My dog is not a snuggler. Sometimes, if we’re all piled up on the couch he’ll *have* to “snuggle” if he wants to be on the couch, but if there’s room, he’ll be on one side and you’re on the other. And then, when you get up to make coffee, HE WILL TAKE YOUR SPOT EVERY TIME. This just happened to me and since things have been so heavy around here I thought I’d share that story first.
NOW! ONTO RACISM!
I’m not an arguer. Not really. I mean, I nag the shit out of my family, and I’ll fight to the death over MY perception of a “bad attitude” verses the perception other people in my house my have…but when it comes to real conversations around race and politics, I avoid arguments like the plague.
In person a lot of the avoidance is because I am not good with memorizing facts to spout off to prove my point. I get flustered and forget what I do know, but also? I’m just not great at committing some of that stuff to long-term memory. And while I have resources to use on the internet, I tend to just move past the stuff because…UGGG…WHAT IS THE POINT?
FWIW…I had a big drama with Facebook this year and had to delete like 300 friends (not specifically because THEY were problematic, I just picked the bottom 300 on my friend’s list which Facebook organizes around their algorithmic for “engagement”) and so I think I probably got rid of a lot of people who disagree with me politically in that sweep out and so I haven’t had much chance to argue.
But I did still hit the “WHAT IS THE POINT?” part after 2016 when I realized how many people I knew who loved Trump and, I just kinda have assumed that if someone still loves that guy, I’m not going to get them to listen to my thoughts about White Racism and White Privilege with any sort of an open mind or open heart.
The problem is, I know that those conversations are really the best thing I can do right now. But I also know that there are people you’re never going to change/reach. Maybe *never* is not the best word choice but in terms of a cost/benefit analysis (especially with no guarantee there’s ever a benefit at the cost of my mental health) it’s not worth it for it for *some* people.
There’s a lot of activists (and many of my white friends, honestly) who feel the time is to be AGGRESSIVE and challenge all racists for their racism. BUT Y’ALL…I AM JUST NOT GOOD AT THAT! I grew up with a Dad with anger issues in a church that shamed me. I’m a peacemaker. And while I’ll retweet the shit out of the YOU ARE A RACIST! type content, I am just not good in aggressively challenging that shit in my real life.
But that doesn’t mean I can’t be effective. I’ve decided the way I approach it is to say something like, “Many years ago I used to be someone who thought ‘All Lives Matter’ sounded preferable. [This establishes a point of connection] But since then, I have learned a lot in my journey to live more Anti-Racist. I firmly believe in White Privilege and that Racist Systems have existed to hold down many Black Communities (and other communities of color) and many Racist Policies exist today continue to thwart efforts for Black Americans to get out of that vice grip. If you are not open to the ideas of White Privilege or System Racism then I’m not sure there’s a point in us having this conversation. But if you are, here are some resources I can offer you from people smarter than me.”
I just thought I’d share that in case any of you are in the same non-confrontational boat.