Knee-Jerk Separation

Queer Women Protest Being Silenced  Photo from NoH8 Campaign

Queer Women Protest Being Silenced.              Photo from NoH8 Campaign

The Supreme Court overturned basic enforcement for the Voting Rights Act.  The next day it allowed queers to marry in California and share benefits like pensions if they were married in a state where it is legal.

Mia Mingus talked about the reaction to these decisions on Facebook:  “i keep seeing posts in my feed saying things like, ‘celebrating for LGBTQ folks, while grieving for people of color and native communities,’ as if these are separate communities… it is angering me because most of the people of color and native folks i know are LGBTQ, so can you be more specific about who exactly are you talking about?”

I knew immediately that I’d been one of those people.  I hadn’t posted on facebook yesterday but I could have easily made that kind of comment.  Even though I was in my office alone, my face burned.

I’ve interviewed Mia Mingus.  She’s a young, smart, progressive woman of color and I’d be thrilled if she would admire me as much as I admire her.

Well. . . guess what, it won’t happen today.

I commented on her post:
“I’m one of the people who compartmentalized.  Thank you for calling me on it.”

It was hard.  My chest feels heavy and too full to get enough breath.  I tell myself that admitting failure is honesty, a start toward something that might make a basis for something more real.  I think I am right about this.  But that is thought.  In my body, I’m in high school again, being seen and judged inferior.  I’m a kid caught doing something Mommy told me not to do.  I’m an ordinary white person with knee-jerk racist reactions.

I give myself a hug.  Maybe I’ll do better tomorrow.

–by Adrienne Lauby

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