Dear <<First Name>>
Many were angry, frustrated, and scared by the events that unfolded yesterday at the U.S. Capitol building. A common refrain for many Black and Brown people was the awareness that if Black and Brown people had stormed and broken into the Capitol, the response would have been drastically different. There wouldn’t have been selfies with officers and there likely would have been a massacre of Black and Brown people yesterday.
The different responses that we saw between yesterday’s acts of domestic terrorism compared to the protests and uprisings of the Black Lives Matter movement is drastic.
Credit: Mashable (https://sea.mashable.com/culture/13938/photos-show-stark-contrast-in-police-response-to-capitol-riot-vs-black-lives-matter-protests)
Many people went to bed late last night after watching endless hours of the news cycle. Some will be tired today from being sleep deprived. And some people will be emotionally exhausted by the continued double standard we witness play out day after day.
So how do we deal with this?
For Black and Brown people who continue to be exasperated and exhausted --
Know and express your boundaries.
Remember, you can choose the conversations that you want to participate in with regards to what is happening. At work, especially if you are one of few Black people, colleagues and supervisors may want to hear your perspective and what you think about what’s happening. If you feel like engaging, do so. If you don’t, consciously remove yourself from the conversation.
You can say, I really don’t want to talk about this today as it’s been exhausting (fill in whatever emotion is true for you) for me. You may also find yourself in conversations with colleagues who have very different opinions than you do. Sometimes once we’re in a conversation it can be hard to get out of it. At work, you can always return to work and say, I just saw the time and I really need to get back to work now. Or if you prefer to be more direct you can say, we obviously have very different perspectives about what is happening and I don’t think that we will agree at this moment. So I’m going to return to my work now.
Limit your news intake.
Consider how much of the news you want to consume. If you need help breaking away from the screen, use your phone’s digital wellness feature to shut down news and social media sites to give yourself a break. Literally, unplug the TV once you’ve reached your TV watching limit for the day to make it harder to return to it.
Rest and practice collective care.
Octavia Raheem says it well --
For our allies --
Take a break from the news cycle as needed but don’t take a break from being an ally.
Some of the most powerful ways to be an ally are about the actions you take with others who share your background and experiences. When colleagues or family members have different reactions to yesterday’s events versus the protests of the summer, have a conversation with them. If the protestors of the summer were considered vandals and looters, ask why the same language isn’t used now.
You may also be exhausted and exasperated and wonder when this will end. Changing the thoughts and practices that surround anti-Blackness will take time and intentional forward movement.