Are you familiar with the phrase emotional labor? If not, check out this comic by Emma before continuing this post.
I am struggling with finding the right words to articulate what I’m feeling, yet I feel it is necessary for me to speak. This is not the first time our country has faced a Charlottesville/Ferguson/Baltimore/Anywhere. It will not be the last, and it pains me to say this but it’s true. Not enough of us are willing to understand the emotional work that is needed. To this day the work for building a better community has been completely unbalanced by the oppressed and the oppressor.
Make no mistake, I am making a them and us distinction here. There is no way to sugar coat it: my blackness and someone else’s whiteness are in no way the same experience.And it is not because we are unequal, we are equals and have always been, but our perceptions and responsibilities have never been in complete alignment. The complexities in how people of color have had to engage with the tragedies that occurred this past weekend and the following reactions are the reasons why many of us remain silent. It is the reason why many of us, though greatly troubled, enraged and distraught, choose to focus on other things in our life – we are tired of being sensitive, tired of being asked on how we feel, and tired of trying to teach you why you should care. Many decide to reserve our energies. Here is why: You don’t care the way you should until one of your own dies.
That. Kills me. Every time.
And the worst part of it, is that we know you are more than capable of sharing our burden of care. We see it when you fight for animals or the earth or whatever. But when it comes to us dying… “It’s sad”, “It’s a shame and terrible”, “Shame on you.” That is not enough, it will never be enough and I shouldn’t have to tell you.
Reflect on the headline photo; does it not explain to you the work we do above and beyond? Does it not show you how we don’t even allow ourselves to feel exactly the way we want to? It is because can’t, we choose to be our best to teach you what real love and duty to all looks like. Now, look at it again. Yeah, I know it was from another event. Sorry, we didn’t find the other black officers who were doing the same job he did and still does.
What I would like for you all to do is to simply do what I and so many people of color do:Live a life that is in the concern and care for others.Click To Tweet
Reliance on our resilience is no longer an option for you. Reliance on others to do the work you know you can do yourself is inexcusable. If you want this country to become a loving and safer nation for all get up and do something. We are already doing everything we can, and we’re tired of your empty words.
Photo credit: twitter.com