I was going to say I’ve been largely silent in the last weeks, a post here and there, but I don’t want my lack of posting to be confused with silence about what is happening in the world these days.
I am left speechless at the horror of this year, of this last month, of these last days. But not silent. Not neutral.
To compound the coronavirus horrors, my only refuge – as with all of you – my house was invaded, my dog got skunked and brought the smell into the house.
Stay with me here…. this grows.
If you are unfamiliar with the smell save for passing a kill on a country road, the smell leaches into everything in a matter of moments. It’s not a matter of opening the windows to release the odor. The smell is thick, it has claws. It sticks around. Even with fans going, windows open, it lingers in corners.
The spray is an oil type substance that is embedded into my dog’s fur. The skunking is meant to do harm; therefore, it causes burning of the eyes, rash on the skin, nausea. And it is not easily scrubbed out.
I don’t only mean the dog. I was sick for days.
Now, let’s add to that a passing of a friend.
Layer that with the death of George Floyd. This hurts me because it hurts my friends, my students, my family. The brutality Floyd experienced is the brutality people of color experience EVERY DAY!
Top it with the protests, which would have been peaceful except for the agitators who want to use the protests as a front, to cause problems, and commit crimes.
So add looting and violence, the armed national guards, police, and curfews.
Do not take my silence as a neutral position. I am horrified.
Racism is that skunking. It is meant to do harm. It is an odor not released by opening a window. Racism is a stink that has claws, it has bite. It is a sickening, stinging, lingering presence. And it needs to be scrubbed out of the system entirely.
And the scrubbing needs to begin at the top.
I am an educator. I teach. One of the classes I have taught is The History of African American Literature. For the next few weeks, my posts will center around what I have learned and what I teach my students about communication, history, and growth.
Sending loving and healing thoughts to all.