Look at me in my eyes as I walk down the street with my headphones on, hip- hop music blasting, wishing that I could turn the music that much higher and blow permanent holes in my head for the release, to let off some of this steam in my head. Don’t tell me how you’re angry/sad/emotional/shut down/afraid/ unafraid/paralyzed/moved to action. I don’t have any space in my body for you. Look at me in my eyes. My hard stare? There’s a reason for it. Being half-white, that side of myself seduced me for a long time. That followed with me playing up the Mexican side of myself for boys, jobs, favors of all kinds. Wheeling out the white girl with the white-girl sounding name when it was better for business. However, shit started coming down on the Spic side of myself and I couldn’t duck my way out of it. No choice except to live with it. Note where I can do privileged figure eights in this world and where I can barely stand on two feet. And the noting never stops. If you’re in this work for real, the noting never stops. The naming never stops. You sit politely and listen to me talk about the importance of the noting, the importance of the naming and simply write me off as intense. Must be the Mexican side of myself, right? Yes, I’m bitter. But here’s the secret, my righteous and newly woke wanna-be activists: I’m not angry about this present President. I’m angry about how angry you get about this President. These past few months, you literally just discovered the devastating system behind the political curtain, blowing all of your delusions of comfort and blinders out of the water for the first time in your life. I mean, Flint still doesn’t have clean water, but that’s got nothing to do with our present President, so I should stay on topic, right? You tell me to wait, to be patient, to not conflate the issues. An angry Latina isn’t seemly, even one that’s only half. You tell me that first you’ll set up a nonprofit, that first you’ll lead this conference, that first you’ll run for office and then I’ll get what I deserve. I just need to be patient, to be quiet. You start organizations that aren’t staffed or led by the communities you supposedly serve. You take actions that are clumsy and not culturally competent. I just need to remain on hold as The Resistance grows. Then things will be different. At that time, the meek will surely inherit the earth. You dominate meetings and pay for everything so I sit, my tongue still between my teeth, except for when I occasionally point out the obvious. It goes unnoticed, because you demand unity now more than ever. But as I walk down the street, the hip-hop blasting and me reflecting on the years that I missed, I look you dead in the eyes. I want to see how much you note and name. You don’t notice the weight of my stare. You’re too preoccupied by, “taking a stand against the regime.” You’re very focused on, “giving a voice to the voiceless.”
You’re too lost in your busyness to note what you name and name what you note.
So much easier for you to shame and to gloat.