As I scroll through a timeline of convoluted sentiments around this inauguration, I’m reminded that we have work to do.
Maybe it’s my positionality as a Black, queer, fem, educator raised in poverty during the crack epidemic but, I HATE election season.
Aside from the obnoxiously loud reminder of who is and who is not valued in this country, it’s a call for division.
Every four years (give or take) we allow ourselves to become pawns. I’m speaking directly to BIPOC. We invalidate one another’s lived experiences by way of criticizing their opinions and plans of action. We bypass teachable moments and opportunities to form alliances. Instead forming arguments and cases to prove someone’s ignorance. As if elections are an indicator for who is and isn’t down.
I say we because I am not exempt.
I fall for the trap each time. Even though every single Black and Indigenous person I know, regardless of political views, honestly believes that they are always acting in the best interest of their family AND their community. At the very least they believe that their choices won’t affect anyone else, and certainly won’t cause harm.
But still, I fall.
We all know the frustrations of feeling unheard or misunderstood so why do we then turn around and make others feel that same way? I am declaring from this time forward that I refuse to continue blaming people for how they respond to their oppression.
This does not mean that I support every POC – I don’t. What this means is that I fully understand that I don’t have all the answers. It means I get that I am acting from my own upbringing, education, and economic place in the world and that I have absolutely no knowledge of all that you carry. We may disagree, we may not even understand but that does not speak to any of our commitment to our people. Therefore, as much as I want to believe that my way is better I will not tell you you’re wrong.
If you tell me that you as a BIPOC love BIPOC, I will take you on your word. I will pray that although our paths to liberation may look different, we will one day find that they circle back and connect. Just as my feet don’t try and dictate the actions of my hands, I must realize that we all have a different purpose but ultimately serve one body.
I have to believe this.
Otherwise, what’s the point? Why do keep waking up? Why do we keep having babies? Why do we keep surviving if not for any other reason than the knowledge that there IS better and we’re ALL trying to get to it?