So to remind both myself and others who may read this, here are four responses to catch yourself in and avoid making. There are likely even more, and I'll update this later if needed.
Overwhelming Shock #
Seems like a good response since it shows concern. But it also communicates disbelief and an unwillingness to accept or listen to those affected. Especially since many have seen it happen far too often to be surprised anymore.
Let's Come Together #
This tweet from a good thread said it best:
That kumbaya shit does nothing for people like Tatiana who are being driven out of this industry because of hate.— Shake Shack Stan Account (@KeziyahL) August 26, 2019
That "rainbows and butterflies" shit does nothing for people who face physical harm because of white supremacy.
Dismissing the "Drama" #
Real people are affected by things like this. Tatiana Mac lost a job and her place in the industry over what happened. It's more than drama. Only seeing it as such shows you have the privilege of ignoring it with no consequences.
Asking What Happened #
Not knowing is fine, but the people you're asking are often already emotionally drained from the events. Putting an extra burden on them doesn't help. You're capable of searching for info.
Plus, showing life just went on as normal for you is another priviledge reveal.
A Better Response #
Next time your impulse is to give a response like this, do a few things. If you're like me and usually mess them up in some way, suck it up and try again.
- Believe the person's lived experiences
- Educate yourself
- Support them
- When the time comes, stand up for them
As tempting as it is to put these white supremacists in place, I realised that it doesn’t hurt them, it hurts me and gives them my power, platform, energy, trauma, and time.— Tatiana Mac (@TatianaTMac) August 16, 2019
I *won’t* convince them.
I’ll redirect that energy to educate people around me who are open to it.