stealing opportunity or attempting to do so which is not the case.
There was a study recently that showed white conservatives largely lacked empathy for everyone, while white liberals largely possessed empathy, but not for other white people who struggled with issues like poverty, for example. I have no leverage to actually cause change from my privilege among other white people than. The piece missed the mark on subculture or intersectionality, but it does start the conversation.
Likewise, in justice reform work, some people of color assume I’m out to be a martyr & that’s also not true. What all that has caused is a stalemate for me, in wanting to help but my help isn’t welcome. My pain also cannot be reconciled. I’ve heard I have no right to chime in, but my part is to “cut a check” which I probably don’t have & if I don’t I’m “the problem” with considerations to covid, a hard economy, my personal circumstances & a need for my own oxygen mask to survive firstly . On the other hand, I’m pressed to be more vocal, while also not having a right to contribute, this perpetuates confusion than.
That rejection to reconcile pain for myself as well as others burns deeply for me. I think that, like trauma & many other issues is a breeding ground for homeland terrorism once rejected; especially when we cannot, & will not, unify among us. In this way we reject unification over shared trauma, like lived experience/incarceration. We perpetuate these issues by rejecting one another in shared spaces & get upset that it’s happening as a result, which is insanity.
Then some wonder why I don’t put my already trauamitized heart in a potential violent protest, for which no one would do for me but otherwise reject my help via philanthropy lends to more madness. I tried to help peacefully by virtue of sinking thousands of dollars & man hours in justice reform non-profit where my efforts were continuously rejected, so it would seem it only matters when the media tells us it does?
That’s exactly how enemies or lack of support are created I think, so I have to work hard to ignore that rejection & reopening those wounds from both ends where race is concerned.
That said, as Ibram X. Kendi points out, to focus on everyday white people as opposed to those in roles of power, we take the focus off of those in positions of power as being responsible. By doing this we allow this to fester and make life worse.
I def don’t identify with “Karen” or “Becky”, but I am also the subject of ridicule thanks to them, compounded from the above reasons already, some may enjoy that..
The message on next steps for remedy across the board isn’t unified. My take away is ‘I’m the problem’ by virtue of being white, but I’ve no right to try to help? I’m not sure what to do with that, most importantly my intentions are good, & I would give anything to get support from well intentioned people at this point even if they can’t relate to my struggles.
That said, no one asked me & no one will.
I had the pleasure of discussion with Catherine Pugh, the author. She went on to clarify that she isn’t rejecting allies but the term necessarily. It was a much needing communication. No doubt this also came as a source of pain, for both of us for different reasons. For me, being rejected left me feeling hopeless other then to bare witness, & that has occured in some other conversations. It was a great learning opportunity.