I am tired. Worn out, worn down, worn thin by stories of racialized abuse, bias, bullying, harassment, hatred, mistreatment, misplaced vindictiveness, the continued willful ignorance of the pain and suffering of persons socially colored other than white, the choice to not engage. Because it is more important to be our “race’s” keeper. It is hard to keep up with all the stories, to maintain the momentum of this message of racelessness some days. And maybe this is the point, to leave me in the dust. Sweat stinging my eyes, I am not crying.
This race against socially constructed evils is not for the swift but the steady. But, my voice is not steady. I am angry sometimes. My hands are not steady. They shake, hoping to free the words stuck to my fingers. Say something.
The machines of empire churn on and for every win, there is another battle to be fought, another argument to be had, another truth to be defended, protected, shielded. Lies are sore losers; they will get the victory by any means. So, don’t let down your guard, I say. Don’t stop talking. But, I am tired of standing guard, crying loud and holding nothing back.
My throat hurts. And they have heard this all before. The prophets have said this all before: You shall have no other gods before me– including yourself. Year after year, day after day, it is the war of words. Words versus words versus words versus words versus words versus words versus words versus words versus words versus words versus …
For every bridge built, there is another that is burned, destroyed, blocked with dead bodies. The hate piles on and so do the names. So many names, how can we ever get through to each other? It seems we will never get through this. Everyone is taking sides. How can we then get to the other side of this?
And the lies keep marching on. I can’t watch. It is hard to stay awake, to keep watch and pray. Consciousness is a choice. Looking on and looking away are the other options. See no evil.
I am tired of seeing these words in front of our humanity: beige, brown, black, red, yellow and white. This reduction of being, this re- creation of story: “In the beginning,” white people said. I am tired of this racialized relationship, these color codes of silence and violence, these hate cycles.
I am tired of the game of race: Anything you can do I can do better– because I am better by reason of skin. I am tired of the cyclical arguments of race, when we know where its going because we have been this way before. This is not our first run in with this reality, not our first rodeo, not the first time we have seen this elephant and managed to squeeze past it in the room or try to carry on with polite conversation as if it was not sitting on our chest, barely able to catch our breath. But, we kept right on talking to keep up the appearance of civility, of clean hands and professionalism.
Feigned ignorance, we choose not to blink, not to look. And even when we do see something, we don’t say anything. I am tired of the pretentiousness, of the excessive excuses, of the extraordinary lengths that we will travel to maintain this image and our covenant to protect whiteness. We will say anything to prove its innocence even though we are witnesses and perpetrators of its crimes. We will blame any body and other bodies, just so that whiteness is free.
We act as if there are no other words to describe our humanity. God- given or race- driven, we choose the former. Well, I know that I am not black, that race does not speak for me, that it leaves out all of my humanity. Stuffed with stereotypes, my skin labeled according to its prejudices, I would have no tongue or the language for which to construct an exit. And this is the strategy: Talk me out of my humanity and into a color.
But, I don’t see it race’s way and though I am tired today, I wouldn’t change a word. We are race-less.