Yesterday's shutdown of I-93 here in Boston caused many people to come out of silence about #blacklivesmatter. Most of the new voices I heard were furious about protesters stopping up a major highway.
It also caused people who had previously supported Black Lives Matter to say "Look, I support the movement, but this is ridiculous/stupid/unhelpful."
It was like Black Lives Matter stopped being something cute and ignoreable. Now it was in our faces.
We are trying to bring down a system of racialized power and oppression that was designed to keep power out of the hands of Black people. This system has worked extremely well. In fact, it's worked so well that to maintain our system of racialized privilege, we only need to keep doing what we're doing. From our highest echelons of power to our lowest castes, we all play our part in maintaining racism.
Do we believe that a system of power like that, that operates almost silently, and quite smoothly on an individual, social, institutional, and systemic level, is going to go quietly?
No, if we believe that Black Lives Matter AND that we live in a society that doesn't yet adhere to that statement, then we'd better dig in for inconvenience. We're talking about uprooting a 400 year old, healthy, well-rooted tree here. The birds and squirrels are going to have to be inconvenienced.
Did I feel a moral calling to stand up for racial justice last week? Then inconvenience won't sway me from my position today. That's the thing about a moral compass. If it can be swayed by inconvenience, then either I was misreading it or my compass wasn't calibrated correctly in the first place.
Instead of wringing our hands about "Why wasn't (insert action here) done better/perfectly," let's ask ourselves what we can do, individually and collectively, in the places we are, with the identities we have, with the tool we have, to dismantle the tree of racism. And let's dig in for inconvience.