I’m thinking about whiteness—the structure, ideology, and everyday enactments—as I try to process (yet again) how white people weaponize whiteness.
My heart is hurting with rage and grief from recent events, explained in these articles from The Root:
- “‘There’s an African-American Man Threatening My Life’: Karen Calls Police on Black Man for Asking Her to Leash Her Dog”
- “Outrage in Minneapolis after Black Man Dies in Custody Following Brutal Police Arrest: ‘I Cannot Breathe!’”
- “Minneapolis Police Confront Protesters After George Floyd’s Death; Sister Calls for Cops to Face Murder Charges”
In the past day, I’ve tried channeling my rage and grief into writing. Writing consistently acts as a holding space for me: a space for learning and unlearning.
And I have written.
I’ve written a rageful essay indicting whiteness as a stance of domination, disregard, and disconnection.
I’ve written a sorrowful poem of emotion words that have lodged themselves in my chest.
I’ve written journal notes in an attempt to move those emotions through my body.
But none of it feels right or ready to share. Not yet, anyway. Not in this moment.
So, what can I say?
NO to the normalization of policing, murder, and human rights violations.
NO to dehumanization and oppression.
And YES—as in a strong yes—to re-committing to and striving toward racial justice.
And as lifelong work, this is everyday work: work in the moment and work over time. Responses are needed now, AND stamina (staying power) is needed for the long haul.
This work includes raging and shouting, grieving and aching. It needs the fuel of imagining and visioning—and of joyfully shaking off old selves and emerging into new versions aligned with commitments.
I’m here for unraveling—that is, dismantling—whiteness and white supremacy, and, therefore, so much of business-as-usual and life-as-we-know-it.
I’m here for not-knowing but learning and speaking and acting, imperfectly.
I’m here for interrupting microaggressions and being a killjoy and contributing to public outcry and settling the nervous system and listening differently and building emotional literacies and feeling-thinking-acting and trying again and again.
I’m here for recognizing complicity and unlearning whiteness, which is insidious and saturated in everyday life. For doing more than calling myself in/out. For weaving into the fabric of my being the courage to unravel whiteness.
In the here-and-now and for the long haul, I’m here for unraveling whiteness, stitch by stitch, through the call for more courage.
This post is written by Beth Godbee, Ph.D. for Heart-Head-Hands.com. For related posts, you might try “For White Friends Using Social Media and Not Responding to Charlottesville” and “Trusting the Alarm Behind Supposedly ‘Alarmist Rhetoric.’”
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