In the fight for Racial Equity in the USA, we gotta VERB:
from the perspective of one white man storyteller attempting to live in the Work.
Merriam-Webster defines the word verbs as, “words that show an action… almost every sentence requires a verb.” I am a classically-trained Theatre artist, and have been a professional Actor and Theatre/ Drama Educator for almost 14 years now — and in the world of the Performing Arts, verbs (or “Tactics”) are crucial to the story, in that they are the crux of a performer/ character achieving their goals and objectives. Plotting these elements out is the vital work that any actor must do in order to achieve the most honest and compelling portrayal possible, and ensure that the audience is viscerally affected by the story’s arc. And lemme tell you: this objective-tactic [home]work is often not fun and unsexy, and can even be a downright slog. But the very humanity of the story being told depends on it…
Which leads me to my main thesis: Right now, this very minute, our nation’s primary objective should be Racial Equity at a systemic level. Because, fam, our people are getting murdered publicly and the authorities (those who’ve vowed to serve us!) are trying to convince it ain’t so. I call BS. So now, we the people really gotta do like us Actors do, and kick our VERBS into high gear, so that we can tackle our should-be primary objective boldly and head-on. Let’s do the Work! The kind of Work that ain’t fun. The kind that is often scary. And hey - if you’re scared of the Work, that is okay. The great white machine has intentionally withheld the knowledge, habits, tools, and resources necessary to tear down and reconstruct a society wherein ALL its inhabitants receive the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness they are promised in this nation’s sacred documents. The time for drinking the “dead white guy” Kool-Aid must be past us, my fellow Americans (especially for those of us who come from a life of grandiose privilege). I hope you see that, or at least feel it in your bones…
The reason I present the above image is due to the fact that, although this pandemic we’ve been hiding from in our houses (hopefully — and wear a mask in public, dammit!) for the past few+ months presents no inherent bias in its conquest, at least not from the virus’ point of view, it has been systematically (and predictably, if you’re tuned in) revealing the supremely biased and inequitable foundations of a morbidly westernized USA culture erected by colonizers. Colonization, colonialism, genocide tactics, gentrification, redlining, and perhaps the grandest lie ever concocted: white supremacy — have all led us to this grand stage of inequity, inequality (please look up the difference between the two!), cultural imbalance, and crimes against BIPOC’s humanity, which the hyper-massive spread of COVID-19 (and ALL events that have occurred since) have shone a big, hot, white spotlight on…
Black Americans dying of Covid-19 at three times the rate of white people
The racial wound at the center of the coronavirus pandemic in the US continues to fester, with latest data showing that…
“This article is more than one month old.” Yes indeed, folx… this is not new news. Nor is it fake news. But, my god, if all the news that has pummeled our nation over the past month alone hasn’t shed light on the above statements for you (hopefully #blacklivesmatter, #nojusticenopeace, #defundthepolice are ringing some bells), then I’m at a bit of a loss, quite frankly. If this info is brand-new news for you, well then, I fiercely recommend you switch to caffeinated and promptly wake UP! Please pardon my tone of speech here, but as I headlined in my “pump-up” video at the top, the “time for nice” is way over — and I trust you to apply that message to your own lived experience, and crawl/ walk/ run Forward with it how you will. Let me repeat, most humbly: I Trust You. And I sincerely hope you Take Action with this trust. Because members of our BIPOC community (perhaps even within your very own social circle) would really like to trust you as well, I am certain.
The resources for our traditionally oppressed communities are not available, never have been, and those “citizens” with the most power/ authority in the US would rather see hundreds, thousands of BIPOC, poor people, disabled people, and advocates for these perpetually marginalized populations die horrible deaths than step foot toward any sort of equitable progress (see: the brutal treatment of peaceful BLM protestors for anecdotal proof of this fact; Also see: the public lynchings of Black citizens are happening RIGHT NOW). Our white (because “Caucasian” ain’t ours, y’all — look that up) forefathers truly did teach us how to hate the “Other” more than to love ourselves — it is perhaps the single most powerful of the legacies they left to us in a will and testament signed with bad blood… which still runs through the veins of our “great” nation. If you believe in the science of Epigenetics, then this legacy runs through my blood as well. I implicate myself in the internalized racism complex and the systems of severe bias that our nation was founded upon… as “pioneers” violently and rapidly stole the land from Indigenous and First Nation tribespeople.
My paternal lineage contains some of the first Pilgrims who landed here, as well as Robert E. Lee. That fact used to be a big ol’ badge of honor worn by me in grade school. I no longer wear that badge; I melted it with fire. But the blood of these people, and their fire-eyed ferocity, still runs through my veins. I get hot in the face from it sometimes. What was once a source of [white] pride mutated into [white] guilt… and then, it grew, blossomed, transformed into a sense of [white] RESPONSIBILITY. I have a responsibility to learn from the atrocious deeds of my ancestors, and to leverage my pioneer-like aggression toward the unconditional loving of my people — all of ’em. My loved ones who are BIPOC and live in the grip of a fear that I cannot truly fathom. And so, my love must contain the need to fight — for their rights, liberties, happiness, and safety. For their very lives. And the lives of their children… and their children’s children. Our children. But, lemme say: The UNlearning process is a real one, my people. And it is a mother, my people. And mothers, as we know, are POWER-FULL. It is completely okay to be afraid of leaning into this Work. But I urge you, nay INVITE you with open arms, to let your fear make you fierce in the fight for Equity and Justice. For our nation’s collective humanity. For its very soul.
You (as well as all the mistakes you are bound to make) are welcome in this fight. You are NEEDED. “Dog eat dog” is for dead white guys. Empathetic and EQUITABLE practice are the Future, if we truly hope to have a future that thrives. We are One Nation, y’all (said the guy who loathes the pledge of allegiance)… so let’s take what we are learning right now, from this momentous and gouging time in our collective history, and carry the memory of how it felt into the near and distant future — expending more energy at building each other up and keeping each other lifted. Equity, Justice, and our Humanity depend on it. FORWARD. I hope to see you there…
Ps: It’s okay to feel a bit stuck, my fellow advocates for change — so please check out the invaluable resources gathered below, and Take Action. The movement Forward will require your presence and participation. “Ally is [also] a Verb.” So now, get yer VERB on…
- Read, Self-Educate, Sign, Write, Call, Donate:
blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/ (← LOTS of resources here!!)
https://crossculturalsolidarity.com/the-uprisings-of-2020/?fbclid=IwAR3G-B09UDC5vwvtSKWXr_4FJY_UnvmYCtcXY3R-hY40Ud1TKuavDow8QTo (← Lots more stuff, all in one place!!)
https://www.npr.org/2020/06/09/873375416/there-is-no-neutral-nice-white-people-can-still-be-complicit-in-a-racist-society (← A quick read, with some RAD resources attached for getting your Equity Advocate ball rolling, and tracking your own progress!)
‘1619’ Podcast limited series (It will shake you.) >> https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/23/podcasts/1619-podcast.html
- Engage in communal learning:
This amazing equity educator is one of the best in the west, IMHO. He is mentioned in the video above & I urge you to consider pursuing some further education with him. Check out his website and offerings! >> https://www.mrrconsulting.org/
No Justice, no Peace. Much Love, y’all. ~OB.