Racism is not limited to derogatory slurs and intentional bigotry—to be merely silent and polite is the same as participating directly in the hatred. There is no “neutral” when it comes to racism. Your silence speaks volumes.
There is security in white stillness.
Warmth in the familiarity of white
Blissful ignorance between the veil that
covers true sentiment in dismantling
It is easy to stay still.
To simply flow within the waters of a system
built by your own, for your own.
Harder to move towards equity, to act with
intention toward fairness, to exist as more
than your privileged existence.
And yet some of us cannot afford to sit
idle. To be comfortable. To feel warm and
unknowing in the depths of the cold, brutal
world that behaves against us.
Some of our existence warrants that we act,
that we speak up, that we fight.
Do you know what it feels like
For your life
To be inherently a social stance
For every breath to be resistance to a system
that suffocates you?
For some of us movement grants that one
day, maybe, we can afford to be still.
That we can afford to exist as who we are
And not what we mean.
For some of us movement means shredding
the veil of racism amongst our peers
Amplifying their violent voices
Echoing their empty hearts and revealing that
they will not move for you.
They will not abandon their security for you.
They will not release the anchor of racism.
That they believe your life is not enough for the death of their stillness.
And in the lack of security that ravishes the
unfortunate, we find that in us is the strength of
movement. That we still make the world move.
That in us is the force that pushes those that stay
still to sway.
We may not be afforded the luxury of
complacency, of constant reassurance,
of a world that shelters us.
But we are strong enough to exist as a
To breathe life inside us when outside
wants us dead
To move through systems created to
force us to stay put
To be a rippling current in idle water.
words_nailah edmead. design & illustration_olivia ginsberg.
This article was published in Distraction’s fall 2020 print issue.