I’m grateful for this less visible part of my privilege:
Most of my life I’ve spent loving and standing with people as we demand the state do better.
I grew up in a white lesbian/activist enclave of a mostly black neighbourhood.
This isn’t an uncomplicated scenario, and I’m grateful for parents who mostly could and did speak of the complexity.
As a child, we marched at night for safety for women.
Early learning from my mother’s kitchen:
It takes four cops to move one person, if that person can stay released and keep their passive weight.
There were plenty of situations in which being arrested meant you were on the right side.
And the other learnings of the time…
That cops would be nice to me because I was a white boy. And that the black kids in the neighbourhood would be treated differently.
That saying, “It’s not worth it” was the best way to talk myself out of any trouble. “It” being literal or abstracted state violence. State violence that would, no doubt, be on my side. And I’d learned the black kids in the neighbourhood would know what I mean.
I was much more scared of the groups of South End White kids who they knew could get away with it.
I’m not sure if that was before or after we followed the Donald Marshall Inquiry that laid bare the corruption and racism of the NS legal system. If there had been doubt.
Or before we explicitly talked about the the endless racial profiling and white supremacy enacted by Halifax police, businesses, city planners and citizens that started before I was born and continues now.
To write about this privilege is to risk bragging about having “good parents” / being the “good one”
Which is not how I feel about it.
Mostly I need to process my rage and contempt (neither helpful) at those folk surprised; my disgust and hopelessness at the self-preserving gas lighting of institutions; my self-hatred for not being a good enough activist/community organizer/human; my desire to disappear to create space (also not helpful to me or the world.)
This is my work. And I’m terrible at it. Alone.
As, I suspect, are most of us. Alone.