So how do I, a White person, work on fighting white supremacy without, you know, trying to smear my white privilege all over and muck it up?
I get a little frozen here, sometimes. OK, all the time.
Because I don’t want to do it wrong. I don’t want to do something to make more trouble, more whiteness centered over the need to stop centering whiteness.
The recent Huffington Post piece about the invasion of racial justice spaces by White people hits right at the core of this fear. This is what I don’t want to do, can’t imagine how not to do, am frozen in fear about. I don’t expect to turn to leaders who are people of color to hold my hand or tell me what to do, but I don’t want to look to people like me, either.
I am certain that I am getting this wrong, but I will keep trying until maybe I learn how to get it less wrong. For now I am working the hardest on myself in my own white space in my head and my heart.
Then, when I feel OK there for a minute, I am trying to stay low the ground, crouching along and not being led by my ego or my privilege and working on stepping beyond myself, to be what I think we need in our greater culture: a person who behaves in public discourse like a fair minded anti-racist, anti-white supremacist person.
My husband tells me that sometimes I’m a bridge. I know a little about how things are on both shores, and I can move ideas from one side to the other. Maybe he’s right.
I know that I understand Whiteness better from Robin DiAngelo than from places that just take me hard and fast to shame where I find myself just wanting to jump off a bridge instead of trying again to learn and grow and do better. I know that I am supposed to work toward feeling worse and not being able to sleep at night and that’s how I’ll know I’m not occupying racial justice spaces. But I am the kind of person who gains 10 pounds when I put a “motivational” picture on the fridge. Guilt and shame make me depressed and I don’t mean sad. I mean depressed. Big D.
I don’t want to pat myself on the back for being a “woke” White person. I’m not “woke.” I’m not even kind of woke.
I want to move toward being a whole and authentic person who works for the world to be a place where that’s possible for all of us, to be whole and authentic, and able to be who we are and maybe be respected for just that.
Not because it feeds my ego, although maybe that is what drives me, but I think I work for this because it’s the most basic human right of all; to have the right to be our true selves.