Safety is an Illusion: White Supremacy, Sober Discernment, and Cultivating New Ways of Being
Election season is here in the so-called United States. Maybe you’re feeling depressed, anxious, numb, irritable. Maybe you’re feeling fine. I encourage you to feel all of your feelings. Whatever you’re feeling is completely valid.
We know that this is nothing new, but on top of police brutality being at an all-time high, white supremacy bringing us a global pandemic, massive, sweeping, untamed wildfires leaving thousands of lives lost and upended, November is the culmination of an intensity that’s been building.
Once again, my fellow white women are leading in votes for Trump next only to white men. EbonyJanice Moore, a womanist, scholar, author, and activist says in a video on Instagram, “I don’t want to see no marching. You have organized your last march, your last protest. The only place you need to be marching is to your momma’s house to ask her, ‘girl, what are you doing?’”
From 2013–2019 I lived in Portland, Oregon. I grew up in a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri, and last September I moved back. Towards the end of my time in Portland, I had been getting the message that I needed to do my work at home. I’ve reflected on what made me move to Portland, and realized through listening to Black and Brown activists and educators discussing the gentrification of cities, I had done so out of white comfort and the desire to be in a “liberal bubble.”
I had also read this essay and related very much to the author. It pretty much sealed the deal for me. Everything was telling me to move home to the Midwest. There was internal healing to do in order for me to really do the work I was meant to do, and for me, that healing could only be done by returning to where I grew up.
The author of that essay is a cis, white woman like myself who also spent a long time living in Portland, Oregon. We seemed to have both moved there for similar reasons. I moved to Portland in 2013 because I had heard about it being an artsy, liberal oasis. At the time my awareness wasn’t where it is now and I thought “liberal” was the pinnacle of morality and righteousness, but now I know better — that there’s no difference between liberals or conservatives, just different flavors of white supremacy.