I shared this to my social profiles on June 1st, but I wanted it to be here, so I don’t forget it.
I grew up in a very racially diverse community in Dallas, with many black friends. Racial justice was on my radar, and something I cared about. For many years I wrote about embracing diversity, about overcoming prejudices, and teaching our kids a different way of being. I am sure I did it terribly, through a white lens, that was still ignorant to privilege, but I did it. I have had hard conversions with my kids over and over again. We had read MLK Jr’s biography together, and many other kid focused books about racial injustice. I’ve told my kids about the Holocaust, and other hard topics no parent wants to talk about.
I’ve told them about Tamir Rice and Trayvon Martin. Last week, I had my 8 year old watch the video of George Floyd. I’ve spoken out on social about Bothem Sean and other painful stories of black people dying. I have argued with friends and agreed to disagree, when it became tension between us.
But at some point. I became tired. It was too hard to write and blog about racially charged topics. I stopped engaging difficult comment threads on Facebook, because it felt exhausting and draining, and like my voice didn’t matter. I still considered myself an “ally” because I agreed that Black Lives Matter.
But if I was tired, imagine how terribly broken my actual black friends must be. They don’t get to be tired. They don’t get to decide to stop talking about it. I remember one of my friends from college, who posted stuff everyday because she unlike me, didn’t get to take a break . Black moms don’t get to stop fearing for their kid’s lives. I of course, didn’t go completely dark, on MLK Day or other times when it was more palatable, I would share my heart. But I wanted my social feeds to be a positive place. I still want my feed to be a positive place, but positivity isn’t going to bring change.
I heard this week the phrase, “spend your privilege” and another similar thought “your privilege is your currency”. So, I’m apologizing that I stopped spending my privilege.
So for every person, I was too “tired” to mention along the way. I know my black friends are much more tired.
We can’t breathe with a knee on our neck (#GeorgeFloyd).
We can’t go jogging (#AmaudArbery).
We can’t relax in the comfort of our own homes (#BothemSean and #AtatianaJefferson).
We can’t ask for help after being in a car crash (#JonathanFerrell and #RenishaMcBride).
We can’t have a cellphone (#StephonClark).
We can’t leave a party to get to safety (#JordanEdwards).
We can’t play loud music (#JordanDavis).
We can’t sell CD’s (#AltonSterling).
We can’t sleep (#AiyanaJones)
We can’t walk from the corner store (#MikeBrown).
We can’t play cops and robbers (#TamirRice).
We can’t go to church (#Charleston9).
We can’t walk home with Skittles (#TrayvonMartin).
We can’t hold a hair brush while leaving our own bachelor party (#SeanBell).
We can’t party on New Years (#OscarGrant).
We can’t get a normal traffic ticket (#SandraBland).
We can’t lawfully carry a weapon (#PhilandoCastile).
We can’t break down on a public road with car problems (#CoreyJones).
We can’t shop at Walmart (#JohnCrawford) .
We can’t have a disabled vehicle (#TerrenceCrutcher).
We can’t read a book in our own car (#KeithScott).
We can’t be a 10yr old walking with our grandfather (#CliffordGlover).
We can’t decorate for a party (#ClaudeReese).
We can’t ask a cop a question (#RandyEvans).
We can’t cash our check in peace (#YvonneSmallwood).
We can’t take out our wallet (#AmadouDiallo).
We can’t run (#WalterScott).
We can’t breathe (#EricGarner).
We can’t live (#FreddieGray).
We’re tired. – author unknown