Drawing the line.
Disclaimer: This post makes me very nervous.
There are a lot of anti-Trumpers who are angry and can’t understand or even believe how someone could be friends with, or even still love, a Trump supporter. There are many that think we ALL need to be angry and forceful and call out the people in our lives who uphold and support racist systems by not acknowledging them or by denying their own white privilege.
I’m not saying that all Trump supporters are supporting racism…but I’m saying there are people who would get really angry at me for clarifying that statement. Because there are people who say ALL TRUMP SUPPORTERS ARE SUPPORTING RACIST POLICIES AND THEREFORE ARE RACISTS and they would want me to yell it from the rooftops.
I’m going to call those people the Anger Police. I first saw them in 2008 when I wrote a few times about how we need to think of People over Politics – a common topic I cover as a blue dot in the red state. I saw them a little more in 2012 because in some areas the Presidential race was closer. But then came out in DROVES in 2016.
The Anger Police are like those parents who get mad at participation trophies. They believe we are coddling conservatives by not calling them out often enough. Especially when it comes to issues around race because coddling them is something on a white person has the privilege to choose.
And can I tell you something? I don’t disagree at all. I really think we need the Anger Police. We need people to be really loud and really angry. A lot of those people shook sight into me where I was blind regarding things like systemic racism.
The problem is? It’s not my style. I do want to change hearts and minds but I can’t be the person who strikes low and hard to do it. I came out more educated on the other side of facing my own racism. But there are a lot of people who will never open their eyes to the possibility and so me throwing anger in their face would be me ending the relationship POINT BLANK and here’s the thing: This is my family. And as much as the Anger Police may judge me for upholding family relationships amidst conflicting political views, I can’t shatter the bonds of family, no matter how much I want to stand up for my beliefs.
Now. Let’s take this internal conflict, a conflict I know a lot of people around here relate to because we are blue dots in red states, and let’s apply it to the news of Nike supporting Colin Kaepernick.
“Wait, Kim. How do those things relate?”
Well. I decided I do not like the impulse people had to make fun of those people who said they’d boycott Nike. But I feared calling it out because I feared the Anger Police. This is what I wanted to write on Facebook yesterday.
Criminal justice reform is one of my top issues of concern in this country. From the prison-to-school pipeline to the money-bail system, we arrest, prosecute, and punish men and women of color at higher rates than their numbers in the general population. The racist systems built to hide oppression in plain site need to be dismantled and bad seeds from patrol officers to District Attorneys need to be called out and punished. I have always supported Colin Kaepernick’s protests which he has been doing to bring attention to all of these issues. I celebrated Nike’s new yesterday.
However, I will not mock people who are angered by the same news. I did not appreciate being mocked when I cried the night of the 2016 election. I heard, “You deserve to be mocked for supporting Crooked Hillary!” I did not appreciate being mocked when I was upset that Justice Kennedy was retiring. “Uggg….don’t get so upset…we had to deal with Obama’s appointees.” I did not appreciate being mocked when I stood in support of Planned Parenthood at the Women’s March. “Women have it good, what in the Hell are you even protesting?” I did not appreciate being mocked when I stood against child separation policies. “They shouldn’t come here illegally! Do you get this upset when criminals don’t get to see their kids?”
I just wish our instincts were not to make fun of the way people express hurt and anger in these conflicted times.
Why didn’t I write it? Because I was worried about the Anger Police telling me that these people SHOULD be made fun of and mocked because they are a road block in our efforts to correct racial injustices in the judicial system and I should be using my white privilege to support and not police the language of the people on my side.
And they would be right.
But I have friends in law enforcement. Good people. Do I think they are part of a racist system of oppression, knowingly or not? Yes. But I also know they are trying to make the world better. I know they’ve lost friends. I know their family worries about their lives every day. If they (albeit wrongly) think that Colin Kaepernick’s protest is unwarranted and are hurt by Nike’s decision, I don’t want to mock that pain. If I have veteran friends who (albeit wrongly) think his protest is against them and they are hurt by Nike’s decision, I don’t want to mock that pain. I disagree with their views, but not enough to laugh at their hurt.
I just think we get so riled up on so many issues that we forget that just because someone is never going to understand our point of view, doesn’t mean we should be mean or hateful to them. I have a family member who posted something really snarky about Women protesting at the Women’s March in January. A march I was posting pictures and videos from…pictures and videos of my kids. All while she was making fun of it. Maybe she didn’t see my pictures and videos, but it still hurt. She was seeing something I stood for and believed strongly in and she was mocking it, “What are they even protesting about? They should try being a woman in [insert country where women are second-class citizens here] – those women have something to protest. They just look stupid.”
I also saw SEVERAL people post on the night of the 2016 election mocking the pain of people like me, who were crying helplessly over the results.
Now, the Anger Police would tell me that I should be hurt over that but that doesn’t make those people any more wrong. And while I do not deserve to be mocked, they would see people hurt by Nike’s decision and say if those people do not see the truths of racial injustice or an oppressive racists systems that are killing black men every day, and if they do not support Colin Kaepernick’s peaceful attempt to bring those truths to light, then they deserve to be mocked. SOCIAL JUSTICE IS NOT ALWAYS KIND, Kim.
And I believe them. I do. I believe we need the Anger Police to push awareness, especially around issues surrounding race.
But I can’t join in on the mocking. I just can’t. I think of my police officer running buddy who protects my community every day, along side black police officers who are struggling even more in this environment, and I see him hurt by this. So I brace myself for fighting from the anger police and I do what I can and use my voice and my power to teach and talk about the systemic racism in our judicial system. I attend classes and read non-fictions and watch documentaries to better educate myself so that I can use the power of my vote, and the power of my platform to shed light where I can.
But I draw the line at publicly mocking the pain of others. At least I try to. I’m not perfect. Sometimes I’m so hurt by this administration that seeing their supporters mocked kinda triggers that dopamine rush I’m constantly looking for in this political climate, and I rejoice in it. I’m not going to lie. I’m not trying to be the room monitor who tries to make everyone be nice. I’m no angel.
Here’s the truth: I proudly support Colin Kaepernick. I always have. I’m glad that Nike made this bold move. I want to go buy something with a Nike Swoosh on it to celebrate. But I’m not going to make fun of the people who feel hurt by Nike. I was ridiculed for my tears when Trump was elected, and I can’t see someone’s pain and not remember my own. So right now I’m choosing not to make fun of the people who are pledging boycotts and angry at the company.
And if the Anger Police say it’s what they deserve and by coddling them I am helping keep the racist systems in place? I’ll just nod and wonder if they’re right.