When I was young and on fire for changing the world, I was a social justice junkie. I spent years teaching people about all sorts of things. AIDS, rural education, public education, teacher funding, higher education, community economic development, fundraising, racism, homophobia, LGBTQ rights, feminism, sexism, sexual assault, child abuse and neglect, poverty, and la la la! You name it, I’ve stood up for it.
These days it’s getting harder to pick and choose my battles. I get calls to action every single day. Calls come from Medium, in my email inbox, and even via text messages.
As times have changed and I have aged, my social justice priorities have also changed. My list of social justice causes and issues has slimmed down drastically. I’ve learned some things in America (and the world) will never change. There is no use in me using my energy, time, or breathe fighting certain systems, beliefs, and issues.
Then there are battles that take precedence over all others. Like racism. Before I’m gay, straight, hungry, poor, homeless, a disenfranchised voter or unemployed…I’m Black.
I’m Black every day, so are my sons and my grandkids. I can’t wipe it off. I can’t pretend I’m something else. I’m also a woman. So as far as the world is concerned, I’m at the bottom of the totem pole. At least it feels that way.
There are a lot of things I need to unpack this year from my social justice nap sack. My bag is heavy, my stress levels are high, and mind is weary. Sometimes we need to de-clutter our lives and re-prioritize.
What started out to be a great idea quickly evolved into another arm of White feminism. #MeToo takes the focus away from poor and regular every day working women experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace and turned it another way White female celebrities gain attention (and yet another elevating platform) while ruining the careers of men without due process thanks to social media.
The movement has huge problems, and like feminism, I don’t believe the movement is able to be fixed in its existing shell of a structure. We all know the stories to be true, but there were lots of organizations and vehicles doing the work prior to White female celebrities highlighting workplace sexual harassment and misconduct. MeToo has run its course. All of the mouth pieces have had their five minutes of fame and fucked it up royally.
I’m bowing out while there’s still time.
Tired of Being Forced to Pick Sexual Orientation Over My Race
Most days the fight over racism supersedes LGBTQ issues. And they do because when I look the community, I see it in the same way that I see feminism. It’s White and filled with loud voices that don’t often reflect my views, my needs, my concerns or my skin tone for that matter. Blacks are always an “and” in the conversation.
Let’s not even get into the lesbian/bi thing in fighting. White feminist lesbians have decided who can be in the club and who can’t. I’m tired of labels, and trying to get my issues looked at. It’s like the oppression Olympics. Who’s oppression, abuse, and suffering is more important? Look at his, listen to this story…It’s a lot and it’s draining. There are so many things to fight for. Sometimes being in the family isn’t a high priority for me because we have other more important fires to put out.
I’m Tired of Feminism
The same applies to feminism. I’ve learned over the years feminism isn’t for me personally. The movement is supposed to be about empowering and uplifting all women, but it’s really not. Again, Black women and women of color are more often than not left out of the leadership and equality loops. It’s like White women keep asking Women of Color to come to their private party, but when we arrive, there isn’t a seat at the table for us. We’re left standing, then eventually people start assuming we’re the help. I’m done with hoping one day it will be my turn.
After a couple of centuries in America, I’ve come to understand like Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Medgar Evers, W.E.B. Dubois, and Nat Turner that America ain’t changing, and she will let folks kill you before she protects my kind regardless of whether the person doing the killing wears heels and lip sticks or hard bottoms and a tie.
I don’t need that feminism smoke. I’m done with it.
I’m Tired of Politics
I decreased the amount of effort I spend engaging in politics. It’s a rigged system. Combine the system with really ignorant (or racist) population who don’t really understand how it works or care how it harms some of us more than others and it’s like standing in quick sand. The best thing I can do is try to make good choices and put my faith in no man to save me. None has done so thus far.
I’m also tired of White politicians looking to the Black community to save their asses when either enough White folks don’t believe in them, or a strong bold racist candidate comes out of the bushes and expresses the level of racism and selfishness that satisfies their souls. We seem to not be able to get elevated to the upper echelons of leadership in our government despite being in this country since the early 1600s.
History says we aren’t progressing, so I’ll keep playing the White patriarchy patty cake political games. But I’m done fighting for something that seems always fleeting, never permanent, and constantly unattainable. Goodbye to stressing about things I have no control over.
I’m Tired of Fighting for Fair Community and Economic Development
I try to hip Black folks about how the economic development, community development, and school funding works. It’s like talking to a wall. Most people I know who have experience in government, economic development, finance, and banking run into the same problem. Black folks want a solution, but they don’t want to do the work or invest the resources to get things off the ground. They also don’t want to pay anyone for their time or knowledge. They will pay the White business person, but ask me for a discount or to work until they reap financial fruits and be paid later.
Why must we always be second fiddle to Whites and our own people?
Like, what the fuck is wrong with people? I don’t have time to devote to people who won’t invest in themselves. I work with people who try to make power moves and those who will pay me for my work. They call me a traitor, a sellout, and an Uncle Tom. I don’t give a damn. I can’t help a people that won’t help themselves. I moved on. I’m tired of fighting for Black communities when they won’t help me fight, they only complain.
God knows I get sick of listening to his lying mouth. I get tired of his cons. I am about to run into some difficult times because he insists on having this shutdown named after him. But I have no power or no say in the matter. I will suffer, my bills are getting behind, and no one cares as long as he stands his ground. I can’t make people see the big picture. I can’t make people see the sanity and inhumanity in all things Trump.
So, I’m letting it go. I will have to change my lifestyle, likely lose somethings, and watch the nation collapse. I’m fishing more and worrying less. I can’t allow the stress caused by our corrupt political systems to do my body any more harm.
Trump and anything he does is beyond my control no matter how much it will impact me, so why am I worried about him? I’m done. I’m letting nature take it’s course. The good will just have to suffer with the bad I suppose.
(*Note: Well I tried, but the shut down happened. Now I’m looking at financial ruin perhaps with a proposed shut down that could last for years, so I had to get un-tired on this man.)
The Things I Can and Will Fight For
There are some things and people I’ll never stop advocating for. Children are number one on my list. All children, not just Black ones. Children need all of us to fight for them. They can’t fight for themselves, so I gladly fight for them.
Women of Color and women’s issues in general I never get tired of fighting for. We are so overlooked, so oppressed, so underutilized and so undervalued, it’s a struggle for us to make it from one day to the next. We are fighting against men in our own ethnic group in addition to White Supremacy and patriarchy. I can’t help I was born a woman. In order to survive, I must fight daily. I must even fight against other women of color sadly who have become White sympathizers to avoid the persecution Blacks receive.
I fight for education. The right education has the ability to change lives, open doors, broaden horizons, and defeat generational poverty. No matter the age, getting someone a quality, reasonably-priced education is always worth fighting for.
Sexual assaults and child sexual abuse is worth fighting for. Sexual assault and child sexual abuse is violent, it’s predatory, it’s life-altering, and it’s traumatic. Victims need to know there are survivors. Survivors need to continue to speak up and educate the public on the impact and damage sexual assaults. I will never get tired of fighting to protect children and calling out enablers.
The environment is important. Animals, plants, Mother Nature, and this earth need advocates. I am an outdoorsman. I love the ocean, lakes, mountains, fishing, hunting, etc. I love living off the land. I want to see animals continue to live for thousands of years. I’m fighting for the earth.
Oppression and poverty. The ways in which systems (economic, political, educational, financial, governmental, and criminal justice) impedes our ability to become upwardly mobile, for some more than others. I’ll continue to speak up and out on how oppression and poverty are uniquely married to keep good people and People of Color down.
Blackness. I’m fighting for Blackness until the day I die. I have no choice. I also can a
Humanity. People are important. People take precedence over animals (I love animals too, but not as much as I love people). I want us to be healthy. I want us to be treated fairly although I know it will never be so as long as there is some benefit for evil people to keep some of oppressed, sick, angry, poor, hungry, ignorant and enslaved. When we all do well, humanity wins. Until we all get on one page, humanity will suffer.
People fight for all kinds of things every day. Staying jacked up all the time fighting too much isn’t good for your health. It’s unnecessary stress. I’m de-cluttering my life and choosing my battles more wisely these days. As the times get stranger and we become more divided, we all will need to align ourselves with alliances that are most beneficial for our social, emotional, and physical well-being.
Sometimes we need to take a break from the oppression Olympics, especially those of us who fit into multiple categories of social justice causes. The constant advocacy can be draining. It’s okay to prioritize fights.
Bowing out gracefully is a sign of strength. It’s good for your health too. It’s going to be a tough year for lots of us financially, and I can’t care of anyone else if I can’t take care of myself.
It’s time to unpack.
Marley K., 2019