So, a ways back, I wrote a bit about the rings of grief — more properly, Susan Silk’s Ring Theory. Go ahead and click that link if you want to read that post, but really, the picture says it all.
This has been a guide that has stood me in good stead as I’ve sought to retreat less and less into my ignorance bubble, and I want to repost it here primarily for my readers who are White, who are able-bodied, who, at a glance, can or do ‘pass’ as the privileged group/s, with a plea: model your actions and your words, seek your support networks, with this image in mind.
I’m terrified. I’m terrified for too many loved ones to count, POC, people with chronic illnesses and disabilities, anyone and everyone who is not cis, straight, white, and male has something to fear, and this is very valid. I’m terrified for the girl-child (who, despite being closer to 30 than to 20, is still referred to as the girl-child) in a city that is experiencing on outbreak of racist vandalism, who is clear across the country, and refusing to cower at home despite being a woman of color.I’m terrified for myself, and for Beth, though we’re in a super liberal area, and we face more with her losing her healthcare than we face by being two women living together. I’m scared that something will happen, and we won’t be able to help the daughter. I’m just scared.
I won’t pretend otherwise.
But I’m also not going to look toward people who are in more danger than I am, to express my fear to them, to ask them to make me feel better or even for them to commiserate with me. That the bits and pieces of my ‘otherness’ can be optional for me (it makes my stomach churn, and it disgusts me, but I’d be lying if my first thoughts after the results were announced did not go to ‘how can I blend in better if I need to?’) means that I inherently have more privilege, and thus less danger, and the burden of my fear is my own to bear, not theirs.
Look to your peers. Look to those who suffer or could suffer in the same way, to a similar degree. Shore one another up, and offer your support inward. Do not demand that those who have less to give, give more.
I’m terrified — but I’m not going to get jumped in the street because of my skin. My scarf is probably not going to get pulled from my head, because of my skin. I’m female, and nothing I do can really hide that, but I’m also white.
Those closer to the center of that circle? They need our support, and further more, they get to dictate how those needs are to be met.