i am seeing a whole lot of concern about the mental health of white people who are staying silent about ferguson, and virtually none (at least not from white folks) about the mental health of the residents of ferguson, and other black people who do not have the privilege to ever opt out of this…
can we not use cries of ableism to further perpetuate white supremacy
can we not use the concept of mental illness to obscure the fact that the vast majority of white people who are ignoring this are not doing so because they will be triggered, but because of deeply embedded antiblack racism and apathy that is ENDEMIC to the institution of white supremacy.
what these posts are accomplishing is allowing white people off the hook and telling them they don’t need to interrogate WHY they feel justified in ignoring all of this. these posts encourage white people to place their needs above those of black people.
it is one thing to be triggered - it is another altogether to feel anxious or upset. there is at least one post going around that is specifically targeting people who are triggered and that is not okay - but i’m not referring to that post. i’m referring to the rest of the posts which coddle white people and tell them it’s perfectly acceptable to avoid everything ferguson-related if it makes them anxious. guess what: IT’S NORMAL to feel anxious and upset about what’s happening! i’d be more suspicious of someone who isn’t extremely uncomfortable about what’s going on. that’s the fucking point.
by all means, do what you need to do, but stop hijacking posts about white apathy with your accusations of ableism. any conversations about mental health and ableism MUST center on the needs of the marginalized if they are to be useful in antiracist discourse; if you are only interested in protecting the mental health of the oppressors then congratulations, you are part of the problem.
note: do not under any circumstances use this post to hurt people with ptsd who need to blacklist violence for their own safety - that is NOT what this post is about.
you know, this post makes a lot of really good points and brings up a really important issue, but I’m having trouble really supporting it because I spent a good twenty minutes crying and suicidal last night after reading it.
It’s very much true that if you are avoiding awareness and discussion of racial issues and situations like Ferguson just because they make you feel uncomfortable and guilty as a white person that you are making yourself more complicit in the system that’s brought these kind of injustices about and are prioritizing a discomfort of your own over someone else’s pain.
It’s also true though that some people - many people, probably - are so affected by feelings of guilt and helpless culpability that they become paralyzed and unable to react in any sort of useful fashion, and need to be able to take a step back in order to help at all, and that others can’t even do that because they will end up in serious pain and/or danger.
and the people like that - like me -
well. we already feel guilty and complicit and selfish for trying to protect ourselves. we’ve almost certainly talked ourselves around and around in circles before finally managing to do anything about it. and to read something like this, when you’ve just gotten the emotional clarity that yes it is okay to put yourself and your state of mind first?
that just destroys everything you’ve just worked so hard to do.
it doesn’t matter that this post is probably not meant to be talking to people like me who get into guilt spirals and routinely feel like they’re a terrible person and often get suicida because of it.
because we’re going to read it that way anyway.
we’re going to read it like this:
okay so i really am a terrible person trying to avoid culpability.
i don’t have the right to just not do the right thing and educate myself and actively work for betterness just because it’s overwhelming and exhausting and makes me want to cry and scratch my insides out, when there are people suffering the same kind of difficulties under much greater oppressions.
i don’t have the right to not feel like this
i deserve to feel like this
i deserve to want to die
i don’t deserve to be alive
and that’s not on the OP, or anyone else, really - it’s my brain that’s taking this post and interpreting it to mean that I am even more of a horrible person than I already suspescted I was and that if I were a better person I would put myself through wanting to die because other people are suffering way more. it’s my brain chemistry that’s fucking with me.
it’s entirely on me.
and it’s entirely on anyone else who reads this post and gets triggered the fuck out of it like I did.
but if you’re going to post something like this or reblog it, you ought to know that this is going to happen, whether you mean it to or not.
I’m also posting this to remind myself that it is okay to put myself first. I am allowed to be the most important thing in my world and I am allowed to be selfish and self-centered like that and that does not mean I am a terrible person and an abomination of a human being.
Even if I am complicit in systemic racism and ableism and all kinds of shit that hurts people, I have the right to be alive.
I have the right to not feel like I deserve to die.
and I have the right to do whatever the fuck I have to in order to make that happen.