Look, there’s not a ton to say here that someone else hasn’t already said. And I should know because I’ve been doomscrolling for days now; I’ve been procrastinating on work by combing through The Atlantic and Vox and the Washington Post and Slate and the New York Fucking Times and all of those other American news outlets. I’ve watched hours of live broadcasts and hot takes and punditry and even a bunch of those news/comedy hybrid guys (because let’s be honest, they’re mostly guys.) And I’ve done this to stay informed, yes, but there’s something so weird about watching all this from afar that makes me feel like it’s more than a compulsion, it’s a responsibility.
I don’t know why I feel that way.
We’re getting off track, here.
Here’s the thing: I’ve watched, for YEARS, as BLM activists and Antifascists have been called terrorists, and then I watched as actual domestic terrorists stormed the US capitol building with near impunity. They recorded it all on TikTok and Facebook and Instagram live with uncovered faces because they have no fear, at all, of any kind of repudiation. And they don’t fear it because they won’t get it.
Look, this isn’t new. The US was built on and still reveres white supremacy, this isn’t a fucking secret.
But what kills me, and please hear that this is literally the thing that makes me frequently feel that this is a lost cause, is that these people believe that their completely unfounded claims based on literally zero statistical evidence bears equal weight to the cries of Black Americans about the untenable effects of systemic racism.
On one hand, you have a group of internet-radicalized conspiracy theorists who believe that the 2020 election was stolen by democrats. There is zero evidence of this despite all of the recounts, audits, and poll watchers accounts that were, according to them, supposed to prove it.
On the other hand, we have 400 years denoting a clear and deliberate subjugation of Black people that can be easily proven by empirical evidence. And coupled with that, there is additional resounding, overwhelming evidence, compiled over hundreds of years, that proves absolutely the privileges that white people garner in the US to which, in a moral and legal sense, they are not entitled.
And even I’m beginning to wonder if I’m being brainwashed by the far-right – their ideology has been legitimized by the inherently ecumenical internet, in particular by social media, to the point where even the Democratic party has experienced a dramatic shift to the right. The incoming Biden administration is such a far and sad cry from, say, the Carter administration, who was still barely in power when I was born, and even I find myself questioning what it is exactly that I believe because I never see anyone representing “me” condemning these forces with the same vehemence that I, myself, feel.
I’m not exactly shocked or surprised, but I feel fucking blindsided every time something like the Capitol Riots happen and, with what little optimism I have left, I let myself believe that maybe this will be the time that the government, police, FBI, Homeland Security, the Secret Service, literally anyone will approach it with the same vitriol and force that they do protesters literally fighting for their lives. But it never happens.
A militia occupied the headquarters of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon for 24 fucking days in 2016 citing the “tyranny” of the US government. In addition to having no clear policy nor demands, they expected the “return” of government-owned lands for white ranchers and loggers that, in fact, belong to indigenous people.
I mean fuck, armed white supremacists operating under some vague anti-mask agenda stormed the Michigan State Capitol last May, and though they were armed (I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that firearms are somehow legal to carry inside the Capitol in Michigan, however) they were escorted inside the building and were only barred from entering the State Senate chamber.
Look, these are just a couple of examples. And I’m running out of patience for trying to explain to a group of people that their whims and a vague idea of “freedom” that they fight so vehemently for has been afforded to them precisely because of the subjugation of BIPOC people. There is no sense in wasting time telling them anymore. If they don’t know that by now, they don’t want to.
But the worst part, and know that I mean for me, specifically, is the gaslighting. It’s this para-social gaslighting that makes me question who’s in the right, here. And while I know so much of this struggle is fought in our own minds, wherein we try every day to strengthen our resolve and carefully hone our arguments, most days I am unsure how much fight I have left.
I’m torn because on one hand, I left. I’m not in the States, and so much of what occurs there cannot harm me in the same way it can when I’m out in the American streets, brandishing a bull-horn or marching, arm-banded, with comrades. But there’s already been so much damage done that here I am, scrolling through another news cycle proving that my own home country deems me illegitimate, very much harmed despite the miles I’ve put between us.
And it’s crazy because I can’t even imagine a life without this harm, and that’s what pisses me off the fucking most.
I had drinks with that dude Suphi a few nights ago, and he tried to tell me that I’d definitely go “home” one day. He told me that people feel tied to the land they were born on like it was some kind of undeniable, universal fact. I do not have this in the States, I told him. I’m Black.
Is it so insane to want a place to go home to?