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You Can't Win With Some People
The choice to engage with racism and anti-racism
In thinking about my recent Substack Notes experience, one thing has become clear. Black folx and Black women in particular can’t really “win” when it comes to talking about racism. Not that there are truly any winners here.
When I look back over my choices at the time, they were limited. I could have said nothing, and let people go on spewing bigotry. That would probably have kept me personally safe from harm.
Or I could have chosen to speak, which I did because it didn’t sit right with me to let the bigotry go unchallenged. And I also thought other people needed to see what it was like.
For my trouble, I was characterised as “whiny” and “weak” when all I did was state the facts as they happened and ask for a platform-level solution. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t seem unreasonable to me.
What’s really interesting is that though I pretty much stopped engaging with those people - I have reshared similar perspectives from others - they kept coming after me. Now that they know I exist, they cannot wait to tell me how wrong I am to hold the perspectives I do. To date, I still have made no personal attacks on anyone. As I said in my last piece, when people are offended by my general comments about racists and bigots, it says more about them than it does me, because I named no names.
I’ve seen much the same happen on other platforms, in particular LinkedIn, where I’m reasonably active. I don’t get a lot of hatred on there, though others do, but I do get some mansplaining, whitesplaining and the like, plus platform-wide suppression. I really can’t be bothered to deal with that any more - it’s a distraction from my real work of helping create paths to equality and doing my bit to end racism.
But every day, and every moment, I have to make the choice as to whether I am emotionally equipped to deal with tongue-lashing, name-calling, microaggressions and more from white folx, or whether it’s a moment to move on.
And in the moment where I decide to speak out, I have to make another decision about what I’ll respond to and for how long.
It is, quite frankly, exhausting.
But I continue to do it when I’m able, because the alternative is to let the bigots run riot unopposed - and that I will never do.
What are you doing to fight racism and bigotry today?
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© Sharon Hurley Hall, 2023. All Rights Reserved.
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