a different kind of musing

have the uncomfortable talks

musings

My other newsletter (with your monthly tarot reading) will go out next month.

You’re not asking for this, but you’re getting it.

You need to check your privilege and acknowledge it. It’s not an inherently bad thing, either. It’s just something many of us have that others do not. Kind of like how some of us are born with silver spoons and a fat bank account and the rest of us live paycheck to paycheck.

It’s how you use your privilege that counts.

I have several young friends. Most are young to mid twenties. They’re fantastic people — but I don’t feel that most of them are as woke as they claim to be.

If you’re constantly posting, resharing/retweeting about the protests and riots, please take a genuine, honest look at why.

Are you doing it to inform? Great! Examine why you are only informing now and not year round.

Are you doing it because you are angry? Yes! Get angry! But why weren’t you angry in January? Will you still be angry in September?

Did you share a black square on Blackout Tuesday? Did you also highlight black voices? Or did you share the square so that your friends won’t think you are racist? It’s ok if that last one is why you did — you are not alone there.

A lot of people are sharing black squares and other well-designed graphics. It’s the easiest way to say “Hey, I’m not racist.”

It’s also a dodge.

It’s a way to make you feel like you are doing the work without actually doing the work.

Because the actual work is uncomfortable af…and takes a lot more time than just a week’s worth of shared images on FB/IG.

One of my more aggressively outspoken friends announced they were going to protest.

I do not attend the protests. Not because I don’t believe in what we are protest — I fully support the BLM movement. I don’t attend because I have two children I would have to bring with me.

My excuse is not wanting to put my children in danger.

That, my friends, is privilege at work.

There are black mothers and fathers on the front line of these protests with their children.

I have the privilege of staying on base in my bubble. I recognize that. I have moments where I feel I am doing what is best for my children and others where I wrestle with my choice because my children also need to be aware of their world off base.

On base living is a different type of life. It’s very idillic — quiet neighborhoods with a tight-knit community. There’s also a sense of security because we are on base.

If I drive around on base, I am not going to see protesting. I will not see riots.

That is privilege.

When I have conversations about race with my children, I don’t have to teach them how to stay alive. My conversations look drastically different than my black friend’s conversation with their children. That, again, is privilege at work.

But back to my aggressively outspoken friend.

Not even a full day after announcing they were going to protest, they backed out.

Why?

Because they realized it might be too dangerous.

Privilege.

The entire point of having white voices and bodies at these protest is to put yourself in front of black people who are putting themselves in danger for their rights to exist. Because whiteness is privilege and can (and should) be used as a shield to protect others.

But my friend, who so ardently went after others for not being as angry or as outspoken as they were, had an opportunity to show up and put action behind all their social media sharing, backed out because it would be too dangerous.

This is the epitome of white privilege.

Deciding what parts of protest you want to partake in and what parts you want to sit out.

And I get it — I choose to sit out, too.

The good news is that we can all examine where we have privilege. We can unlearn behaviors. We can grow. We can evolve.

We can find other ways to support.

We can donate to bail out funds. We can donate to BLM organizations.

We can also take the lessons we are learning now and continue learning long after the hashtags disappear.

One of my friends back home in Texas, a black woman and mother, addressed a crowd with these words (and I am paraphrasing, because I saw this on her IG stories, so I can’t go back and get it verbatim):

I’m glad you are here. But make no mistake. This is not the work. A week from now, when you are tired of this and the hashtags die out, that’s when the real work begins.

I had another friend, a white woman, who is also very outspoken right now. But like so many others, she tends to twist what is happening to create the narrative around herself. I do not think this is intentional, but it happening.

She would say things like “Well I am doing xyz every day for the past five days And this white-owned company still hasn’t made their stance clear.”

That’s not the work.

Yes, hold others accountable. Show companies that they can and should do better.

But make no mistake, I do not care if you went to protests for a week. I do not care that you donated to bail out funds. I don’t care if you are putting small businesses on blast for not releasing statements immediately and on your time table.

You do not need a pat on the back and a cookie for this work.

If you are someone who is donating and makes conscious decisions to support black voices and businesses, continue that work.

Do not do the work if you are looking for recognition that you are a good human being.

Doing it for recognition makes you a pretty shitty person, tbh.

Do it because you have examined where you have privilege. Do because you are trying to continuously educate yourself. Do it because you are trying to do better.

Trust me when I say that your black and minority friends see the work you do when the spotlight isn’t there.

I have a theory that the white voices who are most aggressively outspoken right now are coming from a place of guilt. Somewhere deep down, they recognize this is not work they consciously make an effort to do year-round, so now they are making up for it. And maybe they do some work, but they know they can still do better. Either way, I think they are lashing out.

And if any of this (whether something I wrote or something that came across your timeline) makes you uncomfortable — ask yourself why.

Sit with that discomfort. Find the source of that discomfort. Deal with that discomfort.

Some places I am having discomfort:

  • I do not feel safe taking my children to protests. Maybe I’m wrong for not taking them. Other parents are doing it. Why don’t I?

  • I have not called out/educated all of my friends. Some yes. Some no. Am I afraid of losing certain friendships but not others?

  • Am I wrong for sending this newsletter out? I am not an expert in any of this. Have I written something so completely wrong and ill-informed? My voice is not one that needs to be heard.

But I’m trying. I’m learning.

And please do not ask your black friends how you can help. You need to do the work on your own — it is not on them to do this work for you.

magic

There is no magic in a world divided by hate.

Have the uncomfortable conversations. With yourself, your family, your friends, your community.

Do better always, not just now.

The real magic happens when we are constant with putting in the work.


Thank you for subscribing to musings & magic. The next issue will release next week and include your monthly tarot reading. In the meantime, keep having the conversations. Keep learning and doing better.