The silver lining of long wait-lists for anti-racism workshops

Dear President Trump,

I didn’t put it quite this way, but yesterday I argued that we need to keep our eyes and ears trained on the robust strands of truth reported by Mueller and his team that all point to high crimes and misdemeanors well worthy of impeachment. I also reminded myself that we need to filter out the distracting cacophony and stay laser focused on what’s important here. It’s sort of like what people who have hearing aids have to do to adjust the devices so they can hear what they need to hear and not have the constant distraction of extraneous background noises. I understand this gets easier with time and practice, but it takes time and practice and a lot more effort than seems fair or right when all you want to do is be able to hear the meaningful stuff and not have it lost in a distressing blitz of noise. Sound familiar? I realize you are coming at it from the other side since you are the one doing your damnedest to keep the distressing, distracting blitz at full throttle, but I trust that you well understand what I’m talking about.

A sister strand of truths that we have to keep a firm hold of is your blatant effort to divide and conquer us along racial lines. I wanted to use the word “pernicious” because it speaks to the shityness of the harm you are inflicting, but because that word connotes harm effected with subtlety and nuance, it doesn’t fit the current situation well at all. No, despite your disingenuous denials, you have been and continue to be boldly out there with your racist, xenophobic dog whistles.

I’m not sure how I missed Eugene Robinson’s recent WP editorial spelling out how the 2020 election (assuming we have to go there to get you out) is really a referendum on racism, but I’m grateful that my mom had me circle back to it. The WP title is “We can’t pretend this is a normal election,” which is correct on so many critical levels. With regards to race and your race baiting, Robinson isn’t necessarily saying anything new or earth shattering, but his framing is incredibly compelling; he points out that those who support you because they want more conservative judges and tax cuts (etc.) cannot pick those issues a la carte, they must face (or be forced to face) the fact that they are supporting the whole nasty package of you if they support you, including your divisive racism.

About six months ago I signed up for a two-day workshop by the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond on dismantling systemic racism and the first day was yesterday. There’s already a lot that I’m processing in my introverted – need to chew it over and over in my head before really talking about it way – but one quite easy thing to tell you this morning is that prior to 2016, the Institute was holding about 10 such workshops across the country every month and since 2016 that number has jumped to 40 a month, every month. There are over 40 people enrolled in the one I am attending and there is another one happening at the same time here in Seattle, likely with another 40 people. Since I like doing easy math, I’m going to work out about how many people per year are exposed to these workshops; before 2016 the number would have been about 4,800 (10 x 12 x 40) where as now it’s 19,200 (40 x 12 x 40). There have been 31-ish months since you took office, which works out to nearly 50,000 people who have participated in one of these dismantling systemic racism workshops during that time. And there are long wait-lists for these workshops in most areas of the country.

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of other similar such organizations offering hundreds, if not thousands, of similar workshops. So, if there’s any silver lining to this situation at all, it’s that thousands of us, if not hundreds of thousands of us, are not sitting back idly letting your cynical, self-serving racism go unanswered.

May we all be safe from systemic racism.
May we all be willing to do our parts to make the above statement true.
May we see how crucial and urgent this work is for our collective health and well-being.
May we not be pacified by easy, quick fixes to this centuries old scourge.

Sincerely,
Tracy Simpson

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