Admin Note: This piece uses strong language, and is frank with its candor concerning activism. It is important such pieces be written as it makes plain the frustration which sometimes accompanies such work! It gives voice to the rage felt and unseen as Black women, and other minorities. We are often seen as Mammies, Sapphires or Jezebels. Black women have been on the front line of social change in this nation for two centuries! This pieces gives space to be angry, tired and scared. It gives space for us as both Black and woman to not have to be the sage, the mammie, or the freak. For this reason, I am most proud of its author, Shauncea Shotwell. –JBHarris
I’m supposed to be writing about activism: some issue or cause I’d like to draw attention to.
I’m supposed to whip up a few paragraphs, maybe a couple of pages, that will move you to either agree or disagree but, move you nonetheless.
I’m supposed to come up in here, drop the hammer of well-spoken knowledge, and then drop the mic. Maybe, I could even throw in a dazzling Black Girl Magic spin and deep grateful bow combo before I exit stage right.
I won’t though.
I just don’t have energy to write another piece, about another issue, that no one is going to be able to change. I don’t want to spend one more afternoon tearfully contemplating all the things we could change, if given the opportunity!
I don’t want to spend another day talking about women’s rights. I don’t want to spend one more day discussing a woman’s right to choose, or to use birth control at a reasonable cost.
I do not want to write another damn word about the pay gap or sexual harassment in the workplace. I don’t want to talk about sex education, gun violence or the welfare program. I don’t want to write about student loan debt, health insurance or the cost of living.
I don’t want to spend ONE MORE SECOND devoted to acts of futility!
They are all of these issues: racism, sexism, healthcare, education reform, etc. These issues all exist, and speaking about them is an absolute act of futility! Our government cares little to nothing about the people and communities these issues actually affect. Our government is only concerned about big dollars in big pockets.
It’s frustrating. It’s frightening.
We vote, our votes don’t get counted. We line up to vote and we are sent away. We try to register to vote only to find our names don’t appear in the voter registry. We are disenfranchised at every opportunity, yet expected to pay taxes into a system that neither protects nor promotes us.
We consistently see the men and women we do manage to elect to office, disappoint us once they arrive. Making peace with half-assed measures that only serve to stop conversation about the issues rather than solve them!
It’s exhausting. It is demoralizing.
I’m tired of fighting. Honestly. Truly.
I’m tired of voting only to have my and millions of other Americans’ votes ignored by the Electoral College. I’m exhausted by efforts to stem racism and protect Black and Brown Americans from police brutality and anti-immigration efforts.
I’m frustrated by the lack of transparency in our government. I’m HURT AND ENRAGED that there are 535 members of the Congress and Senate, yet a racist, illiterate, pompous, rapist jackass is still in the White House playing dress up as the goddamn President of the United States!
I’m pissed the hell off and I’m tired of feeling like a screaming mouth with no sound coming out.
I don’t feel seen.
I don’t feel heard.
I don’t feel valued.
I don’t feel proud.
I don’t feel hopeful.
I’m exhausted and afraid.
I won’t sit in this place forever. I will keep voting. I will keep writing. I will keep marching. I will fight for what I believe is the real American dream.
I’m a frustrated and exhausted Black woman who simply cannot. I just can’t. Tomorrow, I’ll pick up the mic again. Today, I am grieving democracy and it hurts.