There's a storm that's raging, and it's not just in central North Carolina. Since yesterday, I've felt out of sorts, and finally pinpointed it to the rage I've been trying to ignore.
Rage that eight people, including six Asian women can be killed on a whim and what's being focused on is the murderer's sorry excuse of 'sexual addiction'? Rage that a customer chose to respond to my polite conversation yesterday in a loud voice with exaggerated hand gestures as if I wasn't speaking to him in English? Rage that time and again we as women, as people of color, as people in the service industry have to somehow justify our existence?
Whether we're selling chai, pedicures, medical knowledge or our bodies, as if that gives a boy with a chin beard or a man with a superiority complex the right to devalue our humanity. For those of you reading this who automatically reject this post because it doesn't apply to you or because you're not racist? Good for you - great for you, actually, since you will never have to experience what we do, sometimes on such a subliminal level that it doesn't hit home until later. But that means you have a responsibility: to speak up, to call out your parents or your partners that brush off remarks with, "it's not that serious". "You're imagining things". "Come on, where's your sense of humor?"
Racism and hate, like COVID-19, don't register until you're the one who contracts the virus, or your spouse is lying in the ICU, unable to breathe. Or it's your sister who got raped at gunpoint, and shot. Is this too harsh a read? Doesn't fit in with your image of me selling cookies and chai? Guess what - it takes years to build a skin so thick that I can thrive despite being dismissed as person of value. I sell you cookies, ask about your day, and listen about your therapy session, while inwardly still reeling from a racist comment made to put me in my 'place' just moments ago by someone else. 98 percent of my daily interactions are kind, genuine, and warm. But the 2 percent that aren't? Those hurt, even with a skin as thick as mine.
There is no neat finish to this post, no words of wisdom. Just know that everything you say and do affects someone else. Please make sure people remember you for the right reasons after they've met you. Please do, or at least say something when you are witness to incidents and hold people accountable. And please raise empathetic, kind humans - America desperately needs them.
Wife, mother, baker, jam maker, hug dispenser, reader.