Progress is not the same as finished

Dear President Trump,

I’m going back to the dead, rootless tree that fell over a few blocks from my house to elaborate on the analogy I’ve drawn between it and the death of white patriarchy. Now that bushes, trees, and flowers are fully leafed out and in bloom it’s hard to see the dead tree unless you are directly facing it from across the street or right there on the adjacent sidewalk. From more oblique angles it looks as though it’s been hauled off, or if one didn’t know better, that it was never there.

My running route goes East past the tree across the street and then North a few blocks and then doubles back South and turns West back up on the other side of the street past the tree on the sidewalk right by it. In the few minutes it took me to go past the tree the first time to when I was heading back up the street towards it, I found myself thinking how it had become invisible and maybe really was gone. I knew it wasn’t – there was no way someone hauled it off at 6:30 in the morning in less than 10 minutes – but not being able to see if for all the greenery and lushness around it was disorienting.

So, where am I going with this convoluted analogy? Well, it seems to me that when things were stark and it was abundantly clear that women and people of color were confined to very restricted support roles and menial labor, the centrality and dominion of white patriarchy was obvious to most people of color and to a lot of white women (not so much to white men, though). Now, however, in a time when many women and people of color have managed to succeed in gaining higher education, powerful jobs, and influence, it can be tempting to say talking about gender and race politics and inequality is unnecessary, a waste of time – can’t we just move on, already!? What I’m saying is that the achievements and progress we’ve made towards equality are like the leafed out bushes and trees and blooming flowers surrounding the felled tree; positive signs of growth and life, yes, but the dead tree is still there and it absolutely must be reckoned with.

May we be safe to keep working at eradicating the vestiges of white patriarchy.
May we all be happy about the progress we’ve made and about not settling for half measures.
May we be clear that we are all healthiest if everyone is cared for and valued equally.
May we grasp that a critical cornerstone of peace is equality.

Tracy Simpson

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