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Get Woke, America


The Ups, Downs and Sideways of Working Motherhood

Get Woke, America

Alex Steinman

It’s taken some time to gather my thoughts about what happened last week. I've been cycling through the stages of grief, hoping acceptance will stick, so I can go back to playing dinosaurs with my toddler. I'm realizing I will never rest in acceptance for the way things are because feeling afraid in my own neighborhood is unacceptable. Electing a bigot with white supremacist friends has given a voice to loud, angry white people who feel the rise of one group is the demise of the rest. 

I did a little social detox over the weekend because sifting through the hate tweets and Facebook fights was emotionally draining. I only half-wish I was knee deep in actual human shit and not metaphorical political feces. You can only read so much garbage before you start to lose hope in humanity. I can’t say I was shocked by the hate streaming out of adults and kids alike. After all, this country was built on the backs of slaves. What shocked me was my own emotional response. I didn't know how vulnerable I was until I realized my mixed-race family could be in danger. I've purposely avoided gas stations in primarily white neighborhoods, walked to my car with my head down, and have gotten out of an elevator with a group of white people, fearing the consequences of my skin color. This is not normal. This is not a great America. It's not hyperbole or exaggeration. Hate speech and crimes are happening all across the country. Twice, kids in my hometown have been racist aggressors. KIDS. The guy isn't even officially president yet.

After having to explain privilege to pretty much everyone I know, I'm exhausted. I've seen enough white girl tears to fill a kiddie pool. I don't mind educating white people, so here goes: racism in America is not new news to the oppressed. Trump winning is not shocking. Now, process that quickly and get on board, so we can change this reality. As a black mother of two under two, I'm fierce AF and ready to take action. Move with me or move out of the way.

Hundreds of activist groups are popping up seeking to fundraise, support, boycott and protest any number of things. I want to do all of them. I just have to be home in time to make macaroni, wipe butts and read a feminist bedtime story. Time will sort it out, but the people on the right side of humanity need a leader. Someone to unite us all under a cause that's stronger than hate, yet more concrete than love. If you're feeling this kind of paralysis, here are four things to do:

  1. Educate yourself. Your black friends are tired of carrying you. Process your privilege quickly, so we can finally fight oppression together. 
  2. READ news from real sources. Remember when you used to do current events in social studies? Do that. Make informed decisions based on facts, not slant.
  3. Donate to rights-based organizations. We haven't experienced this kind of suggested sweeping policy change in our lifetime. If these human rights laws get overturned, the organizations that uphold them will need your support.
  4. Stay active in politics and civic engagement. Know your representatives, call them and attend town halls, and for shit sake, vote in 2018.

This isn't all that's to be done, but it's the first step in your own personal process. Get woke. We've got work to do.