So I am guessing many of you were witnesses to my latest attempt to call us to do better- and the results. For those who need to be caught up, a quick recap:
I called out a white woman influencer for plagiarism after multiple people tried and got no response. Mine got a big response. This resulted in a shadow ban or ghost ban. That appears to mean the following: 1. my tweets calling out the plagiarism and why it matters are hidden or “unavailable”. 2. Other threaded tweets Ive done might require you to navigate to my page to read instead of just clicking “show thread” from your timeline. 3. There are very mixed results for what some followers can see but others cannot. 4. And twitter itself hints that a ghost ban my result in being removed from some peoples search results. What makes a ghost ban so annoying, is its inconsistency which is not good for someone who relies on social media in the ways I do.
**edited to add that the partial ban is been lifted! Insert dance gif here**
Okay, now everyone is caught up.
So. While I work to get this partial ban lifted, here is what I keep coming back to… white people are exhausting.
This is the first line in my book. And I have to tell you that it makes me smile every time someone reads it aloud. Because I know with those four words I have just earned the trust and respect of every woman of color who happens to be sitting in the room. With that one line, I know Ive connected to other women of color who are tired. Tired of news stories of racism. Tired of microaggressions. Tired of being expected to work for free, to work harder, to work without feelings, to work for lesser pay, to work as sacrifice instead of enjoyment. We is tired, and every so often it helps to not feel alone in that exhaustion.
I also love that line because I immediately know who my allies/accomplices are. When I hear white people laugh, I know that they’ve been doing anti-racism work for at least 5 minutes. Because they too know how much fellow white people can be exhausting. They’ve seen the tired arguments on facebook. They’ve tried to talk to Uncle Bobby and Cousin Sue. They had high hopes for the diversity training or book club or classroom or worship space only to bump into fragility, defensiveness and a level of racism they had never witnessed before.
I love that line. Usually. I love it when I don’t have to experience it… again. I love it when it forms connections. I love it when saying it aloud tells me who my people are. Im not fond of continuing to experience it myself.
So Im going to tell you what I wish would happen every time women of color say, “Hey, Influencer, this quote/essay/tweet is problematic and here’s why”:
I wish the influencers on the receiving end would consider it a gift. Instead of ignoring or deleting the comments or blocking the commenters, I wish influencers would read every word that expresses the problem.
I wish a real apology would be made. Not an apology that requires the promise of perfection. But a sincere- damn, I messed up and I didn’t mean to mess up and Im so sorry that I messed up because I care about you. And an Im going to try to do better. And Im going to try to fix this one.
I wish influencers even attempted to provide leadership to their followers and say, “We have gained so much from women of color- from their words and their poetry and their songs and their expressions and their friendship and their presence on this earth. And so what we will not do is tell them that they are over reacting. What we will not do is report them or troll them or block them. What we will do is move closer, listen closer, follow their lead.”
Even as I read this list back to myself it seems like too much to hope for. But thats why we have this community. Because it is our duty and our pleasure to imagine another way. So much of the work of anti-racism is imagining what could be. So even as I work to get this thing lifted and work around it in the meantime by not threading tweets, please know that Im not giving up on us- ever.
And a ghost ban is definitely not going to keep me silent, not going to lower my expectations, not going to stop me from telling the truth. And today, the truth is white people are exhausting but Im Still Here.
In other news, have you heard about my new podcast!? Its called the Anti-Racist Pod Squad and the first episode will release the week of May 4th! Here’s what else you need to know:
This is for you. This is for people who are committed to practicing anti-racism; this is for everyone who is ready to smash white supremacy!
The Anti-Racist Pod Squad will only be released through this newsletter. You dont have to do a thing (except make sure I dont end up in your spam folder!) You’ll be able to listen to episodes right from the email. Of course, if you want to open it in spotify, apple, or another platform to listen, you can do that with just a couple clicks.
Why is that important? Well, it means you wont have to give it ratings or leave reviews. We wont be searching the “new and noteworthy” section on apple podcasts or running giveaways to increase our download numbers. Its just you and me, kid. As long as you are present, thats all that matters.
We are going to do this by series. The first series is called “how to practice racial justice during a pandemic”. Guests will be announced later this week! Once that series is done, we’ll take a little break and then schedule another series when we feel like it.
You dont have to do a thing to get access to the podcast.
If you subscribe to Roll Call, you will also receive show notes and some content that was edited out of the public episodes. Soon, you’ll receive an email with a reading list to prep for the first series.
The artwork The Anti-racist Pod Squad comes from GoBeeHarris. Please check out her work on instagram because its bold, bright and beautiful.
More details coming soon!
*I definitely don’t have the energy to edit this thing today, but I want to say thank you to every single show of support. I don’t cry easy, but today I locked myself away in the bathroom just overwhelmed by anxiety and also by my gratitude that you would show up for me. Peace + Justice.*