Pandemic Project: Scattered Autobiographical Memories (or sometimes current events) of a Liberal Well Meaning White Woman, 600(ish) Words at a Time, Part III

Me Me Me Me MEEEEEEEE

I’d make a damn fine opera singer. Let’s talk about MEEEEEE again.

As I was preparing to go out the door for a run (admittedly using that term loosely) earlier, a friend texted me that her daughter was at a protest at the Edina Police Department. I decided to head that way and check it out.

I’ve never been one to take a phone when I run. Carrying my own damn out of shape body weight is plenty taxing, so even though I’d love to stream some tunes while trying not to pass out, it’s not worth the extra bulk. Which was unfortunate today, because I came upon a most beautiful scene. Thankfully, my friend Lisa’s got me covered. I think she was there about 10 minutes after I was.

Exceedingly happy to have a reason for a running break, I took a few minutes just to hang back and watch for awhile, cheering with them when a car would drive by and honk and enjoying a few rare moments of optimism. When I was ready to resume my run, I trotted in front of them, clapping my raised hands, and paused for a minute and yelled like a maniac, “If I had a horn, I’d be honking. You guys are awesome, KEEP GOING.” It had all just made me awfully damn emotional.

In retrospect, even though my words were ones of encouragement, I’m not real proud to have yelled at them. For a few of reasons. For one, I didn’t have a mask and was probably closer than I should have been. For another, I think when the young black lady leading the effort first saw me, I looked a bit threatening (nice white liberal lady).

The only thing those kids really need from me? To stay the hell out of their way. I mean that in terms of staying out of their physical space today and staying out of their metaphorical space moving forward. My generation and those before us are absolutely complicit in making this mess for them to clean up.

And, while that pains me terribly, it doesn’t change the fact that me wanting to applaud them and give them verbal props was largely about __________________. Can you guess what goes in the blank? Ya, you know. Me, baby! Me Me Me Me MEEEEEE. My need to establish myself as a good person, to prove I’m an ally, to make it known I’m not ok with cops killing citizens, to express my remorse at how completely and utterly we’ve fucked things up for them.

They have enough to contend with without having to help me carry my baggage, something I’m going to try to keep in mind going forward.

After I’d sufficiently made a fool of myself, I headed home. Up ahead I saw a black man walking. Having joined multiple facebook groups over the weekend who are committed to getting white people to do the work needed of us, the discussion of how to let POC know I’m an ally when I meet them out and about was fresh in my mind. Why did I so badly want him to know I’m not an Amy Coooper? Because I wanted to feel better about guess who? ME.

Also in my mind was this:

That’s hard to read, so go here and read the whole thing. I had a very real moment of sitting with the knowledge that I am a shark. Not only that, I’m a MOMMA SHARK. This guy had no way of knowing I don’t have a cell phone when I run, no way of knowing I just applauded the young protesters, no way of knowing whether I’m a nice shark (is that a thing?) or a shark who is terrified by his presence and wants to destroy him.

So, no, I was not entitled for him to know I’m a nice shark. There was zero onus on him to make me feel like a good person. He, like those kids, has no responsibility to help me with my baggage.

So, there ya go. A fun snapshot of where my mind’s been today. I’m over 600 words, so I don’t have space to tell you that none of this is saying there’s simply nothing I can do. Ohhhhh hell no. I have work to do.

Be Well, Friends.