It’s not if there are racists and bigots around me but who they are. Come out come out whoever you are. I know you’re there. I’m certain. this is what I know. Someone(s) in the organizations I work with voted for Donald Trump. Ditto for people whose businesses and services I regular use:
- The clerk at the grocery
- The dental hygienist
- The salesman at Marshall’s
- The butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker
- The Uber driver
- The train conductor
- That so-called sister who attends community events (self-hating, under-cover witch)
- The teacher at your grandchild’s school
- The facilitator, the board member
And if not them they have relatives who voted for Trump, and who support white supremacy, and who are racist to the core: their cousins, siblings, mothers, father and children.
Do you accept invitation from the former colleague not because she wouldn’t welcome you but because of where she lives and what her relatives, neighbors and friends might be about? After all, she’s shared a few tsks-tsks about them over the years you’ve worked together. (Don’t think this is a stretch, my husband I will never forget a holiday we attended of a white friend we care for very much. Her cousin didn’t know how to act. She was a bigot who got more obnoxious as she had more to drink. We got the hell out of there much sooner than we’d planned.)
This awareness of what might be…the probability that once you leave your house you are no longer in a safe space. Each day you encounter and interact with people who automatically think less of you and yours; who would do you or your loved ones’ harm (death by a thousand cuts, micro and macro-aggressions); who would suppress, oppress and annihilate you.
The probabilities almost drown out the larger reality – that you are surrounded by people:
- who did not vote for Trump
- who are not racist
- who do not base their existence on notions of superiority/inferiority, ups/down, you/not you, inside/outsider
- Who live and let live
- Who believe there are enough goodies for all of us.
- Who understand that we are all in this together
- Who know how to share
- Who wish you well.
It is a burden to wonder if you can trust anybody.. It diminishes one’s spirit to be cautious. It deflates one’s energy to stay silent because you needs your job.
Ah, livelihood…it’s necessary and oftentimes requires sacrifice and silence.
In an organization, especially one with more than 10 employees, there can’t help but be racists, bigots, homophobes, etc.
Come out, come out, wherever you are. Make yourself known. On second thought – stay in, stay in, whoever you are. DMX expressed it better than I ever could in this cuttingly-precise chorus to his song, Party Up (Up in Here):
Y’all gon’ make me lose my mind up in HERE, up in here
Y’all gon’ make me go all out up in here, up in here
Y’all gon’ make me act a FOOL up in HERE, up in here
Y’all gon’ make me lose my cool up in here, up in here
(The rest of the song goes into territory calling out other rappers and chest thumping and cursing. This is outside of my lane but that chorus is spot on, right on.)
I’m keeping my focus…eyes on the prize…and praying, please, that no one brings out the Candi in the Candelaria that I’m trying to control.
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