Afterwards…

There is no happy ever after – but there is an afterwards.

This isn’t our ending.

Rosamund Lupton, “Afterwards”

There is a really good book called Afterwards, and while it doesn’t have much to do with this post, it has given me something to think about.

It’s been a long summer. I’ve been absent for many reasons; I’ve been occupied with summer classes and this hasn’t been the summer to laze around in fields and sip tropical cocktails. Personally, I’ve struggled to come on here because I knew that I didn’t want to distract from the important conversations going on about anti-racism, capitalism and the like. However, I didn’t want to use this blog to rant about the things I’d much rather see changed.

But it’s been a couple of months, so just to make sure y’all learned some things this summer, let’s rant for a minute.

Okay, so racism. What have we learned? That racism is bad. Yeah, because 400 years of slavery, Jim Crow, Redlining and everything else didn’t make it clear enough. But what we obviously haven’t learned is… anything, yet.

I was talking to a friend and I said, what people need to understand about racism is that we aren’t just fighting for our right to live but we’re fighting to able to have lives worth living. I want to wake up and feel empowered, I want respectable representation, fair treatment, equal oppoortunity, now what the hell is so controversial about that? Should I be grateful just for being able to be here when even that can be threatened by the president one week and reversed the next? Is that a life you would want for yourself?

But MORE than that, I want to not feel invisible. I want to not feel alone all the time, I want to not worry about explaining myself, the things I laugh at, the songs I sing and the way I dance.

In case you were wondering, that’s what it means to support black lives. You have to want for us the same thing that you want for yourselves and you have to believe that we deserve it not because of how articulated or hardworking you think we are, but because we’re people just like you.

Get it? If no, then read this article by my sister. If you do get it, cool, go forth and support black lives FULLY. But don’t expect any rewards now, don’t expect thank yous from black people, don’t centre yourself (*cough* white saviourism *cough cough* oppression olympics), don’t make excuses. But don’t make yourself an exception either; that’s weird. Keep learning and keep listening. Sometimes the only way to do the former is by doing the latter, so shut up.

But of course we aren’t only battling one pandemic. I am besides myself, worn out, broken down, thinking of how I can be useful in the fight to dismantle systems of oppression and work to uphold, empower, preserve the good of the world. And we won’t be able to do all of that, only the governments of the world can and when they decide to give a shit, that would be nice but until then all we can do is our tiny little part to make this world a better place.

So yes, WEAR A MASK.

xx

Naomi

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