Wednesday, November 16, 2016

One Week On: A Love Letter

This is not that kind of love letter.

One week ago, most of us woke up to what we considered upsetting news about the results of the presidential election. The results of the election surprised me but, as I've written elsewhere, there was and is nothing surprising to me about the amount of ugliness in this country. The day after the election I was most shocked to find out how many straight, white, Christian folks were taken aback about the thread of racism, homophobia and xenophobia that runs deep and strong throughout this nation. I was shocked because it never really occurred to me that so many people could be so clueless about what it's like, for many people, to live in America. I was shocked that they had not been clued in, long before, by the very need for LAMBDA, The Black Panthers, NOW, the ACLU, The Southern Poverty Law Center, the UFW, Black Lives Matter, the ADL, or a hundred other organizations and/or movements. How could anyone live in the USA, and not know?  But, yeah. Evidently a hell of a lot of heterosexual, white, Christian people had no idea how fucking terrible it is to be an "other" in America. Now they know. The election and, more so, the aftermath of the election, has made it impossible to ignore. And that's a good thing. But here is what is not a good thing, and where this being a love letter comes into play:

Straight, white, Christian people who are still crying and licking their wounds over this revelation a week after the election are not doing anyone a favor. If anything, they are being self-indulgent. I say this with love. Tough love, maybe, but love. If you are a straight, white, Christian person who is pained to discover that you enjoy immense privilege, while others bear the brunt of racism, homophobia and xenophobia, and you are still nursing the wounds of this revelation a week after the election? Snap the fuck out of it, friend. Seriously. Because your self-indulgent wound-licking over the discovery that others suffer is perhaps the biggest act of privilege imaginable. So, yeah - snap the fuck out of it, and look around. Black people, Hispanics, immigrants, homosexuals, Jews, Muslims,  - everyone around you who doesn't fit into that privileged mold? We all know. We have always known. We've been trying to tell you, but you wouldn't listen. And, while a lot of us love the idea that so many of you identify as allies and sincerely want to be a part of the solution, I don't think any of us has any interest in drying even one of your tears, let alone hearing how traumatic it is for you to learn that America is and has always been shitty to us. This does not get to be about you. Not if you really, truly want to be an agent of change.

One week on; snap the fuck out of it.

This is a love letter, but not that kind of love letter. It's a letter telling you that a lot of us would love to have you in our corner, but only if you bring something besides your grief. We have more than enough grief of our own. It's been ours for so long, we don't let it get in our way.  We no longer know how to live without it. It is so old and so strong and so much a part of who we are, that it empowers us. Grief that slows us down and makes us weak is something for which we have no room, no patience, and no desire. If that is what you bring to the party, then don't bother coming.

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