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Do You Remember?

Do You Remember?

Do you remember the summer of 2020? I do. 
I can still see the tanks rolling through the streets of downtown Reno, the tear gas, the rubber bullets. I remember the next morning when we all went outside to clean the spray paint off the walls and sweep up the broken glass. We all had different takes on what had happened the night before. We still don't agree. But the words of Kimberly Jones still ring true.
Here we are, nearly four years later, and it's as if we forgot why we metaphorically and literally set fire to everything, marched in the streets, Venmo'd that cash, bought the books, posted the black square. 
That racial reckoning was long overdue. What it took for us to get there was horrific. Perhaps that's why we've distanced ourselves from it. What could have been a revolution lost momentum when we (read: white people) decided that it was easier to go back to how things were in the before times.
Since our "awakening," corporations have cut DEI programs, perhaps because they were never committed to them in the first place. Diversifying our feeds didn't really do shit. There's a national movement to ban books and change curriculum, this time without pretending that we're doing anything but attempting to rewrite history. We still won't have real conversations about race because we don't want to make people (read: white men and women) uncomfortable. 
I wonder if, during Black History Month, we'll ever truly recognize George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and all of the other Black women and men whose murders forced us to look at ourselves and taught us things we didn't want to know and showed us what we didn't want to see. The truth is too difficult to face and the remedy too costly to the status quo. 
Anne Helen Peterson wrote this week that privileged white women with progressive politics are very much able to see injustice, but we all but refuse to give anything up to rectify that injustice. She continued, "What most reliably moves us to act is personal stakes, and the absence of them makes it easy for us to 'move on' from causes that other people have no choice but to engage every day of their lives. It can feel like white women are only in the fight when the fight is popular, easy, and without significant social or financial risk — and when they do join the fight, they want to be celebrated for it."
Here's the thing: The fight is never going to be easy, it's never going to end in our lifetimes, and you will never walk away from it fully intact. We, being white women (and I'm looking at you too, mens), need to own and accept this. We need to be willing to move through the world with discomfort and accept the personal consequences. We don't need to distance ourselves from discomfort and loss when, ultimately, it can support and enrich the collective and create a new culture. 
We have an opportunity to do this all year long, not just during Black History Month. What will you do today?


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