This week Elisabeth Ellington offered a collection of screenshots as an archive of nuggets to hold onto. I want to do something similar. I want to share quotes from some recent reads that have me thinking a number of things but above all have helped me realize how very tired I am and some of the reasons why.
They talked like the sort of black people in a story written by a white person meant to demonstrate the gleaming interior of their innerselves, but in fact, they were just like black people anywhere, which was to say that they were anxious and furious and happy and sad and lonely and bright and brilliant and beautiful and hideous and grotesque and fearsome and powerful. They were ordinary. They were young, about to set the world on fire. They were here to show to each other and themselves what they were worth and to hope, perhaps, that their worth would be acknowledged. They were, at the very core of themselves, something new and something old, and it all ran together in Monroe’s room, and Coleman stood apart from them, for once in his life not sad to be watching, but feeling lucky, so lucky, privileged, to witness them.Brandon Taylor, “Prophets”, in Joyland
I make my living off my imagination, but this summer, as I watched Homegoing climb back up the New York Times bestseller list in response to its appearance on anti-racist reading lists, I saw again, with no small amount of bile, that I make my living off the articulation of pain too. My own, my people’s. It is wrenching to know that the occasion for the renewed interest in your work is the murders of black people and the subsequent “listening and learning” of white people. I’d rather not know this feeling of experiencing career highs as you are flooded with a grief so old and worn that it seems unearthed, a fossil of other old and worn griefs.Yaa Gyasi, “White People, Black people are not your medicine” in The Guardian
So, like many other aspects of the work of DEI, this is going to be inconvenient and hard for a while. Because we are not here, playing injustice whack-a-mole, by accident. We are here by design. White supremacist patriarchy has rigged the system to win by making solidarity a reactive stance, thereby overwhelming and exhausting us with the need to build – in moments and waves of crisis – relationships and trust that actually require space, attention and priority to develop.Alison Park, “Do we have to make a statement of solidarity with Asian-Americans? (Do we have to make a statement about EVERYTHING?), Rethinking Diversity Blog
So yeah, that’s the stuff that’s running through my mind. But there’s plenty of opportunities like this:
We would suggest that at no other time have International School Leaders had the opportunity to carefully consider and fully embrace diversity, inclusion, and to embed equity and belonging within your communities. Diversity builds innovative, high performing and talented networks.
At the ECIS’ Virtual Leadership Conference, April 8 – 10 2021 we will explore, discuss and make conscious decisions, focussing on the following tracks…From ECIS, the Educational Collaborative for International Schools, Leadership Conference Website
Of course, there’s no time like the present because we were absolutely asleep in our coma of privilege and white, patriarchal supremacy to deem diversity and belonging as a topic warranting a full conference for international school leaders…
Whew! This will make a racialized body tired, that’s for sure.
One day, I’ll have time for nonsense and whimsy. For the joy of words bumping into each other, filling a page, that’s a thing I look forward to again. One day.