I talk to white people about being “kicked out of the club.” It’s the moment that they realize that speaking up about race or racism distances them from other white people. It’s when they find out that other white people won’t necessarily support them when they raise issues of racism. I have tried to be empathic with them as they struggle with the perceived loss they suffer when doing what’s right means being ostracized.
I try to have compassion because the Now Me knows how the Then Me felt. The Then Me often didn’t speak up. The Then Me was somewhat passive aggressive. The Then Me would quit a job rather than deal with repeated acts of racism, even when those acts weren’t directly aimed at me.
Then Me realized this was suicide.
Then Me knew that typically nobody would speak up if I didn’t. And Then Me knew that I couldn’t live a lie.
So what are the risks and rewards of being anti-racist? I feel funny writing “risks” (I was “taking a risk”), just as I wrote “perceived loss” a few paragraphs ago. I wrote that white people suffer a “perceived loss” when they are ostracized by other white people, because I would like to believe that it’s not a loss when you find out who other people truly are. Or when you find out who you are yourself.
Then Me was a silent person. Now Me has a voice.
— So now I know., by Resistance
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