Dear Queer White People,
Nothing has really changed. While people are only recently feeling the impact of the last election, it’s business as usual for the rest of us who’ve spent our entire lives in oppression. People have been so quick to jump and assume that people of color are suffering more because of who currently has power in office, but the fact is if they were racist before the election, they were racist after it too, no matter how repressed or hidden it is. The same barriers that were there before still exist. I did just about the same thing I did every night on election night.
I didn’t have time to worry about what could happen because I already knew what was happening. People still had the audacity to ask, “why don’t ALL Lives Matter?” when you even think the words “Black Lives Matter”, are so clearly shocked when you speak properly and say “wow, you are so articulate?” as if it were a compliment (which it definitely isn’t), and don’t help you when you walk into stores, but follow you with their eyes because they don’t think you can buy anything, but they think you’re going to steal everything. The only difference? People are actually willing to talk about it now in some cases.
But then, not everyone is willing to talk about it. Minnesota is special in the way that they avoid any and all altercations and situations with a ten foot pool. With that comes the fact that you never actually know what people in Minnesota genuinely think about you because they’ll smile in your face but be thinking something completely different about you at the same time. It’s different from closed doors because they never say it, clinging onto the idea that they aren’t racist, but they’re still thinking these thoughts. So while Minnesotans are conflict averse, it’s the exact opposite in the South, where someone will look you dead in the eye and tell you “you’re not welcome here”, but at least you know what they truly think of you. One phrase that I grew up hearing was “oh, but not you.” Example: “Black people are so loud and ghetto, it’s rude”, and then they notice that you’re there, and they quickly add “oh, but not you.” Because you’re “so different” from your race and they’ve disassociated you with who you are, which raises the question: are they making those corrections when you’re not there?
The Greater Minneapolis area is dominated by white spaces, and most of us just have to do our best to fit. While we were growing up, we’re struggling to fit in, while also find our racial identity. There was never anyone who wanted to talk about it, the school never talked about it, and there was so little representation to look to because of the white dominated media. It’s only perpetuated as you grow up here because it’s so hard to make any type of connection here, racial or not, because of the Minnesotan culture of keeping to themselves. People will see or do something wrong and rather be a bystander than get involved or admit that they’ve done anything wrong. So why act like everything’s changed when only your outlook has?