A Tale of Two Realities

Wednesday, January 6th was a dark day for America, but America has been dark for as long as it has existed.

However, it can only get better if we acknowledge what has plagued our nation throughout it’s history- white supremacy. We have to be willing to utter those words at all levels of leadership, business and government. We can no longer skirt around holding the mirror up to the systems that continue to murder Black people.

If you’re wondering when the right time to check in on your Black and PoC folx is, the answer is every day that they’re living in America. If you haven’t checked on them over the last year, you have already failed.

If you are new to empathy and reality, you can start checking on us now- but only if you are willing to remove the rose colored glasses we often view reality through.

White rage is the downfall of America.

White rage is the biggest threat to Black livelihood.

White rage is the biggest threat to Black life.

We are grieving the reality of a nation. We watched as white supremacists stormed the Capitol building, wielding confederate flags, nooses, zip ties and rage.

We watched as police moved aside, opened barriers and took souvenir selfies with terrorists. Meanwhile, when Black Americans gathered to seek justice for lives lost at the hands of state sanctioned murderers, we were met with tear gas, arrests, and hot white rage.

This all happened parallel to Jacob Blake’s shooter being relieved of any charges.

America does not value Black life.

America revels in white rage yet demonizes Black grief.

America celebrated “patriots” who couldn’t stomach a loss, yet mocked those who demanded justice for Breona Taylor.

We are a nation divided but it is by design.

Many people were shocked by the events of January 6, 2020, however that shock is a privilege. For Black, PoC, queer and other marginalized folx, we have feared this exact moment for four years. The burden of having to constantly wonder if the other shoe would drop in your world, in your life, wrong time, wrong place is paralyzing.

People keep yelling, “This is not who America is.”, and the privilege oozing from the statement is not lost on us. This is exactly who America is, this is exactly who America was built to be. Systems are designed to work. We are a nation founded on blood, death and exploitation of those who mattered “less” to the founding fathers.

We are far from shocked by the events of January 6th.. We all sat watching as our reality was live streamed for the whole world. Systemic oppression was the main feature of everyone’s day. For us, it is a facet of our daily life.

2020 sparked a recognition for a lot of people, but this violence is not new to us.

We have been fully aware of the loss going on around us. We have always been aware that our lives are valued on a sliding scale.

We must demand more of our leadership, of our organizations, of our world. Accountability is not revenge, it is not evil, it is not unfair. Accountability is the sum of one’s actions. We must make it clear that there is no place in our organizations for white rage to fester and live. We must be willing to dismantle white supremacy from the top town.

There is no place for racism, homophobia, xenophobia, or transphobia in our organizations or in our world. We must be willing to write and execute policies that protect our marginalized folx.

However, policies only matter when enforced. We protect people through actions, not words. Unexecuted policy will only protect the white rage and privilege within your organization.

Of course, we need diversity, equity and inclusion but we also need and deserve justice.

Justice will never be warm, fluffy diversity workshops.

It is accountability in action.

 — Madison Butler

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