I will be stepping off Facebook for a while. I will keep my account active because I need it for my biz/blog, but will not be engaging. Normally, I would not feel the need to announce this. I’d just quietly delete the app and be done with it. But some things need to be expressed.
I went back and forth for a time trying to decide if I should even post this. I am non-confrontational and avoid pain at all costs. I have much to say so this will be just the beginning of my writing/processing on the subject. After prayer and deliberation among wise friends, I have decided to communicate this hurt in hopes that it may clear the path for others. Perhaps someone can learn from my own bruises and avoid causing unnecessary wounds.
It is exhausting and damaging for me to listen to conversations regarding race online
People on BOTH sides of the aisle really, REALLY suck at it. And to my more liberal/progressive people: your approach has been the source of some of my greatest hurts regarding race. I already have a Savior and if your name isn’t Jesus Christ, I’ll pass on your charity.
I have had SO MANY well meaning SJW’s whitesplain my personal history to me – why I am irrelevant because I do not fit the narrative. Go ahead and erase me. That’s fine. Do what you’ve got to do I guess. Also, Conservatives, this does not mean you have been so perfect either. Please stop asking me if my hair is real. Or telling me about your friend who’s black. It’s weird…
There is an onslaught of tension that I have experienced over this last year. It’s terribly difficult to navigate this season as a biracial woman. Unless you’re in that boat it will be difficult to explain. Truthfully, I am really weirded out and exhausted by a lot of the actions taken by white people trying to navigate that tension as well.
I have had people check in, not follow up, yet post immaculately articulated apologies. I have watched people spend more time arguing about the correct/incorrect AMOUNT of activism rather than being a good friend to those BIPOC people around them and asking them what they actually need/want. I have seen people constantly post articles, blogs, videos, podcasts, and more from people they don’t know and not bother listen, read, or watch the very few things I have posted about my own struggle as a biracial woman in this cluster of a dumpster fire.
Elevate melinated voices. Except mine isn’t melinated enough, right?
I’m checking my own prejudices, don’t you worry. But when I look in the mirror, I see a people who look similar to me but who’s suffering doesn’t feel like mine and another people who look similar to me but who’s full privilege doesn’t feel like mine. My ethnicity is summed up as “other”. I don’t want people falling at my feet. But let your words be few if your actions will be as well.
My mother engrained this proverbial “work” that everyone is tweeting about from a young age. Is there always more learning and growing I can do? Absolutely. But she raised me to see the humanity in all people and try to connect with them on their level/turf/context/culture/whatever fancy buzz word is going for the highest virtue signaling dollar these days. That the image of God was on each and every person.
So I go and do that work. I just go and….do it. I don’t need my social media page to be lit up like the forth of July to prove to you I’m doing something. I don’t need a trophy for treating people with respect or elevating others so you know I checked off my good deeds for the day.
Everybody has their reasons for what they post on social media. I can’t see into your heart and know what they are. But as someone who has struggled A LOT in this season, your words on Facebook literally mean nothing to me without action to back it up. I know they may be healing to some BIPOC to see people digitally standing with them. I’m not saying it’s wrong. It just doesn’t carry much weight on its own.
Your black square on your profile lets me know, at the very least, that you felt guilty enough to post it because you didn’t want people to think you’re a racist. That’s it. Because guess what? It generates a large group of praise for making such a publicly “bold” stance….for you. Meanwhile, I and others stand back with that one text you sent after George Floyd died to make sure you’re not a racist. Your ‘standing’ in solidarity doesn’t mean I feel safe around you.
The road to redemption has many lanes. Pick your lane and move forward. Allow other people to merge and join, even if they are at a different pace. Forward momentum is the goal and some will be moving faster than others. And I know this post won’t mean much to the people who are shouting the loudest, but social media is not equal to your action away from your screen.
Here’s the thing. If you ARE a racist, that is not my problem to fix. If you do have prejudices, that is not my problem to fix. I do not have the time and energy to go looking for racism, checking people that need to be heart checked, informing people why touching black women’s hair is a freaking huge cringefest, nor why you need to stop using the term ally.
I am not the racist police and I am not your teacher either. I am happy to share my experiences if you actually care about my life in the context of an established relationship. But I am not here to correct you, teach you, or exonerate you.
Navigating this current climate as a biracial woman is already utterly exhausting. The same is true for most BIPOC people. Your racism is not our problem.
I am going to inevitably bump into people who feel some type of way about me because of the color of my skin. Whatever boo…God sees you and I’ll leave it up to Him to check you. But I am going to walk forward confidently in this life and enjoy it to the fullest. You’re racism isn’t going to stop me. Even if it were to lead to my death, my life is meaningful before and after your racist acts. Your racism, while it may hurt, will not destroy my living of this life. God is my Father…best not to mess with His child.
There have been multiple white people who have come to me this year looking for absolution from past actions. It usually begins with a very broad apology or solidarity statement that is not linked to any specific past events. Similar to making the rounds at dinner tables as a newlywed couple at their wedding out of obligation. This is a weird, uncomfortable, and impossible role for me to play. It actually passes the burden of some guilt you feel onto me. What am I supposed to say in that moment?
If you are truly doing the “work” that you rave about on your social media, you wouldn’t issue a broad apology. You would know exactly what you were apologizing for.
Honestly, most of the time I said it’s fine because I was uncomfortable and wanted to move on. I didn’t really stand up for myself because this is all so raw and vulnerable and hard and weird and tense. But as I shake the dust off, I realize my own movement towards accepting an apology I’m confused by in order to move past the discomfort.
I’m tired. Tired of buzz words and social media activism. Of really long new fancy terms to describe my personal hell that make you feel really smart and gives you the upper hand in debates. Of actions and words that feel fueled by frenzy. Of feeling like I have to weigh everything in light of ‘was that racist’. Of ‘allyship’, #alllivesmatter, virtue signaling, and ‘I’ve been silent on social media but…’. Of my experience and the experience of my black family members being disregarded because it doesn’t fit any narrative. This is exhausting and honestly, Facebook just doesn’t help in any way.
I’m tired of my experience and the experience of my black family members being disregarded because it doesn’t fit in any narrative.
I have always believed that social media has the ability to be a positive place. I like to seek the redemption in all things. But for this season, Facebook is just not that for me. And it’s time to take a step back. I’m tired of being wrecked every time I hop on for an occasional scroll.
I truly say all of this out of exhaustion, not anger. If we haven’t talked for a while and you’re not sure what to do, I’m still rooting for you from afar! But I, and other black people you haven’t talked to in ages, don’t need you to come issue non-specific apologies, Venmo us coffee money, or ask us to join your anti-racist book club. We can’t absolve you anyways.
If you want to support me/us, just listen to what we have to say. I’m very active on Instagram. Support our art. Comment on our posts so that we know you’re rooting us on. Then ask God where your lane is in this fight for redemption, and get in it. Don’t worry about other peoples’ lanes. Just merge and at least GET in a lane.
Whatever lane you end up in, just let it be genuine. Let it be REAL. Let it be something that actually matters to you, and others. Let it be done in true humility and honest compassion for others.
My desire is that at the end of my life I can say before God and people, as Paul did, that “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7