who thinks "there is a time and a place to talk about social justice and inequality"
It’s interesting how here and now is never that place or time for you. If you allowed it in, you might begin to feel the exhaustion of trying to maintain your bubble of comfort and appropriateness. You might notice how much energy you spend keeping those tough conversations at bay -- or shouting down those trying to have them. You might see that my existence doesn’t endanger yours.
The time is very much now, and the place is very much this moment. Every. Single. Moment. This conversation belongs everywhere. You can choose to ignore the truth that there is not a single aspect of your life that is not touched by the brilliantly designed oppression that imprisons us all, but that doesn’t make it untrue.
The truth does not care if you want to see it or if you’re ready for it. It’s not designed to fit your world view. It just is. You can duck out the back, but it will be waiting for you there, too. The truth has arrived and your decades-long denial of it has left you profoundly unprepared to integrate it. I don’t envy you that. Truly, I don’t.
The United States was made by able-bodied, white, cis-gendered, heterosexual, land-owning men for the benefit of those same men. I know that’s a tough one. None of us wants to think that the “people” in those founding documents were clearly intended to be white people. Male people. People who are not disabled. Men who love women who “look like women” and who will procreate to, ideally, make more cis-gendered, able-bodied white men who will keep voting and killing the rest of us out of existence. None of us benefits from this. Not even those men. We are all suffering. I know you feel it.
If you are brave enough—and you may not believe that you are—look inside yourself and tell me that you feel free inside your walls of who and what belongs, of who and what matters, of who and what deserves to be heard, and when and how. And then ask yourself if you’re willing to keep building those sandcastles in this rising tide.
We’ve all been duped. You’re not alone, but you will be soon if you keep on with that story of yours about how this doesn’t affect you or fit in this moment or that moment.
Just like Odysseus and countless “heroes’ before and after him, no matter what you choose to do, you will likely be saved from yourself by people of color and fierce women who know that it’s all of us or none of us when it comes to liberation. Perhaps I can appeal to your deep desire to say that it was your idea all along. Take the credit if you have to, but also, please take this invitation -- before anyone else has to spend their love and energy saving you from the damage your fear and imagined smallness continue to lay at our feet.
The distance you put between you and the millions of incarcerated people, between you and the Black, queer, transwoman murdered for existing, between you and the person who can’t make eye contact with you because their trauma is too great. It’s a lie. There is no distance. We are all in this together.
So, listen. You can keep pretending that you don’t know any of this. Your imagination honestly never ceases to amaze me. Even so, I need you to know that I’m bone-tired of this parallel play where your game is about denying my existence and my game is about preventing my extinction.
We have generations of healing to do. All of us. In all places. In all moments. It’s time to forgive yourself for missing the point on purpose and for prioritizing your own story. You’re only slowing the arrival of the day when we are all liberated from the deception that makes this letter necessary.
We need you and the heart you don’t believe can do this. The place is here. The time is now.