October 2022: If Not Now, When?
September was full of opportunities to reflect on white supremacy and racism. At our gatherings we examined, through Dr. Joy Degruy’s work, the ways white people have been desensitized and disconnected from our full humanity and ability to empathize for people who are racialized as Black. Thank you to those who were able to join us for those conversations! Out in the mainstream we saw the pushback against Disney casting a Black woman as Ariel in the live-action version of The Little Mermaid. And we experienced the death of Queen Elizabeth, the longest reigning monarch of an empire, one that has historical and contemporary relationships to colonialism and white supremacy. It's this last event that prompted a conversation with a CWC member, who explained: “I’m seeing a lot of criticism of the Queen on twitter coming from BIPOC folks who were impacted and brutalized by the actions of the Crown over the last 70 years. At the same time, I’m seeing pushback against that criticism from people, predominantly white people, claiming that now is not the time to bring that stuff up. But when will it come up if not now?” We want to use this observation as a springboard for our October reflection. We’ll explore the times that we have valued politeness and comfort over truth. Although we won’t have a specific prompt to watch or read together during the gatherings, you can use your reactions to this criticism of the monarchy as fuel to respond to the following questions:
When have I used or witnessed “now is not the time” being used to avoid the truth about racism and white supremacy?
What are the potential impacts on people who are racialized as BIPOC when we dismiss their feelings and experiences in favor of politeness or maintaining white comfort?
What are the potential impacts on white people when we dismiss the feelings and experiences of BIPOC in favor of politeness or white comfort?
What would it look and feel like if I embraced the messiness or unfamiliarity of any given racialized moment instead of saying, “Now is not the time.”?
When does the phrase “live and let live” apply to antiracism?
We look forward to exploring this topic in community with you!
“During (Queen Elizabeth's) reign, the BBC tells us, colonies "gained independence", but there's no mention of those who were imprisoned, shot and killed in the struggles...that were required to win it." – Afua Hirsch from her piece in The Guardian titled "This is a Britain That Has Lost its Queen - and the Luxury of Denial About Its Past”