So, Charlottesville. You should know about this.
It’s no longer what we can do. We are now in a have-to-do place.
Below are some things you will do about it if you’re like me and can’t focus
because the world is terrible.
(If you’re interested in my rant/feelings on this, they’re at the bottom.)
What we can and have to do:
- Ask your parents how they feel about this. Especially if they are immigrants, like mine. My parents surprise the sh*t out of me every time we talk about modern politics. They didn’t have conversations like these with my grandparents. This is a step in the right direction.
- Ask your nieces, nephews, lil’ siblings, mentees, and anyone that looks up to you how they feel about this. Their life-long opinions and morals are being formed right mother-effing now, and I personally don’t always trust how their teachers, friends and Internetz feeds might be talking about it. Don’t tell them how to feel right away. Educate yourself on the facts first, and then just ask what they’ve heard. Please use the words “Nazis” and “terrorists.” Solid LA Times article on how to start, here.
- Bring it up at brunch with your chismosas. Disrupt a chill social moment and talk about something that matters for a change. Literally sip your mimosa and say, “So, what’s your guys’ take on what’s happening in Charlottesville?” Make it real for those who might be trying to ignore it. Be proud you’re the one that made things uncomfortable for everyone. Your closest friends can surprise the sh*t out of you, too.
- Donate. Whole list of Charlottesville programs in need, here. Or you can help pay the medical bills of two women ran over by a Nazi, here. Everyone speaks money, especially authority figures. Put yours where it matters. Put it where it hurts.
- If you want, look up local vigils, marches, protests near you here and here. It’s scary but healing to be around other people carrying the same rage, fear and hope as you. You don’t have to bring a sign. You don’t have to yell. You don’t have to post about it. Just be there, stay safe, and protect each other. The scared people there need to see you there, scared, too. You learn a lot and make each other strong.
What we don’t have to do:
- Electronically waterboard yourself with awfulness. This is what I am very guilty of: Laying in fetal in bed scrolling through IG/Twitter/FB, not-looking but not-not-looking for news and feeling The Apocalypse breathing down your neck. Literally hours this weekend. It’s cathartic but paralyzing. Only do this for long enough to feel rage in your bones; takes me about 3 minutes. Then lock your phone, cradle your new rage baby and thrust it into any of the above actions.
- Listen to your white friends talk about how they’re horrified and so not associated with people like this. Nah. If you are a person who could’ve walked through Charlottesville this weekend without fear of getting immediately assaulted or killed, you benefit from this protest. And if you hurt your white friends’ feelings telling them this, it’s also not your responsibility to make them feel better, or explain anything, or apologize. They have Google, too; our world is literally built to make white folks feel better. Your energy — and theirs — is needed to support those who are in danger. Also, find yourself some white allies who are aware of their privilege and responsibilities in this fight. I know and love a lot of them.
- Trust our given authority figures. Or opine about Trump. Stop wasting energy being “disappointed” in Trump and his whole cabinet. Virtually no one up there is interested in helping us. Understand this now and don’t waste your time being “shocked” or “enraged” about them anymore. Consider him a rabid ferret who learned English (badly). Put your energy towards talking to those around you. Put it towards creating, venting. Put it towards expressing your fear and supporting those who need help now. Put it towards resistance.
- Nothing. No longer a thing. Ever wonder what it was like to live ’round the time of the Civil Rights movement, the Holocaust? This is ours. Be someone your future kids can speak proudly of.
Scroll back up and do something.
If you care: How do I feel about it?
There are enough words out there for and by white folks and allies (duh), how they feel, what they should and shouldn’t do. My words are for my people.
Filipinos and Filipino-Americans: We are not exempt from what’s happening in Charlottesville.
Asians and Asian-Americans: We are not exempt.
“Woke” brown folks in “safe” liberal cities: We are not exempt.
Literally all non-white folks: Get your people, and remind them that they are not and never were exempt.
In the words of Valerie Castile, mother of black man Philando Castile slain for no mf reason: “When they get done with us, they’re coming for you and all of your babies.”
It’s easy to feel like this is a Trumpy White vs. Black, Jewish, Muslim and currently-vilified immigrants’ fight. It’s not. You might feel genuinely horrified by what’s going on, but that lowkey you’re not IN-in it and can ignore it a little. That’s your privilege talking, and it’s telling you lies.
We are privileged little buttholes to be pointing fingers from the seemingly safe, liberal-ass California. We are privileged little buttholes to be POC but not Black or Muslim; POC but sound white on the phone; oppressed, but no guns to our head today. This false sense of safety will not protect us when the torches come for us. Eventually, you’re gonna have to come out here and fight.
It’s okay to be outraged, tired, fearful; I get if you’re trying to “stay away” from it, because it’s a mess. But resisters in Charlottesville, Muslim people, Mexican people, immigrants, Black people, Trans people, Jewish people are forced to face the violence daily and don’t have the luxury of “staying away” from it. That’s about to be us real soon. That’s about to be YOU and YOUR loved ones.
They’re coming for us. They’ve BEEN here for us. Their torches mean to burn us, too. For god sake, stand up if only for your own selfish reasons of wanting to save your own ass and the asses of those you love. At least you’ll be standing. And I, and a lot of other folks, will be standing next to you, too.