Tired and Torched

August 16, 2017

The Acutal Factuals 

I’m the kind of person some of you would scoff at. I don’t watch much television news anymore, and I’m selective about the headlines I click on social media outlets. I don’t try to keep abreast of everything that’s happening in the world. For me, it’s too much. And I won’t even get started on the commentary that takes place among nameless, faceless trolls who have shown us well before last weekend that their tiki torches were ready. It’s interesting how a simple object can be turned into a symbol of hate. When I took a closer look at the design of the torches, my initial thoughts were that they looked like some kind of cultural piece, something created by people of color. Do your laziest research, and you’ll find that tiki culture is a weak bite off Polynesian art. It’s what many people today would consider to be cultural appropriation.

kon-tiki-tucsoncom.jpg
pastemagazine.com

When you mix tiki torches, white anger and social media, you get a recipe for entertaining danger. It’s difficult to look away when Twitter is exploding and your Facebook feed is offering photo after photo of the shame that is this nation right now. And in 2017 we no longer have to wait for fireside chats or press conferences to know the hearts of our elected officials. We wait for their tweets. We follow them, and we hear what they’re saying and we hear what they aren’t saying, too. And it’s left us tired, frankly.

Rest for the Woke

The recurring theme I see in social media is one of exhaustion among people of color. Telling hasn’t worked. Educating hasn’t worked. Begging hasn’t worked. Pleading hasn’t worked. Protesting violently hasn’t worked. Protesting silently hasn’t worked. We’ve discovered that changing the minds of people who choose to hate is impossible, even as we look to a world that is becoming a multiracial society. The same white men who marched with tiki torches are likely to become the biological grandfathers to brown babies. Their actions are harmful to their own legacies. But when you’ve decided to hate, legacy becomes unimportant.

If you’re tired, it’s okay. You don’t have to argue with trolls or put people in their places, unless you want to. In no way do I suggest that you unwillingly commit to silence. Fight, if you must. But for those who are weary, and prefer to retreat at this time, do it. Hate will still be here in the morning, just as much as love will be. You need to rest. You need to sleep. You need to forget about fear for a moment. Your life depends on it. Now is a critical time for white allies to step in and do the heavy lifting. They should challenge friends, relatives, and coworkers. It will not be easy. If it were, we wouldn’t be in this predicament right now.

‘But, I thought this blog was about caregiving. Not race.’

The social construct of race affects every system that exists in this country, including our employment, housing, education and healthcare. And these are all systems that work in concert to help you win or lose your caregiving battles. Race determines, to a large extent, where you live and the quality of your health. You may be more likely to need caregiver support services and support simply because of racial and economic disparities where you live. It’s the big white elephant with green polka dots that no one wants to talk about. But it’s starting to stink, and someone is going to have to clean it up. And black people are just to tired to do it.

And that’s okay.

Take Care,

D. Southern

 

 

 

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