Such A Bummer

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I remember feeling like…a bummer.  Like I was just one big bummer.  A social pariah, she-who-would-not-be-named.  People would avert their eyes, shift nervously on their feet.  Toddlers would be snatched away and I’d hear hissed whispers, “don’t stare!”

It didn’t matter that I had tastefully applied make-up, or that I was dressed in a cute outfit or even that I was smiling and projecting all of the “NOT SICK!!” vibes one could muster under the circumstances.  The fact is, if I went out of the house bald (or even in a head-scarf but still, obviously, without hair) I? Was a bummer.  And since everybody knows that sadness is contagious (even if cancer isn’t), it was best, most strangers felt, to just look away.  Before they caught the feelings.

BEGONE, YOU BUMMER.  STOP UNEXPECTEDLY BUMMING US OUT WITH YOUR LIFE.

The ultimate problem with being a bummer is that you are powerless to fix it.  You did not ask to be a bummer, you certainly didn’t want the bummer situation forced upon you, yet here you are.  Even worse?  When you go home, when you are all alone…you still have bummer status.  The other people – the Not Bummers – have made their minds up.  They have decided that you are a bummer.  Regardless of what you say or how much you smile or whether you are actually enjoying your life.  Your presence in the world, out among strangers is still – very much – a bummer.

Friends and family obviously treated me very differently than the strangers on the street.  But it was because they knew me – I was Shana first, Bummer second.  But when out in public, surrounded by strangers, I had no other identify other than…Bummer. 

I get it, though.  I knew that the averted eyes and uncomfortable shifting had more to do with them, with their fears and their emotions, then it had to do with me.  That looking at me made people…uncomfortable.  Perhaps they were reminded of their own mortality?  Or maybe it was just upsetting to see someone as young as I, a new mom, fighting cancer.  I get that.

Luckily for them, however, they could simply look away until – poof! – the bummer (me) had passed.    Phew! A close one.

I am reminded of this story a lot lately.  Especially when I read through the comments on our social media pages, the pleas of the pretty and white, the desperately positive love & lighters, the ‘stay in your lane’ folks…those who remain unaffected by The Ultimate Bummer (hint: racism, but said in a whisper), with their “see both sides” and “common grounds”…

What I’m really hearing them say is “BUMMER, BEGONE!”  

And I get it.  Confronting the fact that we – us white people – have contributed to upholding racism in our society through a lifetime of inaction is, in fact, a big ol’ bummer.  

At a high level, though, I don’t have an issue with positive thinking or working to find common ground.  But there’s something about choosing to focus on positivity and common ground now, in the context of What Is Actually Happening In Our Country that leaves me feeling…itchy.

Do I want to focus on common ground with people who won’t acknowledge that white supremacy is the biggest threat our democracy has ever faced?  People who obstinately refuse to see that there’s a huge difference between fighting for equality and fighting for the right to continue to oppress?  I’m sure we do have common ground – I, for example, like the color blue – turquoise especially – and I’m sure they do, too.  But I’m not sure Team Turquoise would be particularly helpful right now.  

We have a president who fanned the flames of insurrection, using phrases like “You’ll never take back our country with weakness!” And “Fight like hell” – a mere two hours before that same angry mob stormed into The Capitol Building, threatening the lives of our government officials within.

They built a gallows outside, for pete’s sake.  With a noose.

And when the mob reached the door of the building, breaking windows as they went, the police on duty just…opened the doors for them.  Joked.  Took selfies. 

Now, I get that some police officers – maybe – were overwhelmed and just trying to survive.  I get that.  I’m not pointing a finger at any one person’s response to what was very clearly a volatile situation.  My issue here is that this entire circus was the most blatant display of white privilege I’ve ever seen.  

If that angry, violent mob had been Black…what do you think would have happened?  If that mob had been Muslim, what do you think would have happened? 

These are, of course, silly questions.  We know exactly what would’ve happened:  They would’ve been shot and/or arrested.  Police and National Guard forces would’ve descended in droves.

I know, I know.  Hypocrisy is a bummer (there I go again).

But it strikes me that we – as white people – should be deeply uncomfortable right now.  We should be deeply uncomfortable because there are many white people in this country (maybe even members of my Team Turquoise) who care more about their own supremacy – as evidenced by the number of confederate flags and anti-Semitic t-shirts – than they do about democracy.  

That fact is terrifying.  

What common ground should we seek, then?  With those that support the traitorous president, attempting to over-throw our democracy? What do I do with cries of “see both sides” from people who don’t seem nearly angry enough over the decades of violence and death done to Black and Brown people?

These cries for “both sides” and “common ground” strike me as a distraction.  A distraction from the very uncomfortable truth – and blatant display – of our country’s white supremacy. A distraction from the hard work that desperately needs to be done.  Us white people have been far more comfortable hiding behind a superiority complex of manners and irresponsible positivity than we are at taking a real, hard, honest look at our country. We’re too quick to treat those with anger or pain as Bummers and turn away, lest they infect our lives. BEGONE, YOU BUMMER.

I don’t have any answers.  But I think…I think our only way out of this mess is with truth.  We cannot fix a problem we cannot see, we cannot fix a problem we refuse to face.

Somehow, we must find the courage to face the truth of our country’s terrible history, the truth of our racist past and present.  We must find the courage to face it and teach it, over and over…and have hope that – eventually – the rest of Team Turquoise will join us. That is the only sort of positive thinking I can entertain right now. The future of our country is at stake.

I know, I know.  

Such a bummer.

74 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you for not backing down. If the various “stay in your lane” comments that constantly appear whenever you hold the line and express your convictions are any indication, they are NOT, in fact, “unfollowing,” and maybe one day they’ll read something here that cracks their hard exteriors open.

  2. You are not a bummer. You are refusing to back down and ignore a white supremacist insurrection – sanctioned by our president – just because the pretty, white, and privileged don’t want to acknowledge that it’s happening. And that is ESSENTIAL right now. It is ESSENTIAL that we not back down and ignore. Thank you for not doing that, and thank you for standing up for our Black and Brown folks. Thank you.

  3. Whew! I was afraid that you were about to segue into telling us you’ve had a cancer recurrence. I mean, not that a personal cancer dx and white supremacy belong in the same category. They are both awful and soul shattering and we need to eradicate both, and I would never want to rank them against each other. But I’m glad it wasn’t cancer.

    And yes. I once trained in and taught a style of yoga that was so relentlessly focused on love and light that people went out of their way to ignore the darkness that was a huge sexual and financial scandal perpetrated by the guy at the top. So I consider the love and light strategy to actually be quite toxic, and definitely a distraction, a willful denial of reality. You’ve got to know what the exact cancer is before you can know the right approach to curing it. You have to be willing to see it and name it. Thank you for doing that.

  4. Yes, yes, yes! I appreciate so much how you can articulate so well what has happened and what needs to happen. Hoping others can recognize the truth and eventually things will change. Thank you.

  5. Thank you for writing this. You’ve put into words what I’ve been struggling to express to too many people around me. I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t more than a little surprised to find deep reflection and truth when looking for a distraction from lesson planning (even if I have followed you for years and maybe should have known better). As one of my high school juniors said in response to their classmate’s neutrality, this _is_ who we are. It’s time to finally do something about it.

  6. Thank you, Shana. I was glad President-Elect Biden spoke on that horrific day, and I agreed with much of what he said, particularly when he directly told Trump to step up, but when he said, “This is not who we are as Americans,” and that there’s never been anything we can’t do, I felt angry and sad, both, instantly. It took me some time to figure out why. It is what you put into words here—while I know what he was getting at, to me, his statement simply incorrect at best—ignorant and emptily positive-vibes at worst. Because … this IS who we are. In a number of very ugly, very horrifying ways. This is who we have been for FAR too long. And while it’s accurate to say this is light years from what we should be, to me his statement communicated, “This is a tiny sector of strange, violent, out-there fringe people, and this was a one-off incident that’s tragic. But now? We can forget this happened and just go back to being super-awesome Americans and they aren’t us over here.” And if we continue saying “This is not who we are,” then we continue to turn away from the ugly and horrifying truth and our responsibility to it and to our Black and Brown brothers and sisters.

  7. Thank you for sharing. If we aren’t uncomfortable, then we aren’t growing. Embrace the bummer and accept responsibility for it. It is the only way out of this.

  8. Hello Shana: Many white people are acutely aware of the impact of racism and “white privilege” in our country and society. Not just from a historical, sociological, and political perspective, but from a personal one. Many white people- Democrats, Republicans, and anywhere on the spectrum- know and see the effects of this problem on a daily basis in our jobs or home communities, and did not need to see some of the disturbing and sad images we saw earlier this week to validate or learn that it exists. This is a major problem- there is no denying it. Sadly, I think we all can agree that racism is alive and well in America and has been for hundreds of years. It was rampant well before Donald Trump became President, and will be rampant well after.

    But this is also where some of your readers may take issue. You talk about “What Is Happening In Our Country” now as if it is new. It is most definitely not. Atrocities against the minority communities, and white power protests/rallies, were happening during the Obama administration, Bush administration, Clinton administration, down the line throughout our history to the very beginning. Many argue that Donald Trump is a catalyst and instigator for white supremacy, and while this may ring true for many, for you: did you devote this level of energy and passion about white supremacy and white privilege on your blog back in 2014 after Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson, MO? Or when Eric Garner was killed in New York City? Or is it more personal and relevant now because of your, and many people’s, disdain for the person that was elected president in 2016? That is partly where I think your rhetoric causes issue for some of your readers- where was this in your blog before Trump ever came into the picture?

    Focusing on finding common ground and moving toward positivity has, and will, always be a need. And advocating “seeing both sides” does not mean that you are not angry and appalled at the violence afflicted upon the minority community since our country’s inception. Your argument that it does is actually a bit insulting and prejudicial, and likewise promotes a “your either with us or against us” mentality. The assumption (it would appear) is that every person that voted for Trump in 2016 or 2020 voted for preserving racism and rubber stamping white supremacy. For those I know personally who voted for Trump, that could not be further from the truth. This country is so divided- and it always has been. As unpopular as this will be to point out, Trump didn’t start this fire; many will understandably argue he didn’t help to extinguish it, but it certainly won’t be out after he’s gone. If I have to speak in terms of sides Shana, there are a lot of people who voted for Trump that absolutely acknowledge the existence of white supremacy and white privilege and DO want to work on it.

    It is your opinion that white supremacy is the biggest threat that our democracy has ever faced. I don’t dispute that threat by any account, and 100% agree that a lot of work needs to be done. But to categorize it as THE biggest threat our democracy has faced in the 200+ years of our existence is not unilaterally shared by all. There are many, for example, that would argue that the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, or 9/11, was a much greater threat to our democracy and nation. I sincerely absolutely respect your dedication to bringing awareness of this issue to the forefront. That said, just because your neighbor may not see it as “the” biggest threat ever doesn’t mean they don’t see it at all. Thanks for listening.

    P.S. as for the “stay in your own lane” thing: I think you have developed an excellent blog, with great contributors and fun fashion advice and topics. Some people watch Real Housewives, some eat Dairy Queen blizzards, and some- like myself- have done all of those but also come to your blog as a reprieve from everything mentioned above… we work in challenging environments and witness these very issues, and their fallout, first-hand…. it’s a mental break. I’m not saying you shouldn’t share your opinions- just perhaps that is maybe what some of your readers mean as well. Thanks for what you do. Take care.

    • Tish – THANK YOU for this comment. You bring up some really good freaking points. Where was I in 2014? Yup – happily thinking that we were MUCH farther along than we evidently are. The election of 2016 was (embarrassingly) an awakening for myself, as well. You are so right: Trump didn’t usher in racism, it was already here. And will be here much longer than Trump. Which is why I think it is more important than ever to continue these discussions in an online public square like this (for lack of a better term).

      I think part of what needs to happen next (and I might just be talking about myself – these next thoughts are not well-formulated by any means) is a better understanding of why a guy like Trump was able to garner so much support in this country. I think we need to take a hard look at the ever-growing divides between the haves and have-nots, the role that globalization plays (this was a Clinton thing, I know), and have a think about how/why our immigration policy became so political, and how to get out of that mess.

      Anyway, thank you – so much – for taking the time to write this thoughtful and thought-provoking comment. It’s much appreciated, and a necessary piece as we move forward.

  9. This is the most important post you have ever written. Thank you for explaining what many are feeling so eloquently. Thank you.

  10. You know Tish….I get it!! Being a black woman I have enjoyed this blog for quite some time and I have been glad for the postivity after the Black Lives Matter summer we had. As I read your comment I 100% agree with you. I get that this enlightenment could have happened earlier but honestly I will take it at whatever time it comes, be it today, yesterday or next week.

  11. Thank you Shana for always, so eloquently, putting into words exactly what I need to hear. Please keep up this work, as I know you will! As for Tish’s comments- thank you too for rationally and eloquently offering a look at “the other side”. What I find so disturbing is how clearly and openly this president (uggh, I use the term so loosely) uses his power and influence to fan the flames of racism. HE and his cronies have made racism and white supremacy safe. Where he could be doing so much good he continues to choose evil and hate.

  12. Thank you so much for saying this message — I hope the people who really needed to hear it read the entire thing. We ALL need to be in the lanes of justice, equality, love and peace. SO GOOD. THANK YOU THANK YOU!

  13. Thank you for saying this. Thank you for using your platform to address more than just clothes and shopping. Thank you for not staying in “your lane.” This is too important to ignore, and I love that you have written so much about it.

  14. Well Said ! Shana please take note of this insightful , educated well written expression of your post ! Thank you Kerri-Lynn !

  15. Thank you for putting into words, again, some of the things I’m feeling. It’s frustrating to feel like no matter what happens, people find excuses and always look to the other side to say they did the same thing. My favorite thought from above, the most important I think, is that protests for BLM are to fight oppression, this protest was to preserve it. There is right and wrong, we are about freedom in this country, not just about it but built upon it. For all. It shouldn’t be a grey issue, it’s black and white. We need to be disturbed and talk about it. I’m not great at that so thank you for writing about it.

  16. Thank you for your insightful educated post ! Well said ! Shana please take note, become educated in the history of racism in our country and don’t confuse your dislike for for the current President with the issues that have plagued our country since its inception. I suggest you create a separate blog for your political views. As Tish has implied many of your followers are here for a reprieve, not to have political discussions. The fashion & sales is what drives your blog.

  17. I believe you are welcome to exit this lane and find another. Shana has the right to use her blog for whatever platform she’d like. And to address your comment about Trump not starting this, he sure has done nothing to change it.

  18. A Bummer= An agent of change. To avoid change is to avoid the inevitable and it is presumptive to think that a person, or a blog for that matter, continues on in the same manner day to day or year to year unchanged. Shana, dont ever stop advocating and evolving. Both are cornerstones of modern civilization and the survival of democracy.

  19. Tipping my imaginary hat and raising my coffee mug to you this morning. These events and the people taking in place in these events reminds me of the Dunning-Kruger Effect: a cognitive bias of illusory superiority that comes from people’s inability to recognize their lack of ability. Basically, you don’t know what you don’t know as well as overestimating what you do know. And, according to the researchers, “the trouble with ignorance is that it can feel just like expertise”…troubling indeed.

  20. Here, here, Shana! Thank you. This feels like an antidote to all the gaslighting. I can hold compassion and anger simultaneously. As a therapist once told me, anger is a healthy response to observed injustice. It spurs us to act.

    As for the critics, I don’t expect to find a “mental break” from the Internet. Might I suggest a walk, a jigsaw puzzle, or a good novel instead? Look for breaks that truly nourish instead of just distract. I also don’t expect content creators like Shana to be exactly what I want them to be. After all, I am not even paying a subscription to view TME content. Why is there so much entitlement around this? Finally, I commend Shana and anyone else for educating themselves on the history of race and racism in the U.S. We weren’t really taught this in school. I am a 37 yo white woman and can say that my awareness around this issue truly started in college/grad school and has continued to grow/evolve in the decade or so since. It’s not fair to criticize Shana for speaking out at all AND not speaking out earlier. She is taking seriously the request that more white people speak out instead of placing the burden on Black people to educate us about racism.

    P.S. We are talking about systemic racism here, not whether any individual Trump voter is or is not racist. And as we are seeing, a system of white supremacy ends up harming everyone.

    P.P.S. If you don’t think white supremacy is the biggest threat to democracy, may I also add misinformation? The former English teacher in me wants to give the whole country a lesson in information literacy.

  21. I really appreciated what you said about holding compassion and anger simultaneously. Yes!! I also agree that misinformation is a huge danger to democracy. When people don’t even try to discern whether the information they are hearing or seeing is true, don’t look for alternate sources of information, and hear the same coordinated messages on repeat…they can’t – literally CAN’T – believe that the summer protests were peaceful or that Biden legitimately won the election. Even when later faced with facts, they insist on the false claims they’ve been hearing and reading over a period of years. I know people who have just given up trying to figure out what’s true.

  22. I believe I’m part of Team Bummer and I’m glad to you are using your platform to speak up and out about white supremacy as the truth that exists in the country that our K-12 education has not told us about. I think we should ALL be feeling uncomfortable right now about racial inequity and be making noise, loud noise to get elected officials to change laws, training methods, educational standards, prevent environmental racism. As citizens, that’s how we can ensure change happens – by voicing our concerns and talking to each other.
    Resorting to only/mostly calls for “unity” is basically gaslighting and pandering to the white and/or fragile privilege parts of this nation. And I’m not white, but I might as well be given the privilege/ignorance I’ve enjoyed. I got to be quiet and watch the injustice play out. No more – not until things change structurally and we see more representation in our government.
    Our country and the state of our planet is the legacy we get to leave to our children. I’m definitely on Team Bummer. Our kids are watching.

  23. I’ve said it b before, and I’ll say it again: I may not buy the things listed on this blog, I enjoy the beautiful photography, but the reason I READ this blog is for the words. If it was only about the clothes, there would be only pictures, no words. But people want to hear the stories of the contributors’ lives. And you don’t get those without the ‘real world’ coming in.

    People don’t like to be told they’re wrong. They don’t like to be told to be quiet, to listen, to learn. And so they don’t wan t to be reminded of that. I get it. But the soothing pats on the back stopped when George Floyd was murdered. And if they didn’t want to hear it then, they sure don’t want to hear it now. But that’s on them, not on TME.

  24. lol, it’s Shana’s blog, she can do what she likes. She doesn’t have to create a separate blog. You can choose to leave or skip reading her essays.

    As far as ‘issues that have plagued our country since it’s inception’, that’s true about racism. But not the insurrection at the Capitol, which hasn’t happened since the War of 1812. The Confederate flag never entered the Capitol during the Civil War, but it did this week. Can’t blame those on ‘longstanding issues’. This insurrection was egged on by Trump, Giuliani, Trump Jr, Lin Wood and Sidney Powell, along with many Senators and Representatives. Pretending otherwise is not reality.

  25. I’ve been reading your blog since the ANMJ days, and while I have thoroughly enjoyed all of the years of great discussion of fashion and style, I have even more appreciated your openness and honesty in walking through the experience of realizing that racism in our country is very much a present tense problem at all levels. As a fellow white woman in her 40s who always thought of myself as aware and antiracist, I have been appalled to realize the depth of my ignorance and the extent of privilege that I didn’t realize was not universal. Thank you for sharing your journey in such a genuine fashion, it has been an encouragement to me and has provided the impetus to educate myself and my kids.

  26. Shana, I really admire you for speaking out, and for addressing this crisis so honestly and eloquently. My family has been horrified throughout the Trump presidency. It’s been four years of unfitness, injustice, corruption, and blatant violation of our democratic norms. And now it has reached the point where we have white militias, neonazi groups, and white nationalists storming our capital, waving confederacy flags, and yet still many white Americans are denying racism and white privilege. It’s insane, scary and disheartening, but reading your posts and seeing others speak out gives me hope.
    Have you read Caste by Isabel Wilkerson? I wish everyone in our country, adults and children alike, would read it.

  27. Elizabeth: Your comments are appreciated. That said, as a white woman with a graduate degree in counseling psychology who actually has learned about this in her masters program and has been practicing for over 20 years, it is not usually advisable to tell others- or imply judgment- on what they “should” be doing when they need to decompress. Being distracted by something superficial and fun (e.g. fashion)- albeit even briefly- is sometimes exactly what people need, especially in periods of high stress and conflict. While I do believe your intent was good, your response skewed judgmental and preachy. A large portion of Shana’s blog is devoted to fashion and it is done well. Visiting this “internet” site is really no different then buying an issue of Vogue or Glamour to relax and unwind. The current counselor in me would hope that no one feels ashamed or judged by their peers regarding their individual choices on how they spend any amount of free time.

  28. Thanks for having the courage and using your platform to address this most urgent issue as uncomfortable as it may be for us of white privilege.

  29. Thank you for posting this today & for not shying away from discussing some very hard topics. As a 48 year old white mom who is trying my hardest to recognize systemic racism & work to stop it, I appreciate knowing others are trying too. I live in the South so a lot of my “realizations” did not start until my late 20’s & beyond. My hope for my son & other kids & teens is that we discuss what’s been going on in this country for so very long and find ways to change it. We must bring it out into the open. Tish’s comments were helpful to me as well, so I thank her for sharing them. I must admit that I was blissfully ignorant of many problems within in our country before Trump was elected. I thought life was grand under Obama & felt “shocked” when Trump won. That was a wake up moment for me. I started to understand that things don’t change if I stay quiet or if I don’t start finding ways to participate more and help make changes. But, yes, I certainly wasn’t as concerned back then like I am now. May all of us who wish for change work together to make it happen.

  30. It’s certainly true that many white people could have, and should have, done more to combat racism and reject white supremacy at any time during our country’s history, including after (or before!) the killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

    Yet to call someone out for acting now, but not then, is nonsensical and imposes a purity test of perfection that no one can meet. Just because Shana has not publicly been a lifelong anti-racism activist (we don’t know what she was doing in her private life), doesn’t decrease the importance of what she has to say now. If anything, it shows that she has the courage to learn and grow. We all come to our realizations about social justice in our own time frames.

    Shana is not the person who has harmed the country.

    A sitting president called for and fomented insurrection. A sitting president sought to reject legally cast votes. A sitting president called for people to storm the Capitol, and their white skin protected them from getting shot, or even arrested, unlike Black people who are shot by police for sleeping, jogging, or sitting in their car. As a white woman, I have been at numerous peaceful protests where I have been treated more harshly by the police that the insurrectionists were. This is what we need to be talking about.

  31. Shana and Trish, it is exactly this kind of intelligent dialog where we each acknowledge the truth the other offers where we begin to navigate this maze. Reading, carefully considering, discussing and intentionally learning from the ideas and experiences of someone unlike me takes me places I could never go otherwise. Where before I refused to see my part in the problem making myself take in the first person accounts of others’ reality opened my eyes. It isn’t easy or fast but I’m convinced it’s the way through this maze.

  32. BRAVA, Shana! THANK YOU for continuing to address the hard stuff.

    The past week has been the most heartbreaking since 9/11 or the Oklahoma City bombing. I never thought we would be attacked for within, abetted and fomented by a sitting president. It’s definitely a bummer and we need to look at it squarely.

  33. Thank you for this. I am grateful for the example of using your privilege and platform, perhaps bumbling at times and needing to own it but pressing forward nonetheless, and for the content that adds to and spurs on the processing I’m doing myself.

  34. Thank you for being willing to step up and speak out, even if it makes you a bummer (and opening yourself up to being called much worse, probably). Your writing is one of the best ways I’ve seen these issues expressed– thoughtful, personal and direct.

  35. Though it should be obvious, thank you Shana for pointing it out explicitly. Women are not one-dimensional! We are agents of change, we are fierce warriors, and we see progress through a lens of compassion. We can also like a comfortable pair of jeans in which to rest our weary bums! Keep writing, keep speaking. It sounds like many of us are here for it.

  36. Yes. Yes. Yes. I will say that for me, you are the ONLY blog I follow. To those who say that fashion and sales drive your blog, that is 100% true. And it is why I stay here at TME.

    When I was scrolling the internet and read blogs that carried on with business as usual after January 6th, I had a pit in my stomach. Well let’s face it, I still do have a pit in my stomach as this is a scary time. However,I realized that any platform/business/blog who was not addressing this violent insurrection was one who I could no longer align myself. It didn’t feel aligned with who I am.

    Maybe you will lose some followers. However I believe you will maintain and gain many more. On your former post your last paragraph summed up what I appreciate about you and the entire team at TME. “The Mom Edit remains committed to a community of equality and justice. We are committed to continue our actively anti-racist work. We are committed to continuing to diversify our platform, and uplift Black and Brown voices and businesses.”

    Thank you for your thoughtfulness, dedication, and willingness to discuss these topics, to sit in the discomfort and to keep moving forward through it with all of us.

  37. Elizabeth- please read Tish’s response carefully and analytically. She was not “calling out” Shana for not responding to earlier acts of racism in our country, nor was she minimizing or trivializing her response to it now. I think she made it pretty clear she appreciates and believes in what Shana is saying. While I cannot speak for Tish, I believe her point was to demonstrate how some TME readers may take issue with how it was/is presented this blog- in light (or reference to) the Trump administration- when in fact it has been going on all along.

    Please take a moment to self examine your knee jerk, “rush to defense” reaction a little bit further. Nobody here- including Tish I would think- disagrees with the sentiments Shana has expressed. You are absolutely entitled to your opinion about Trump and how events unfolded last week, last summer and for that matter, the last four years. That, however, doesn’t change that this problem is much larger, much deeper and much older than Trump himself. The protesters at the Capital last week were there, at least initially, to protest the results of the election and as much as it dismays many to admit this, they had a right to do so. What ensued by some of those protesters was absolutely not acceptable- I think we can all agree on that. But I can guarantee you that those who demonstrated any inkling of ugly white supremacist beliefs, behaviors and attitudes on that day have felt that way long before Trump came into office. Trump didn’t ‘create’ those racists- they have been there, and among us, all along. Racist beliefs and attitudes run bone deep in America…. and that is the uphill battle this country, our society, faces. But, that effort absolutely must be made.

  38. Shana, thank you for creating a place & an opportunity for dialogue. Dialogue that enables growth individually and collectively – I am grateful.

  39. London, I encourage you to apply that same analytical rigor to your reading of Tish’s response, and consider your own rush to defend.

    Tish writes: “did you devote this level of energy and passion about white supremacy and white privilege on your blog back in 2014 after Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson, MO? Or when Eric Garner was killed in New York City?” This reads as a condemnation for not being publicly anti-racist earlier, as if current writing on the topic were nullified because it didn’t start much sooner.

    Many people are becoming more aware of the deeply racist history of our country because racism has been publicly stoked and encouraged in countless statements from the White House over the past four year. Racists have felt emboldened to act publicly as never before with encouragement from the administration. I have seen and experienced this in my own home town.

    Your argument seems to be that criticism of racists, and a presidency that has encouraged them, is not warranted because there have always been racists. Yes, there have always been racists and some (certainly not all) of our previous presidents have endeavored to show by policy and example that racism is wrong. To counter racism, we must have leadership from the top and the bottom.

    The right to peacefully protest is enshrined in the Constitution. There is no right to push past law enforcement officers to threaten members of Congress. There is no right to overturn state-certified ballots. There is certainly no right to kill law enforcement officers while seeking to overturn freely cast ballots.

  40. Shana, love this — and can I just say, that your first couple paragraphs describing how you felt in public really hit me. My 17-year-old son has alopecia universalis, meaning he has no hair anywhere on his body (including eyebrows, eyelashes, etc.) Being a boy, he’s not going to do makeup and wigs. He gets the stares, has dealt with it for 7 years now. Yes, everyone thinks he has cancer and I am sooooo thankful he does not. But it’s been a tough road for him.

    I know this is not the point of this post, but just had to thank you for sharing those feelings so perfectly.

  41. @Tish, Any Trump voter who thinks they weren’t endorsing white supremacy with their vote, whether in 2016 or 2020, is lying to themselves. We all saw who he was, starting with his racist birther conspiracy about President Obama (or, if you want to back up even further, when Donald and his dad refused to rent apartments to black people in the 70s) I don’t buy the too-generous economic anxiety angle that’s been trotted out countless times in op-eds since then either. What Wednesday made clear is that it is SOCIAL anxiety motivating a lot of these folks (translation: the loss of privileged status that white people have enjoyed for millennia). There will be no healing until Trump voters come to terms with the fact that they saw what he did and what he advocated, from the Muslim ban to the separation at the border of brown mothers and babies, and they voted for him anyway, because their tax bill or their 401K or abortion or whatever mattered more than treating minority folks like human beings. It’s hard to look in the mirror and see that ugliness, but there can be no path forward until a lot of people are willing to reckon with what that means.

  42. Thanks to Tish and Shana for the respectful thoughtful dialogue. I’m a reluctant trump voter and would love to elaborate with anyone on why.

    As to the coverage of current events this year, my primary frustration is two-fold: 1. how blind to history it is and 2. how quickly it devolved into segregating the black community. I cringe at all the ‘black’ categories that are being created as I can’t figure out how this isn’t offensive and setting us back.

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