Oh bondage! Up yours!

June 19, 2018

Do you remember 2018? June was probably the worst month. Women who’d felt disenfranchised by Trump were finally awakening and seeing what was happening as refugees were maltreated. And they started using Nazis and the Holocaust as an analogy to the worst thing they were aware of in history. Because it was the only one they were actually taught about.

That summer, I got angrier and angrier as women who’d always thought they lived in the land of the free just wanted to help those defenseless brown babies but had never questioned how so many aspects of their comfortable lives rested on the harm done to these brown babies, but also black babies, and all their older siblings and families. In the U.S. AND around the world. I was getting really sick of women wanting to help cute kids because they were cute.

And I kept repeating over and over until I was blue in the face that Trump demonized refugees as gang members and then was going about the best way to ensure these traumatized children would grow up with no community, no social capital and anti-social behaviors. Basically, he wanted to make gang members out of children.

I actually had to leave the state of Arizona for a month in August 2018 to get away from it because I couldn’t take the willful ignorance and blatant hypocrisy. No one with privilege gets to claim they’re naive and then *keep* claiming to be naive once they’ve seen this for themselves. No one gets to knit a pussy hat and march and hug and post to Instagram about how tough they are and then go home and do abso-fucking-lutely-nothing.

Meanwhile, AMLO had just won the presidential election in Mexico and I foresaw nothing but bad up ahead. A crisis, borders closing, life stopping, autocratic powers manipulating situations to cement their grasp on power. And even more human suffering. It wasn’t a conscious process. I actually saw flashes in my head of how it would look. I had to get away. I was climbing up the walls with anxiety that wasn’t borne of anything going on in my immediate life. I was tuning into all the white noise. And with tiny adjustments on the dial, I could hear and see all sorts of potential outcomes I didn’t feel safe to discuss with anyone.

Going to NYC gave me enough distance and distraction to clear my head and make a plan to get out of Arizona. It wasn’t as if I were some secret repository of historical injustice. I didn’t download some master file that pointed out how the system works. It wasn’t an easy path to knowing really terrible truths. I’m an autodidact. Most of what I learned came from watching HBO. Seeing Dick Cavett’s show. Learning about the outside world. Reading books. Seeking out professors who would challenge me. It requires caring and then following through.

I’ve only ever met a couple other women from my culture who were able to do this–break free from the “shackles” of comfort–so I know how rare it is and how much societal pressure there was fighting against us. But I don’t excuse my contemporaries. If I could learn this stuff and live by what I’d learned, everybody around me was capable of it as well. That they chose only to see what was convenient was exactly that: a choice.

Now it’s 2020. And the Holocaust and Naziism aren’t just analogies. We don’t need to reach back for analogies. Meanwhile, Trump and ilk have not only embraced the analogies, they’re showing their actual white power agenda in the open, on FB.

How many times did well-meaning women talk themselves down from confronting racist friends and family? How many times did women capitulate because they didn’t want to come off as inflammatory or controversial?

How many times did well-meaning women binge watch The Handmaid’s Tale while telling their more in-the-know progressive friends that we were being alarmist and irrational?

How many WOC with actual backgrounds in these very issues have been shouted down by the more “sensible”, “level-headed” women in the room?

We’ve been trying to tell everyone this day would come. But you weren’t ready. Are you ready now? Or will your sudden wokeness be replaced at the sight of a first fallen leaf and the reintroduction of Pumpkin Spice Lattes at Starbucks? Have you really grown, or is this just your current entertainment?

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