Exhausted, heart-sick, anxious and wretched? Me too. But we need to get over it. I got a surge of new energy–and humility–this morning from reading the powerful article in the New York Times Op-Ed section by Chad Sanders (author of the forthcoming book, Black Magic). The article is accompanied by the image above, by Hanna Barczyk, which says it all: hey white folks, stop drowning black people in your crocodile tears!
Basically, Sanders is here to chastise us–white people like me who’ve written to our black friends this week–and to explain why our messages are misguided and tiring. Black people are drowning in our smug letters and texts, he says. Moreover, he points out that us telling people, “Don’t feel the need to respond,” is wrong on all accounts: it is oppressive, condescending and not appreciated by the recipient. (How would you like it if someone told you how to feel? or not to feel?)
Most usefully, he provides instructions on what we CAN do, if we want to do something meaningful. As he writes, “please, stop sending #love. Stop sending positive vibes. Stop sending your thoughts. Here are three suggestions on more immediately impactful things to offer instead:
- Money: To funds that pay legal fees for black people who are unjustly arrested, imprisoned or killed or to black politicians running for office.
- Texts: To your relatives and loved ones telling them that you will not be visiting them or answering phone calls until they take significant action in supporting black lives either through protest or financial contributions.
- Protection: To fellow black protesters who are at greater risk of harm during demonstrations.”*
*Chad Sanders, “White Friends, Fight Anti-Blackness,” New York Times (6/6/20): A21.
Being a good student, I immediately got out my wallet and visited the link on Anti-Racist and Social Justice Resources of my favorite local public radio station, KEXP. After studying some options, I chose to donate $100 to National Bail Out. I like their slim organization–run by volunteers–and their clear mission: this is a “Black-led and Black-centered collective of abolitionist organizers, lawyers and activists building a community-based movement to support our folks and end systems of pretrial detention and ultimately mass incarceration. We are people who have been impacted by cages — either by being in them ourselves or witnessing our families and loved ones be encaged. We are queer, trans, young, elder, and immigrant.” Learn more at www.nationalbailout.org.
In conclusion, please excuse me, black friends, if I annoyed you or wasted your time with my emails this week. And I thank you, Chad Sanders, for helping me understand how I can help with funding organizations like National Bail Out. On a lighter note, I’m thrilled to see one of my clients wearing one of my face masks to a local demonstration! (Looking good, Shep!)
p.s. I’m still moving forward on plans for the “Respect” quilt project, and the special offer of a Honey Girl quilt for only $100 is still good for one more day! See day 73 for details.
fyi: no face masks made yesterday, but production resumes today…