The Privilege of Turning Away

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It seems that I have lost a fellow Rheumatoid Arthritis friend over my blunt, informed, and unapologetic Anti-Racism stance. Though Durazo might put it another way…

Someone who I fully believed in, especially as they navigate their life with this horrible disease, whether a new problem or new journey. As an old soul with this never-ending disease, I know it helps to connect with others suffering from this same bullshit. Because it never goes away really. It just looks for sneakier ways to attack from inside.

Oh, what does that remind me of? 

I don’t recall saying anything rude nor truly problematic. Those who know me in real life or even long and well enough on here (but especially in real life) know that I’m capable of saying some shit out of nowhere. Zing! Absolutely brilliant stuff. Think like Wednesday Addams deadpanning. Wide eyes and dropped jaws abound.

But the people who know me in real life usually understand why I don’t sugarcoat things, especially when it comes to the issues of social justice and Anti-Racism. Especially those who have become my friends through 14 years of working together. Many of them see the problem of oppression within our society and community. Some actually live it. No matter what they do or where they go, they’re forced to experience racism. 

There are things I can get away with that they can’t because of my white privilege, such as calling out and naming a coworker’s and their racist action publicly, to HR’s chagrin. Because of that blindingly white privilege, there are many things that I have no room to judge any Black person on, whatsoever. Today’s lesson involves riots and looting.

Us white people have no room to judge how Black people feel in fighting for their lives, especially when it comes to the particulars of how they have to fight. I’m sorry that so few people comprehend this about Black Lives Matter. I’m not sorry that Designer stores were damaged during the urgency of protesting Black oppression. Also not sorry that I refuse to judge, again because that’s not my lane to ever judge within. Period. Not sorry that I (repeatedly) posted information to educate on the existence and psychology of “riotous behavior”.

However,  I am sorry that I held back on responding more, if at all, to their posts about the riots. Calling out unfair and privileged judgment. But I figured my Facebook posts (incessant as they are) would help do the work for me. I didn’t argue on their page since it’s often promotional for work in various industries. I generously respected that due to the shared path of RA. I rolled my eyes and scrolled right on past, tucking a little red flag away for the time being. I continued posting Anti-Racism information. 

Probem is…I notice everything. You just told on yourself. I see what you did there. Most might just unfollow, because as mentioned before, incessant posting sessions. And just like some in my family, after I had called out a problematic family member (racism and misogyny) for which excuses are often made; friends but not really…not anymore, since I made them uncomfortable, angry, bothered.

But that’s all right. They’re just telling on themselves. Just like you. It’s funny though. Us RA patients, we’re so used to being uncomfortable. In our bodies, from the physical pain. Uncontrollable, random, hovering always, threatening to ruin everything. I’m okay with being uncomfortable, at least more than most. I can sit with it. Acknowledge its existence. Unpack it and learn from it. But I tend to forget that not every RA patient, not every white person, is as seemingly capable or as comfortable nor as empathetic. This is a disease inside of us, destroying us from inside out. We pursue treatments to help ourselves and curb its destruction. We’ve got options available and we doggedly pursue obtaining them because we want to stop the disease, the destruction, the whole process destroying us from inside out.

But what happens when we don’t have options? Or when those in power over our access (insurance companies or government agencies, laws, etc.) stand in our way? We want to fight them. Make them listen. Get them to help us now. NOW. Not tomorrow. There might not be a tomorrow. It hurts so much. Well, what if they didn’t listen? Didn’t care? Negated and rejected us, our needs, our right to be comfortable in our bodies, our skin, at every fucking turn? And not just once, but repeatedly. Day after day. Environment after environment. Situation after situation. Generation after generation. 

Would you be calm, content to play by their rules all the time, even after having learned already that they don’t fucking listen, they don’t fucking care…just another body, another annoyance, something to reject. The little rules and policies that work for them will never work for you, because it’s designed that way. Designed to work against you. Designed to destroy you from inside out, a constant state of inflammation, burning and eating you up until there’s nothing left but desperate rage to be heard, to live, to be valid in the eyes and hearts of them all.

They want to destroy you. But you don’t want to be destroyed. You want it to stop. You want to live, to breathe. But you can’t breathe. Not anymore. You can’t hold that fire burning inside you, burning up all of your oxygen. Not anymore. You can’t let it destroy you ANYMORE. So you take the fire burning inside and burn it out through your body into the world, onto what they care about. Things, not people. Appearances, not humanity. Stores and their facades. Image and privilege on a pedestal. 

So when you judge their riotous behavior, you judge their right to be so justifiably enraged by how society is specifically designed to mistreat them in life, day after fucking day. Generation after generation. 

You expect people fighting for their lives to do so politely? Fuck off with that bullshit. So many Black lives have been destroyed. All killed simply for existing. Beating hearts slaughtered over and over, day after year after generation.

Burn that whole motherfucker down.

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