Week 17: Worry

We missed week 16 because I was coming up with a game plan for how I was going to be a better anti-racist person. It’s an on-going process, it will always be an on-going process, but I didn’t feel like sharing what feels like my very trivial day to day given how genuinely shit and uncomfortable the last two weeks have been, and that’s coming from someone who is to never feel what people of colour feel on a first hand level.

Last week, I didn’t feel like I was going to do a good job at articulating myself with everything that has been happening and materializing since the death of George Floyd. This week, I wanted to share what I worry about vs. what I don’t worry about as a means of unpacking my white privilege.

What I worry about (in no particular order):

  • I worry about money
  • I worry about whether people *actually* like me
  • I worry about climate change
  • I worry about the sad looking dogs I see tied outside grocery stores
  • I worry about whether my email sounded blunt and whether I should have added a smiley emoji
  • I worry about ageing
  • I worry about dying
  • I worry for Britney Spears
  • I worry about whether or not I’m intelligent
  • I worry about whether or not I have enough friends
  • I worry about every time I have embarrassed myself in the last seven years
  • I worry about whether or not I’m looking at too many screens
  • I worry about whether I’m reaching my full potential
  • I worry about other people’s happiness
  • I worry that I’m actually a shit writer and the ticking clock of when I’m going to get a call from a glossy women’s magazine to come and be their columnist will never come and suddenly I’m 90 and it’s all over
  • I worry about how bad I am at maths
  • I worry about how inconsistent and scary life can be sometimes
  • I worry about typos in my work
  • I worry that my boyfriend will decide I’m annoying
  • I worry that I might actually be extremely annoying
  • I worry that I left the cooker on
  • I worry that I left the hair straightener on, even though I haven’t straightened my hair in six months
  • I worry about the housing shit show in Dublin
  • I worry about the recession that is 100% coming all of our ways
  • I worry about which breed of dog I’ll own when I grow up
  • I worry that I’ll still not know how to drive by the age of 40
  • I worry that I will never stop vaping and nicotine will be my life long partner in crime
  • I worry that if I don’t figure out how to type correctly my two index fingers will shrivel up and die
  • I worry that it’s obvious to everyone having written the above list that I’m not as confident as I seem

Things I don’t worry about (in no particular order):

  • I don’t worry about police stopping me in the street
  • I don’t worry about the police hurting me
  • I don’t worry about the police murdering me
  • I don’t worry about people staring at me because I look different
  • I don’t worry about not getting the job because of my skin colour
  • I don’t worry about getting paid less because of my skin colour
  • I don’t worry about people treating me differently because of my skin colour
  • I don’t worry about racial slurs being thrown at me
  • I don’t worry about racial violence towards me
  • I don’t worry about feeling accepted by those around me, whether it be in the workplace or otherwise

Up until now, I don’t think I have worried enough about racism, because it doesn’t affect me. I am a white, educated female who still manages to have a lot to worry about even though, overall I love my life and am very grateful for it. I think that people of colour worry about the same things that I worry about ON TOP OF ALL OF THE OTHER HORRIFYING SHIT THEY NEED TO WORRY ABOUT.

Racism will never be something I need to worry about firsthand, but I will no longer be viewing these issues through the prism that by not being a racist asshole, I am contributing to a better society. It’s not enough to sit pretty and say “I’m not racist, I’m woke!” I will no longer be so naive to think that because all the people I know and love are not racist, it must not be much of an issue anymore.

Racism is alive and kicking and its kicking hard. There is no avoiding it. It might be uncomfortable for white people to accept that we are contributing to white supremacy by being anything but active, but we are, we are contributing to white supremacy by being complacent. It’s time to move, shake, make noise, listen more, learn more and be proactive. I’m checking myself. I hope you’re checking yourself too.

Things I’m grateful for this week:

I’m grateful to anyone who is trying their best to make a difference, now and into the future x 10. I won’t paraphrase the voices of those I have been listening to, I will let them do the talking below:

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This video is from my stories yesterday evening. I want to you to see this. How harmful even “nice white people” can be when they aren’t actively anti-racist and mindful of how they may be centering themselves and becoming the victim… aka vilifying black people…simply when they are offered a different perspective. 💔⁣ ⁣ This encounter was incredibly unpleasant, yet I am feeling immensely grateful for the personal growth it brought and opportunity created to share with thousands of people globally, the pain that micro aggressions bring to black people on the DAILY. We aren’t just hurt when you shoot us. Our experiences aren’t just erased when you dehumanize us. You hurt us by simply being fragile and entitled. By telling us you are our “allies” but then treating us with no respect. ⁣ ⁣ It is OKAY to disagree, to misunderstand, to be unsure of what is “the right approach”, but it is not okay to try to silence those who are actually facing oppression with lofty ideas (as if you could possibly fathom what it is like to be in our shoes) — and THEN to victimize yourself and belittle us because you don’t understand and or feel uncomfortable with being held accountable (which isn’t our problem!). ⁣ ⁣ It is an undeniable fact that in building the future we want we have to face what we don’t want. Us black people have been facing our fears and discomforts head on for hundreds of years…it’s your turn now. and I can almost guarantee it won’t cost you your life.⁣ ⁣ But I want to say…thank you, neighbor, for being the spark. For creating an opportunity for not only myself but for the hundreds of people from Australia, Serbia, France, New Zealand, the UK, Ireland, and all over the US who have messaged me and expressed true solidarity and gratitude for the opportunity to learn from my experience. It has served a far grander purpose than I ever could’ve imagined 😭⁣ ⁣ I also want to thank those of you who are entering discomfort and genuinely trying, listening, and being open to SEEING US, HEARING US, and FEELING US. Thank you for being here and for allowing me to hold space in your spirit, heart, and mind. Your compassionate vulnerability is appreciated 🙏🏽⁣ #BlackLivesMatter

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Some choice quotes via @trevornoah @thedailyshow ➡️ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ “Society is a contract that we sign as human beings amongst each other. We sign a contract with each other as people, whether it’s spoken or unspoken and we say—among this group of us—we agree in common rules, common ideals, and common practices that are going to define us as a group.” ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ “And then, some members of that society—mainly Black American people—watch time and time again how the contract that they have signed with society, is not being honored by the society that has forced them to sign it with them.” ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ “When Colin Kaepernick kneels, they say this is not the right way to protest. When Martin Luther King had children as part of his protests in Birmingham, Alabama, people said having children as your protest is not the right way to do things. When he marched in Selma, people said this is not the right way to do things. When people march through the streets in South Africa during apartheid, they said this is not the right way to do things. When people burn things they say it’s not—it’s never the right way ‘cause there’s never a right way to protest… because that’s what protest is. It cannot be right because you are protesting against a thing that is stopping you.” ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ “I think what a lot of people don’t realize is the same way you might have experienced even more anger and even more just visceral disdain watching people loot that Target, try to imagine how it must feel for Black Americans when they watch themselves being looted every single day. Because that’s fundamentally what’s happening in America. Police in America are looting Black bodies.” ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ “To anyone who watched that video, don’t ask yourself if it’s right or wrong to loot. Don’t ask yourself “why does looting help? Ask yourself why it got to you that much more watching these people loot. Because they were destroying the contract that you thought they had signed with your society. And now think to yourself… imagine if you were them watching that contract being ripped up every single day. Ask yourself how you’d feel.” • #blm #blacklivesmatter #justiceforfloyd #justiceforgeorgefloyd #protest #trevornoah

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@chethinks 💪🏾💪🏾💪🏾💪🏾

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