A few weeks ago I blogged about Colin Kaepernick as the face of Nike’s 30th anniversary campaign. The blog received hundreds and hundreds of comments, most of which were bad. Ordinarily I have no time or attention for negativity and half baked hate from people who don’t think, or are too scared to compete in the game fairly. Why indulge those who defend a patriarchal structure that systemically penalizes anyone who doesn’t fit a very narrow mold? I think my time is better served promoting the dialogue that will eventually break that system down and create a new one.
But LinkedIn loves to send notifications, and occasionally one catches my eye. In response to my Colin blog, one white woman asked me, don’t you ever get tired of crying about race?
I blinked a few times and reread that first sentence. I couldn’t tell you what the rest of the comment said, I was too busy laughing.
Is that even a real question? Is she serious? Touched? Challenged? Tired? Suffering from under or over-medication, extreme stress, or some other act of God type mess where one must simply put down one’s head and endure?
Then I reeled myself in. Kellye, this is not personal. It can’t be. You don’t know her, and she don’t know you. Then I was able to look at the situation with a hint of objectivity, and I would like to respond.
I repeat, yes.
For the eternal record, yes. I do get tired of talking, excuse me, crying, about race.
I can tell she’s not a regular fan of my blog because if I had a G for every time I’ve written that very thing on a Friday afternoon, I’d be sitting under an umbrella on a beach in Malta right now. Or, I’d be in Seoul shopping for skincare, and eating bibimbap with Park Seo Joon slurping noddles across the table from me.
Do I want to talk about race? No. I don’t. I don’t want to talk about race, gender, sexual orientation, religious freedom or lack there of, or any other dimension of diversity. I do it because I am called to.
I don’t want to. I am compelled to. I feel it is my responsibility to at least introduce a new line of thinking into a world where questions about a man’s punishment when he abuses women is even remotely impacted by race. Or, when a woman’s integrity is immediately called into question when she is abused by a man.
I am a writer. Every week, every day, and I’m going to keep writing and creating content as long as I, a black woman, live in this world where my skin and lack of male genitalia impact the quality of my life experience.
Do I get tired of crying about race? Damn right I do. Now, try asking a legitimate question. Try thinking instead of reacting defensively and attempting to deny me the use of my platform to offer an alternative point of view.
My purpose is not to cry about race, but to get people who say stupid shit like that to look outside the bubble they live in. Check out what’s going on with the rest of the world because we live here too. Because I gotta tell you, that illusion of comfort and safety you’re clinging to by the skin of your nails is cracking, and my “crying” about race and gender and every other dimension of diversity that works so hard for inclusion is both spike in the damn and slow and steady water to erode the rock.
This week Dr. Christine Blasey Ford spoke at the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings. Most folks are saying, despite several additional women stepping forward to accuse him of sexual crimes, he’s still a shoe in for the Supreme Court. That’s sad. It says something ugly about a political system where the highest court in the land can be so easily populated by people of questionable character and morals. Why? Well, he’s of a certain race, a certain sex and a certain economic sector. But apparently I shouldn’t comment on that.
Also this week, Bill Cosby was sentenced to 3-10 years in prison. Many folks are saying that Cosby’s sentencing is a sham. That his punishment is racially motivated, and that it’s unfair when so many other sexual predators in the time of #MeToo like Kavanaugh, Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, even the President – because they’re white – get off free and clear.
But the big, perennial question is – and seemingly always will be – is race worth mentioning? Some people say no, fervently, heatedly, emphatically, definitely, no, no, no! I say, how is it not a question when the right or wrong of a man’s punishment for crimes against women is somehow related to his race?
That question – don’t you get tired of crying about race? – is ludicrous. It’s a deliberate distraction, and a worthy and effective attempt at misdirection. Ordinarily I turn up my nose at that kind of stupidity, but this week I’m gonna go there because I believe and always will, that the pen is mightier than the sword.
Bad comments will never stop me from writing. You’re only adding fuel to this particular fire. And I’ve got cliches for days, so don’t get me started.
People are drawing comparisons between Ford and Anita Hill, and debating over the differences in how the world is treating the two women, and rightly so. The situations are eerily similar with one very marked difference. But I’m not gonna talk about that. I need to go buy some Kleenex to dry these hypothetically racially motivated tears.