On Being A Brat And Taking A Break From Writing About Race–Easy For a White Girl To Do

15 May

Writer's Block

no such thing as writer’s block.

I’ve been a brat. Not writing. Just ignoring this blog as if it wasn’t my responsibility to keep up with it, thinking, that’s okay, I’ll get back on track

I don’t have any excuses as to why I’m not writing either.  Well, I did recently learn that I didn’t get into an intensive Memoir Writing Workshop I applied for, and that dampened my spirit, but rejection is par for the course, so that is no excuse to slack. Writing excuses would be like the same reasons we say we will start exercising …tomorrow, or promise not to be too tired at night to have sex with our partners…tomorrow (you didn’t expect that one, I know), or purge our clothes closet and bring what we don’t need to the Goodwill..tomorrow.

Of course one might say, with me being a white woman writing about race relations, it just goes to show that puts me in the place of privilege to just “take a break” from writing about race when I feel like it. I’m not living the day-to-day experiences of being black in this country, which remains in the thick of huge racialized problems with the continuation of killings of black men.  Nor do I have to endure the micro-aggressions of racial comments and actions black people endure on a daily basis.

Yet, I assure you that while I may not be writing about all of the ills still occurring on a far too frequent basis, I now live my life constantly vigilant on the places where racism and racist acts are happening, and I continue to speak up, speak out, have difficult conversations on race, and educate myself so that I can be a part of the solution, a part of the breaking down of institutionalized racism, and racist talk and actions, instead of part of the problem.

The thing I have grappled with though is continuing on my way on this path of blogging, of staying the course, as I write about connections across color lines.  When I began the blog three years ago, I knew I wanted to write from a personal, non-academic, non-political place on what happens when connections are made across color lines–positive interactions, negative ones, ones where I’ve been awkward and stuck my foot in my mouth and have made patronizing statements to people of color.  I also saw the blog as part of my journey to discover why I’ve always been so attracted to black culture, and more importantly the very act of wanting to connect with black people throughout my life.

The purpose of the blog was not to solely write about racism, or to write solely from the viewpoint of an anti-racism activist. There are plenty of good blogs and sites that write on and feature current news on race and racism, including:  www.theroot.com, www.colorlines.comwww.blackgirlinmaine.com, www.debbyirving.com, www.racestoryrewrite.com.  I urge you to go read them.

Along the way between my learning more and more about racial constructs, the history of racism in this country, and with the never-ending bad news of senseless murders of black men that have gone unpunished, I have written more and more about these current tragic events, unable to not give voice to the horror that has so many feeling weighted down, and hopeless that things will ever get better.  I am grateful for the activists out there protesting for change and the people who understand the bigger picture and systems and how to effect greater change in that way. As I’ve said before here, I’ve always understood better the one-to-one exchange–what I see before me, the conversations I hear around me–that is what I feel I can tap into.

The times I have been called out on the blog for coming from a place of white privilege used to make me feel guilty and question my integrity.  I’ve since learned to get over myself, to own my words, to learn to listen to what people are saying and see if there were places where I should have phrased something differently, or simply open up a new way of looking at my thoughts through the eyes of a person of color on the receiving end of those words.

I try to always be hyper-vigilant about places where I observe micro-aggressions in the form of white people making patronizing statements to black people like “my best friend is black, so..” or when they invalidate a black person’s anger over yet another unarmed black man being killed by a police officer, by saying (and as I’ve said before, it’s amazing how I hear the same things said verbatim, over and over, so I can only imagine how black people feel), “well, what about black-on-black crime..” and “well, he was no angel..” and “well, if they didn’t wear their pants down around their ankles and talk like thugs…”  I engage in conversations, and question the person or people who are expressing these thoughts, with hopes that they will learn to look at things differently, to have empathy for and validate a black person’s experience, and that that will chip away at the racialized thoughts and ignorance of how personal,  systemic and institutional racism have left black people in a place of inequity, and in a place of danger.

So, I live this, even if I’m not writing about all of it, and there is so much more I could and should be doing.  I don’t say this to get all self-righteous, but perhaps it’s a talking out loud, to help me re-find my way here.  I want to write about the ways we connect across color-lines–our experiences where we connect face-to-face in our daily lives, the way we think about one another, and how we got to thinking that way, and how we see the now, and the future of race and race relations.  And I want to write about the culture of black life in an honorable way, because it has always been something that I have been attracted to from a very young age, and something that continues to enrich my life today.

Thank you for listening.  Please share your own thoughts of what it means for you to want to connect with people from different backgrounds and experiences, and with any suggestions for future writings on Wendy Jane’s Soul Shake.





4 Responses to “On Being A Brat And Taking A Break From Writing About Race–Easy For a White Girl To Do”

  1. Sherry Gordon May 15, 2015 at 11:34 am #

    Dear Wendy Jane,

    Hi, there, my dearly special and precious white sisterfriend who you are For Always so, so very much, Wendy Jane! I love this so brave and honestly sharing blog post article of yours, sister! Sister, I think and know that you can only do your very best. It is perfectly alright, okay, normal, and natural to be imperfect as a white person and as a white person writing your great blog, my friend! It is perfectly alright to just keep trying and to keep on keeping on, keeping faith and never every giving up on yourself, and that as a white woman and white woman who is a wonderful and diligent writer to For Always remember that progress, not perfection is the key and that is is so okay and normal and natural to be imperfect, my precious white sisterfriend, Wendy Jane! I love the picture of you with this marvelous blog post article of yours-it is just so cool and so funny, sister! I can just imagine and see in my mind’s eye and when I pray and meditate how I would be doing, thinking, and feeling the very same things as you do, sister, as a white woman and as a white woman who is a blog writer if I were a white woman in your shoes, sisterfriend! I am so pleased, thrilled, and touched and moved in my very heart, and in my very heart, soul, and spirit by your so courageously full of integrity honesty and sharing in this cool and inspirational blog post article, Wendy Jane!!!!!!

    Sister, is there another opportunity at a later date to reapply to get into the Intensive Memoir Writing Workshop, my friend? I wonder if they will reopen their membership at a later date, Wendy Jane, and if you can try again and to reapply? You would be such a perfect member for this, Wendy Jane! Hopefully, you can try again and reapply at a later date, sisterfriend!

    Precious white sisterfriend, Wendy Jane, I do think that you write in such an honorable way about how you want to so, so very earnestly connect across color lines as you so love and cherish us as black persons, and how you love and dearly value black culture, black education, black music, black entertainment, and black culture in a very general sense, my preciously dearest white sister! I love how you are ever vigilant to be aware of racism and discrimination with the often micro-aggressions against us as black persons, and how you are very valiant in supporting us, and acknowledging, validating, and advocating for us! You, sister, and this love and value you have for us in your very heart, and in your very heart, soul, and spirit mean so, so very much to me, sister!

    I love how you have had and will For Always continue to have such a love in your very heart for black culture, and I think this is a gift and a blessing which you have and that you were born with, sister, from our Good God!!!!!! I think of myself, sister, and how I have For Always had a love in my heart for white persons and will For Always have my love and outreach to white persons, very, very especially white women as the lesbian black woman who I am!!!!!! I wondered when I was a lot younger where did this intense love especially for white women come from and I have realized over all of these years that I was born this way as a gift and a blessing from our Good God, sister!!!!!! I can so relate to you, Wendy Jane, and how you have such a love towards the other way toward black persons and black culture, and how you often have wondered where your intense love for black persons and black culture has come from!!!!!! I really and truly do understand so, so very well and so, so very much, my white sisterfriend who you are For Always so, so very much, Wendy Jane!

    Again, I thank-you so, so very much straight from my very heart, and from my very heart, soul, and spirit for this so full of bravery and honest full of integrity blog post article of yours, sister!!!!!! Wow, do I love this blog post article, sisterfriend! Wendy Jane, please have a fantastically fun-filled Friday, and a wondrously wonderful weekend, my white friendsister!!!!!!

    Very Warmly and Sincerely For Always, my white sister, Wendy Jane, with Peace and Love To You For Always, my white friend, and Blessings and Even More Blessings To You For Always,

    Your lesbian black friendsister For Always in solidarity, Sherry Gordon

  2. karen kidd May 16, 2015 at 8:40 am #

    Wendy, I loved this article. Why aren’t the newspapers chomping at your tail–to entice you to write for them, is beyond my comprehension.
    You don’t owe anyone an excuse as to why you’ve been SLACKING. lol. JK.
    But, seriously–sometimes we all need a break, and it happens on a subconscious level. It’s not like you set out to purposely NOT write your blog. Sh*t happens, and life gets in the way.

    You’re doing a lot more than I, and a lot of Black people whom I personally know.
    Never apologize for being you and living in the moments of life that take us away from our perceived duties. Love ya’…
    And, wassup with the ROCK n’ ROLL picture?? LOL! <3 it!

    • Wendy Jane May 18, 2015 at 10:27 am #

      Hi Karen,

      Thank you so much for what you say here, and for always being so supportive. I can get down on myself, but the thing I am glad about is that though I may not always be writing about race and race relations, an awareness and call for equity for all races permeates my being and I am living my values on a daily basis. And, what, you don’t like my rock-n-roll pic?:) It was supposed to be my frustrated writer’s block face:)


Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. WJSS: Looking Back on 2015; Wishing To Find Hope | Wendy Jane's Soul Shake - December 31, 2015

    […] looking back, that I have not written as much this year as I have in years past.  In one post I wrote about just that, and don’t make excuses with regards to writer’s block, and do point out that as a […]

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: