I’m Tired of Your Racist Imagination
When I wrote media reviews, it was with the naivete of someone who’s been conditioned to assume the best in people. It was with the irrational belief that people couldn’t intend to cause harm. They couldn’t intend to marginalize people and they didn’t mean to silence folks. I genuinely believed that they wanted to be humane rather than cultural and sometimes actual cannibals of Black people and people of marginalized identities. I gave people the benefit of the doubt and truly thought that if I wrote enough about where they went wrong, someone would read it and change.
Then I realized that it is intentional. But it’s not enough to wake up to the intentionality of the violence. I had to believe that the violence of marginalization and erasure was intentional. It takes work to maintain that belief — we’re conditioned to think the malice was merely incidental. That it was a mistake. That if the intent wasn’t to be violent and cause harm, then it was merely an unfortunate but unintentional consequence. I doubted myself time and time again because the pain of living with the belief of intentional violence was so abhorrent that I convinced myself that I needed the lie. Every day it became harder to believe the lie, so hard that I often wished for death because who wants to navigate a booby-trapped life that had no happier ending in sight. Who wants to continue enduring the minefield of white violence that permeates every interaction with whiteness and white-controlled spaces? Who wants to continually choose the lesser violence to survive one more day of jack-in-the-box cruelty that whiteness cultivates and harvests from every fiber of my existence? Why would I choose that?
I remember learning about drugs as a child and wondering why anybody would choose that for themselves. I remember promising not to ever use them because that would cause harm. Now, I take anti-depressants to manage my screaming emotions and then top it off with Xanax to numb the pain. Is it addiction when it’s one of the few things keeping you alive? I don’t know. I do know that life without these chemical buffers is unsustainable. So, if my continued existence is the goal, these drugs are doing their jobs because sitting in the reality of this…