She keeps me warm

There is no way to write this post without sounding like a whiny brat. And I sorta feel whiny. I don’t want to, but there you go…

I’ve never felt so lost, so misunderstood, so much of an outcast as I do moving in, around and through social justice circles.  I don’t belong with People of Color. Though there are so many aspects of the community I resonate with and understand, I don’t share the Black experience. I’m not likely to be killed in a traffic stop. Hell, I’ve been driving around since April with expired tags and haven’t even been pulled over! I am caucasian and I have a middle class income and advanced degree, but I don’t belong with the White Middle Class.  In fact, I feel out of place there. Like I’m faking it – or expected to if I want to “fit in.” Even though I grew up with a single mother on welfare, I don’t really belong in the White Working Class anymore, either.

I have no tribe.

Did I chose to be a white civil rights activist? I grew up with all the White Southern racism you would imagine and somehow recognized it for what it was. Maybe I chose it when I chose to have children who are people of color. Maybe it chose me. All I know is, all roads lead to race for me.

I can’t change. Even if I wanted to. Even if I tried.

Black people ask if I’m expecting some kind of prize for fighting for their justice. White people call me a nigger lover. If I talk about my own experience in raising people of color, I’m speaking for a community to which I do not belong. If I look for support from my friends of color, I’m asking the oppressed to educate me on their oppression.

Like people of color, I am constantly aware of racial dynamics. On television, ordering in a diner, pronouncing the name of someone I’m talking to on the phone. And it’s exhausting and frustrating and overwhelming.  Still, I can hide in a hole and not think about it for a minute which is something people of color cannot do. I recognize my privilege.

It has to be worth it, right? To continue the conversations, even if (when) I offend people I love? Even when people call me names?  Who am I kidding. It’s who I am. Even if I had a choice, I would chose justice.

She keeps me warm.


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