Random (but not really)

Friday, October 16, 2020

Black. Lives. Matter.

I had a flagpole on my deck, and generally hung my US flag on US holidays and the WV flag on WV day.

Late this spring, I ordered two more flags: and LGBT Pride flag (Philadelphia) and a Black Lives Matter flag.

Black Lives Matter

It took more than a month, but my flags finally arrived, so early summer I hung up my BLM flag and left it up 24/7. (The US flag (as per US Flag Code) would up after sun rise, down at sunset, and didn’t go out if it was raining.)

I live on a high-traffic street, which is why I got the BLM flag.

I am a white woman in West Virginia, the third whitest state in the US. Yeah, where I live is more diverse than the rest of the state because of the university, but it’s still pretty damned white in here.

Racism is something I have had the privilege and luxury of ignoring—because it just wasn’t something that I saw. I knew it existed, but I didn’t see that there was much I could DO about it in my day-to-day life.

Then the Black Lives Matter movement happened, and I finally realized that it wasn’t enough to not be a racist, it was my responsibility to become anti-racist. Unfortunately, there was a lot going on personally for me, and I failed to do anything. (I have struggled with mental health issues since I was a teenager, and when things are difficult, I can manage going to work but little beyond that.)

But this spring was so awful, I realized that the ABSOLUTE MINIMUM I could do was put up signs, because I have white privilege and it is my responsibility to speak out against racism since it is predominantly a white problem. Yes, other types of racism exist, but in the US whites—particularly white men—have power and privilege and have blithely used that privilege to further consolidate wealth and power. And if you think that isn’t real, I invite you to research white housing covenants.

So I got my flag, and I hung it up and fretted that I should do more, but failed (mostly because of mental health issues).

Late summer I got an email from Gwen. Her mom had spent her life in WV politics and had worked with Mike Caputo, and so remembering that I’d put up signs in previous years asked if a sign for him could be put up in my yard.

Of course!

So the sign went up and I thought nothing more about it.

A month or so ago, the news was all about white supremacists harassing a BLM march in Preston county, and making Danielle Walker specifically a target. I realized (I’m slow sometimes) that I could ask about getting one of her signs to put in my yard. And up it went.

Earlier this week, we looked out to realize that someone has stolen the Danielle Walker sign from our yard AND come up to the deck, torn down our flagpole and stolen the BLM flag.

But they left the Mike Caputo sign.

If you’re not familiar with WV politics, Mike Caputo is a white male. Danielle Walker is a Black woman.

If you think racism is a thing of the past or that white privilege doesn’t exist, then not only have you not been paying attention, you have been willfully ignoring what has been going on around you for your entire life.

Which is, itself, white privilege.

Black Lives Matter

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