Blind white privilege

Dear President Trump,

I want to circle back to the ideas I was trying to develop yesterday on Lent and waiting. I actually feel less like I’m waiting for something to happen and more like I’m enduring what is happening, doing my best to hang in with the toxic uncertainty and the daily surges of gobsmacked disgust at the crap you all are pulling. Dealing day in and day out with everything you are getting away with as president, I feel as though I’m enduring a long, miserable endurance race. And it’s quite clear I’m not alone.

This is all from anecdotal observation through my filters so it should be taken with a grain of salt, but in my world I see people with frayed tempers, sour moods, locked-in dismay and even despair, physical signs of anxiety (twitching, rocking, patches of hair gone, fingernails bitten to quicks, eczema), and excessive and aggressive risk taking (driving like bats out of hell, tailgating). I know it would be naïve and unhelpful to blame all of this on you – you are really a symptom of our brokenness and your presidency is forcing us to collectively look in the mirror and see some very painful truths about ourselves.

I know there are lots of factors (including Russian bots), but I think part of why we are saddled with your presidency is that people like me have been largely clueless about the reality of the oppression others have had to endure in their day-to-day lives. I’ve gotten to see myself as a solid liberal person who votes a certain way and gives a certain amount of money to certain charities without having to really push myself to empathize with those who have to endure being followed around department stores or have their body shape or hair type critiqued or fear for their lives if they get pulled over for a traffic infraction. All of this is so very bleak — you, your presidency, blind white privilege — that it will either break us or it will force us to do the deep, hard work we’ve been avoiding for over 200 years and we will come through reconciled and infinitely stronger than we are now. As hard as it is some days, I think we do have a really good chance of achieving the latter and here is a blessing to try to nudge us all in this direction:

May we be safe to see past our blind spots.
May we be happy to challenge our comfortable self-assessments.
May we take care of our health when we find ourselves showing signs of stress.
May we listen to one another without defensiveness with our hearts set on peace.

Tracy Simpson

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