Sinking Like a Stone

This has been a hard week.

George Floyd was murdered, and protests against the kind of police violence that lead to his death have spread from Minneapolis to other cities.

National Guard troops have been called in.

The LGBTQ communities lost Larry Kramer, who was often a controversial figure for his uncompromising demand that we all do better.

Mr. Kramer’s fierceness often made me uncomfortable because he was willing to say things and go to lengths that I wasn’t.

Earlier this week, I had planned to join a Facebook group that is dedicated to teaching white allies how to become resilient, more dependable activists for racial justice. It’s designed to help us be there for the people of color in our lives.

I very quickly realized that I am not able to walk with that group at the level of engagement they demand.

That’s white privilege in action, folks.

I have that choice. I can point to issues in my life and say, “See, all that is keeping me from focusing on racial-justice work.”

But I know that people of color in America can’t turn their activism on and off like I can.

Our neighbors of color have the same concerns about mental and physical health that I do.

The same worries about financial security. The same need to find more sustainable employment.

But people of color in America must engage with all of those concerns while carrying the weight of their racial identity in a country that baked racial bias into its foundations.

I want to see myself as a good ally. As someone that the people of color in my life can depend on.

But I don’t think I measure up. I don’t think any of us ever do.

I don’t have words of wisdom to share. Nor am I looking for someone to try to boost my spirits.

Instead, I think I need to spend time sitting with my failures as an activist and ally. To sit with the discomfort caused by realizing that I fall far short of my ideals.

Then, I want to put together an action plan to move forward. To do the harder work that I’ve been avoiding.

To be someone who isn’t afraid of the hard work ahead.

(Photo by Ayush Sharma on Unsplash)

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