Life + Health

Rage.

Stop Killing Us (Mila Jam)

Photograph © Mila Jam, 2020

I’ve written this post before, and I know I’ll write it again, and I think that knowledge is largely why I feel exhausted by the thought of writing it all down now.

That exhaustion is my privilege. I’m a white woman living in a country that was built for the success and safety of white people. So I get to feel exhausted and change the channel or close my laptop and get on with my day.

You know the story by now: George Floyd was murdered by a pig named Derek Chauvin, who spent 18 years with the Minneapolis Police Department. As Chauvin compressed Floyd’s carotid artery by kneeling on his neck for nine minutes, three other Minneapolis police officers—Thomas Lane, Tou Thao, and J Alexander Kueng—took turns standing idly by and doing nothing and kneeling on George Floyd’s back.

Now George Floyd is dead. George Floyd is dead because this is a country with a criminal justice system that is stacked from bottom to top to not only to give a pass to those in positions of law enforcement, but to ensure that the lives of Black people living in America are filled with as much trauma and as many obstacles to success—and I mean success on every level, not only economic—as possible.

That’s how this country works. That’s how it’s worked from the day the very first disease-ridden, colonizing looters arrived in Jamestown to the day George Floyd called out for his mother as he lay dying in the street outside a grocery store in Minneapolis.

We Are Living in a Police State (Gordon Parks)

Photograph © Gordon Parks, 1963

That’s how this country worked when Eric Garner had the life choked out of him by a cop after being accused of selling a loose cigarette. That’s how this country worked when Trayvon Martin was murdered by a man who only wished he was a cop while walking in his own neighborhood. That’s how it worked when Sandra Bland died in a jail cell after a routine traffic stop. That’s how it worked when Philando Castile was shot by a cop seven times a point blank range after being pulled over for a having a broken taillight. That’s how it worked when Breonna Taylor was shot eight times by cops with a no-knock warrant that turned up nothing. And that’s how it worked when 12-year-old Tamir Rice decided to play with a toy gun at a park and was murdered by a cop within two seconds of arriving on the scene.

This post would be many times longer if I kept going with the names of Black individuals who have had their lives needlessly taken from them at the hands of police (and former police, and people cosplaying as police), and then that list would multiply exponentially if we knew the names of the thousands upon thousands of Black lives lost before the era of cell phone cameras. And what if we were to factor in all of the instances of brutality? The list would never end. On and on and on and on.

And for what, exactly?

It’s not just about maintaining the myth of a society where “law and order” reign supreme. No, it’s about maintaining the entire structure of a society that was built on land stolen from the indigenous and built on the backs of the enslaved. It’s about maintaining white power, in every sense of those words.

Stop Police Terrorism (Devin Allen)

Photograph © Devin Allen, 2015

It doesn’t begin and end with police brutality. It extends to every aspect of Blackness in America, from the school-to-prison pipeline to healthcare to Jim Crow to redlining to voting access to hairstyles to advertising to literature to education to entertainment to housing to just walking down the fucking street and existing. And I have the gall to say I’m exhausted? I need to shut up.

This is a deeply racist country, and that did not begin with the sociopathic white supremacist who currently holds the office of President of the United States of America. And no, it will not end when Trump eventually leaves the White House, whether by election or force or death. It will not end until we break down the entire system and start over. No amount of photos of cops hugging protestors will lead to systemic change.

If you’re white, you need to take some time to think about what it means to have gone through your life with the basic privilege of having the skin color you do. Whether you grew up in poverty or with a medical condition or with any kind of other hindrance to success—Black people in America face those things, too, and in greater numbers than anyone else. And they do it while being the target of so many forms of racism on every step of the ladder. Your whiteness alone has been your advantage. Don’t ever forget that. It’s not about whether your ancestors owned slaves. Your existence as a white person in America benefits from 400 years of Black oppression.

This is not a post about what to do. There are plenty of those out there, and if you care enough to take action—whether through protesting, taking political action, donating to groups supporting protestors, changing your buying habits, making sure your children grow up to be actively anti-racist, or any of the other countless ways you can affect change—you’ll find that information. This post is me asking you to stop and THINK. To put aside defensiveness and move past your exhaustion and put some serious thought into what kind of society you want to live in.

BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK DREAMS MATTER. BLACK FUTURES MATTER. BLACK MEN MATTER. BLACK WOMEN MATTER. BLACK ARTISTS MATTER. BLACK WRITERS MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER.

*ETA: A loved one brought something up with me after reading this post, and I want to address it. I recognize that not everyone reading this post is Black OR white. There are a mélange of races and colors and religions and cultures and combinations of all of the above who live in America, and the experiences of each of these groups are unique and valid. I recognize that Black people are not the only casualties of racism in this country, just as I recognize that the perpetuation of Black-targeted racism is not limited to white people. Know that I see you. That said, I do not feel equipped to speak to anyone but white people when it comes to calling out systemic racism, because I can never understand what it means to be on the other side of that line.

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60 Comments

  • Reply Robert Thomas June 1, 2020 at 10:28 pm

    Thank you xx

  • Reply Kim B June 2, 2020 at 1:02 am

    Very powerful Anna, you are such a good writer.

    Thank you for using your platform in this way.

  • Reply Megan June 2, 2020 at 4:54 am

    THIS is why I missed you blogging the last few years. The design stuff is wonderful, but this is the content I missed.

  • Reply Liz Woodbury June 2, 2020 at 5:00 am

    Thank you for this, it beautifully articulates what I find it so hard to find a way to say.

  • Reply karmen June 2, 2020 at 6:58 am

    Are you still a big Morrissey fan? He’s racist trash. Do you separate the ~art from the ~artiste? Do a post on this.

    • Anna Dorfman June 2, 2020 at 7:04 am

      I’ve gotten into this on social media (I wasn’t actively blogging when the Britain First lunacy started), but I don’t know if I have enough worthwhile to say to warrant a blog post on the subject in a way that wouldn’t just be about myself. He is deeply racist, yes, and I am beyond disgusted by his refusal to see the reality of his own bigotry. I highly recommend this article written by Black journalist (and former Morrissey fan) Joshua Surtees.

    • karmen June 2, 2020 at 11:46 am

      So are you still a fan?

      I can understand if you would prefer not to do a post about this now because it’s more important to amplify Black voices and to listen to what they have to say.

      But a future post on Morrissey and shining a light on how you’ve grown (if you have) from being a huge fan would say to your followers that a) you’re a white woman who is now acknowledging he’s a POS and b) you can discard your love of his music because at the end of the day his racism and hatred override his contributions to art/culture/music. It’s up to white ppl to say something in these scenarios. If you don’t think that’s worthwhile of your blog real estate then you are a part of the problem.

    • Anna Dorfman June 2, 2020 at 11:57 am

      Karmen, I don’t think I’m at a place yet where I can clearly articulate where I’m at personally regarding Morrissey in the form of a blog post. That’s because I don’t actually believe it’s possible to “separate the art from the artist” (a bullshit phrase people love to trot out as an excuse), ESPECIALLY if it’s someone who’s had an enormous impact on your moral development for decades. If I tried to get there now, it would be a diatribe about my feelings going back to my adolescence, and I don’t think it benefits anyone for me to try to work all of that out in writing. This isn’t me trying to preserve blog “real estate” (not sure what that means, exactly—I’ll post anything on my blog that I think is worth posting; it’s not like there’s a posting limit), it’s me being honest about what I’m capable of doing well at this point in time. I try to be pretty careful about not just puking up words without really understanding what I’m saying or what I want to convey, especially when it’s about something like race. And yes, OF COURSE I’m part of the problem, just like I’m part of the problems addressed in this post.

      I realize this reply might not give you the satisfaction you want, but that’s the best I can do right now while remaining honest.

  • Reply Sara June 2, 2020 at 8:09 am

    Thank you, Anna. I’ve been struggling. I’m so sad and disappointed with people I love and thought I knew. Disappointed in myself that I don’t have the words to help them understand enough to just crack open a tiny bit and educate themselves. I told my daughter that I don’t know how she’s done this every single day; the strength she must have to just get up and do life. I want to cry and cry, but that does nothing and makes no difference. I realize that nothing about this is about me, and know enough to keep my fingers still when Black people post their thoughts. We – white people who want to be allies – need to figure out how to harness our guilt and shame. My hope is that we can use it to grind away our complacency, so we can hone ourselves into warriors fit enough to guard the flanks and backs of those in the front, leading the change. We have stayed silent and still far too long.

  • Reply Chaucea June 2, 2020 at 8:17 am

    God damn. Those were intense, fierce, amazing words. Took my breath away. Absolutely fucking beautiful. Thank you!! ❤

  • Reply Judi June 2, 2020 at 9:36 am

    I love that you’re calling people to stop and think. I have been examining my own white privilege for some time now and, while it’s not always comfortable, it’s necessary (and it’s led to some changes in the way I approach my life and the lives of those around me). Yes, our nation–still, I believe, a nation with the potential to be a great experiment in democracy–was founded on the backs, and the labor, of people kept from power. The idea that we still cannot comfortably share that power confounds me.

    What I have a problem with is your use of the term “pig,” because of its history as a derogatory term. As a Jew, especially as a Jew in the very middle of Donald Trump’s America, I’m acutely aware of the power of language and how it can be weaponized against groups of people. Not all police officers are bad (as we know from some of the events of the past week); and I’m sure you remember, as I do, some pretty great Brooklyn beat cops. Maybe it’s just me, but I think I hear you implying that all, or most, cops are “pigs.” Am I wrong? Looking forward to your answer; thank you for providing us all with a space for discussion!

    • Anna Dorfman June 2, 2020 at 9:42 am

      Judi, I am vehemently opposed to the system of policing and to American police on the whole. There was a great piece by
      Victoria Gagliardo-Silver in The Independent yesterday
      that articulates this stance far better than I ever could.

      And yes, I believe that ALL cops are complicit in upholding white supremacy, regardless of whatever good intentions they may have.

    • Allison June 2, 2020 at 11:19 am

      I agree with Anna. Especially from my perspective as a Jew from the middle of the country (West Virginia).

    • Judi June 2, 2020 at 1:12 pm

      Thank you so much for this, Anna. I admit that I had not thought of the issue in this way, which is stupid, because if I am complicit in institutional racism, then…etc. I just don’t know what to do with this, since (Allison, this is partly in reply to you) I’m in SW MO and we have some great, great cops here…we have off-duty cops who guard our synagogue and some of their stories of fighting for justice from inside the system are pretty incredible. I also grew up in a country (West Germany, at that time) which saw the job of the police force as very different from the way it is seen here. (Of course, that different focus only came about because of the previous horrors resulting from the same kind of complicity.)

      I do think that if we are ever able to pursue radical police reform, it will only be after we abolish the idiotic gun culture that’s here (and that I just do not get, having not grown up in a country with the same kind of obsession).

    • Anna Dorfman June 2, 2020 at 1:19 pm

      Gotta be honest here, Judi—I don’t think any white person in America is in a position to determine whether or not a cop is “great.” Our experience with the police is inherently NOT the same as the experience of Black Americans.

    • Judi June 5, 2020 at 3:10 pm

      I thought about this for a couple days, and (after a lot of soul searching): You’re right. I can say that I think, according to my ethics and values, that someone is a good *person*–and if someone is working to make ALAANA victims of domestic violence more seen, heard, and cared for, I think they are–but I do not have the right to say they are a good *cop.* Wishing that I did have that right does not make it so. So now, as I work toward equity for all (because that’s my job as an American), as well as examining my privilege, I am also now examining my rights and where I might be exercising rights I actually do not have, or at least should put on hold for a while until others have them, too. Speaking of: Take a look at Darren Walker (the head of the Ford Foundation)’s interview yesterday, if you haven’t seen it already: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elV4535dvgs. And Anna, thank you for challenging me/us.

  • Reply Aileen Baker June 2, 2020 at 11:06 am

    I have found myself intermittently crying the majority of the past several days, and am gripped with both constant gratitude and abject fury at living in a world where so many people do not have the same basic living experiences that I am so privileged to not have to earn: getting to walk down a dark road with my hands in my pockets, getting to enjoy my hairstyle and name; getting to know my parents because they don’t languish in prison….

    THANK YOU. For reminding us that having hurt feelings by needing to confront our own internalized racism is necessary work. For reminding us that change must be aggressively driven forward, not gently nudged. For the reminder that we can believe in justice by understanding that racism is the worst kind of injustice; and any system or structure that upholds it deserves all the scrutiny we can launch at it.

    Black. Lives. MATTER.

  • Reply Heidi June 2, 2020 at 1:40 pm

    Thank you.

  • Reply Jastity June 2, 2020 at 3:27 pm

    Powerful post Anna.

  • Reply Carla June 2, 2020 at 11:27 pm

    I disagree with all of this post from my own political standpoint, but I’m not going to go into that. I just want to say you’re allowed to think what you think, and even think I’m a racist and privileged, and gosh darn it I still love your blog.

    Patiently waiting for the final kitchen blog post reveal! I absolutely love your home posts, hope you keep doing those, but I understand if you don’t want to interrupt this message (black lives matter) with that. Best to you!

    • Anna Dorfman June 3, 2020 at 5:58 am

      You disagree that these factual events occurred because of your political standpoint? You think that cop knelt on George Floyd’s neck for nine minutes for a good reason because of your political standpoint? You think a child in a park deserved to be shot dead because of your political standpoint?

      Or you just don’t think racism has anything to do with centuries of Black injustice because of your political standpoint?

      You might want to rethink your political standpoint, because it’s killing people.

    • Carla June 3, 2020 at 6:14 am

      You’re trying to get me to fight. I’m not going to. I get why you’re angry about George Floyd and all those other people – what happened to them was totally wrong. It’s fine with me if you believe I’m a racist, or part of the problem or whatever. I still think you and this blog are great, and my opinion on that is not going to change. Best to you.

    • Anna Dorfman June 3, 2020 at 6:23 am

      Carla, you came on my blog and stated that you disagree with this whole post for political reasons but that you’re still ok with it because you like my kitchen. You can fuck all the way off with trying cutesy up your comment by telling me how much you like my blog. I don’t care.

      Listen to your language: “part of the problem or whatever” “I get why you’re angry” …are YOU not angry, Carla? Why do YOU think this keeps happening OVER AND OVER AND OVER? What do YOU think the reason is? Stop trying to make this about defending yourself. Take yourself out of it. Tell me what you believe without talking about about yourself. Can you do that?

    • Anna Dorfman June 3, 2020 at 6:31 am

      And by the way, Carla, you could’ve just said nothing. Don’t give me this victim shit about me trying to get you to fight. Stop the games. If you disagree but literally have NOTHING to contribute to the conversation other than complimenting my kitchen, just keep scrolling.

    • Carla June 3, 2020 at 7:04 am

      Ok. I guess I just wanted to show you that even though I don’t necessarily think all this anger and rage is helping anything, I still accept that you feel this way and still, love what you create. You want to think that people like me are awful people, and we are not. But I guess it was misguided of me to think that you would, in any way, understand.

      I will stop being cutesy here and let you have the last word on how terrible I am and how I can go to hell – go do your thing.

    • Anna Dorfman June 3, 2020 at 7:14 am

      So you’re incapable of articulating anything you DO believe, then, is that correct? And the ONLY way you’re able to process any of this is by putting yourself in the center as a victim? What is it you want me to understand? You’ve literally said ZERO WORDS about what you believe, only that you “disagree with all of this post from my own political standpoint.” You haven’t expressed any actual beliefs, only your feelings about yourself. Who are “people like you,” Carla? White women? Because I am also a white woman. Tell me what you believe is the cause of four centuries of Black injustice and murder in this country. Explain it to me. Tell me why I’ve got it all wrong.

      I’m waiting.

    • Carla June 3, 2020 at 7:26 am

      Why does it matter what I believe? Maybe I believe in my family. Maybe I believe in peace. Maybe I believe that most people are good people. Why do you believe I am a part of the problem because I don’t want to participate in the screaming match that has become American politics? I literally just want to do my job to the best of my ability, raise my family, and be the best person wife I can. Why do I have to pick a side on this? Please tell me.

    • Anna Dorfman June 3, 2020 at 7:34 am

      It matters because you and your family live in a society where people depend on individuals other than themselves in order to live a life where basic needs are met. Nothing in your life would exist without other people’s labor and knowledge and work. THAT is why it matters. You cannot excuse yourself from the rest of the world just because you think you’re a “good person.”

      Those basic things you want for yourself and your family? Those are the basic things everyone wants. The problem is that achieving those most basic needs—life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness—is incrementally harder for Black Americans because of systemic racism. Period. If you “believe in peace,” as you say, then do the work to help this country get to a place where peace for ALL Americans is even a remote possibility. That’s a reality that has never existed.

      Carla, YOU are the one who decided to come on my blog and announce that you disagree with…I have no idea what you disagree with, honestly, because you’ve still said nothing of substance regarding your beliefs. You just disagree, and you want me to know that. You decided to do that. You felt like it was necessary.

      That was your choice, and you don’t get to act like you’re some kind of victim here just because you tried to stir a pot without being able to reach the handle.

    • Carla June 3, 2020 at 8:05 am

      So, are you saying that I’m not allowed to just, be a good person, focus on my life and the people around me and making it the best it can be, unless I also fight until every little bit of racism is gone from the world? When is that going to happen? Is there going to be some sort of “batsignal” – warning, person over here might have possibly been racist to this guy, Carla swoop in and take him down! We’re never going to get there!

      What I’m saying is, where is all this anger getting us? We already had a lot of protests over this and obviously, it didn’t work. It didn’t get through to this cop. It’s probably going to happen again. Meanwhile, this is taking our attention away from those whom we love most, to post angry comments on blogs.

      I am seriously done here, I have obviously not gotten through to you and this is a waste of all of our time. I still will read your blog and like it! Deal with it!

    • Anna Dorfman June 3, 2020 at 8:13 am

      My belief, Carla, is that not caring about anything other than yourself is unethical. It’s immoral. I believe it’s counter to everything that makes life worth living. Your resignation to living in a world where everyone can suffer (as long as Carla is happy, of course, and gets to read the blogs she likes) is disgusting. I was raised to care about the world beyond myself, and I believe it is my JOB as a person living in a world with other humans to speak up and act when human rights are violated.

      And you have gotten through to me, Carla. You’ve made it exceptionally clear that you could not care less about anyone’s rights other than your own. That’s a helluva hill to die on. I hope it was all worth it for you in the end.

    • Carla June 3, 2020 at 4:43 pm

      If it’s your job to care about every single human rights violation that ever occurs or has occurred in the world, boy, I’m so glad I’m not you! That’s a full time job and then some! Doesn’t it get tiring, being angry all the time and caring so much about this stuff?

      Maybe you’re right that I’m selfish for caring more about myself and my own family than for people I have never met who happen to stumble into the crosshairs of misfortune. But I happen to believe that 99.9% of people in this world are good people, doing the best they can. Most of the cops out there are good, most of the African Americans out there are good, everyone’s just doing their best. I’d rather focus on what is good in the world than the darkness.

      Until next time!

    • Anna Dorfman June 3, 2020 at 5:19 pm

      “Doesn’t it get tiring, being angry all the time and caring so much about this stuff?”

      My god. Listen to yourself. Would you ask a Black American this question? Seriously, would you? If not, why? Because you believe it’s the job of Black people to be angry all the time. You think it’s their job to care about how this country has failed them. It comes down to that, doesn’t it? You don’t want to risk being upset or angry or uncomfortable at all, ever, since it’s your privilege as a white person to not have to deal with these things. You earned that, right?

      This is disgusting, Carla, and I think on some level you probably know it. You are quite literally describing why you’re not a “good” person in your quest to prove that that “bad” people basically don’t exist. You’re also demonstrating just how racist you are by dismissing the the very real, very serious problem this country has with racism on ALL levels, simply because you don’t care. That’s all it is: You just don’t care. Your hyperbolic all-or-nothing stance on compassion has led you to decide that the answer is nothing, which, frankly, sounds like a miserable life.

      How many blogs and social media posts have you spent time making your case for nihilism on over the past week? Do you feel like you’re winning people over to your important cause?

      I don’t want to ever see your name in my comments again. I can’t block you from reading my blog, but know that you’re not welcome here.

    • Jen June 4, 2020 at 1:19 pm

      Carla, do you really think centuries of oppression is because black people “happen to stumble into the crosshairs of misfortune?” Do you honestly think that a cop kneeling on a black man’s neck for nine minutes while he said he can’t breathe and begged for his mama is stumbling into the crosshairs of misfortune? Do you think if George Floyd had been white he’d still be dead because it was just a random misfortune that had nothing to do with skin color? Remember how white protestors armed with semi-automatic weapons swarmed state capitals to protest the shelter-in-place orders? Nothing happened to them. Can you honestly say that if they were black men the result would have been the same? How do you think a group of heavily armed black men would be met? Looking away is certainly much easier, because then you do not have to disrupt your life in any way to even really see, let alone do anything about the oppression of black people. But if you cannot honestly face these kinds of questions, the reality is you will continue to be deeply complicit in a system that hurts and kills other people, and that’s ultimately antithetical to true peace and love.

      Those whose default state is complacency, those who have only been half-assing the work absent an incendiary event like the murder of George Floyd are the ones who bear responsibility for this tidal wave of rage. I’m looking squarely in the mirror here, because I am one of those people. So many of us do not step up until videos of murder and brutality make the rounds (which black people then have to see over and over in the news and on social, thereby compounding the trauma). We’re all complicit, probably because being anti-racist demands time, labor, risk, and LOSS. You cannot give up white privilege and not lose things. So the question I keep asking myself is, what am I willing to lose in the name of real equality? My answers continue to be fueled by fear and, frankly, cowardice. Facing that ugly reality is the first step to moving beyond it. To all white people, I highly recommend Layla Saad’s book Me and White Supremacy, not just to read, but to do the actual journaling. As she says, it’s soul work, and you will have to face your shadow self. That’s the most important call-out each of us will ever make.

    • Anna Dorfman June 4, 2020 at 1:28 pm

      Thank you for this, Jen. Including the recommendation for Saad’s book.

  • Reply Fiona June 3, 2020 at 7:21 am

    Thanks for your work, Anna. that’s really powerful. I didn’t watch the video of George Floyd dying. My worst nightmares couldn’t confront the truth and I know that is profound white privilege. I was protesting at the American embassy last Saturday and will be next weekend. I hope the US gets some justice and peace soon.

    • Chris September 7, 2020 at 10:46 am

      Hi Fiona, I didn’t watch it either, and in recent months since George Floyd was murdered have read a lot of Black writers and activists speaking of how watching what are essentially snuff films of Black people is part of (the ongoing) white supremacy. I will continue to not watch Black people being murdered. I know they were murdered; I don’t need to watch. Neither do you.

    • Anna Dorfman September 7, 2020 at 11:08 am

      Right on, Chris. I really wish (white) people would be more considerate—in the truest sense of the word—when it comes to sharing these videos. This recent FB post from Francesca Ramsey really says it all.

      Francesca Ramsey FB post

  • Reply Reba June 3, 2020 at 7:53 am

    Thank you for posting (and crediting!) these beautiful images on your platform and articulating again, a bit of what white privilege means. Still incredible that people think you speaking up on the system of racial inequality and state violence is “political” (it’s a democrat vs. republican issue) rather than a matter of actual human lives. (Also what is a “person wife” Aren’t you just a person???)

  • Reply brenda June 3, 2020 at 10:16 am

    soOOoo well said – as an educator for 35+ years (now professionally retired) it’s taught me just how little I know, how shockingly much more there is to learn and to keep showing up to listen and hear … when I don’t listen, I get it wrong … it’s humbling … every day … and yes, exhausting. Fuel. Up. Thoughts on Morrissey, et al; they are examples of hubris meeting a nemesis that would take lifetimes to assess. Again exhausting. Some things are worth it … other things – not so much. I like how you pick your topics and your fights.

    • Anna Dorfman June 3, 2020 at 10:58 am

      Sometimes I think back to what I believed was progressive thinking when I was a teenager (or hell, even when I was in my 20s and 30s), and I’m relieved that I have indeed learned a whole hell of a lot since then. I see it in my parents, too, who have always been progressives but now even more so. That gives me some comfort—not for myself, but for the whole country. Because despite how close to the surface all of this is right now, I do think that people are capable of listening/learning/growing for their entire lives.

      FWIW, I do think that the whole Morrissey thing isn’t something I should just dismiss (and who knows, maybe it will warrant a blog post at some point). It’s something I literally think about every day. It does matter, but because it’s so personal to me, I don’t know that it’s something I necessarily need to work through publicly. I know myself well enough to make that choice.

    • brenda June 3, 2020 at 7:12 pm

      sounds like we’ve been fortunate to have had parents who were life-long learners … I swear I watched my parents both self-actualize in retirement … or was it me because of them … or is that what I even saw. Gosh I don’t know that there’s enough time in our lifetime to go back over all the things. I’m listening to Old in Art School by Nell Painter right now … I’m thinking … that’s when and how to go back to school and stand up to all the know-it-alls. lol would anyone even know it if they knew it all. Let’s at least hope some transformative growth takes place soon with all this … compost … thanks for your thoughtful reply AND being so en pointe in your post and in the comments, too

  • Reply Nancy Smith June 3, 2020 at 11:12 am

    Thank you for this articulate post, Anna. I wish Carla had been as articulate.
    So, the new Karen is Carla.

    • Lisa June 7, 2020 at 1:38 pm

      Thank you for this Anna and thank you Nancy Smith! It’s true.

  • Reply maria del campo June 3, 2020 at 3:00 pm

    thank you ❤️

  • Reply doorot June 3, 2020 at 11:39 pm

    Very powerful Anna. Thank you.

  • Reply Libby June 4, 2020 at 4:57 pm

    Thank you for this.

  • Reply Kate June 4, 2020 at 9:27 pm

    Phenomenal post.

  • Reply Kelly June 7, 2020 at 7:04 pm

    Thank you for this post. I am a white person who has been aware of police brutality and systemic and institutional racism for years (The attack on Rodney King happened when I was in high school), but the murder of George Floyd and the aftermath have forced me to listen and read more about the experience of being Black in America. I am far more ignorant than I realized and I am ashamed. It’s been difficult to know what to say or do – I have been told to be silent and told to speak up. Do I have the right to say anything? If I say nothing, am I complicit? I know the system is broken. I want to tear it down and rebuild it so all Americans have equal access to quality education, jobs, healthcare and all of the advantages that white Americans have. I am listening, learning, and I am voting, but I need to do more.

    • Anna Dorfman June 8, 2020 at 9:12 am

      Kelly, I was also in high school when Rodney King was brutalized by cops (and then brutalized all over again by the “justice” system). I was in college when Abner Louima was tortured by cops in NYC. I was a fully-functioning, working adult by the time cops shot Amadou Diallo dead in his own doorway. Even pre-internet, these incidents were widely broadcast and I took the time to educate myself on the circumstances of each. And yet somehow, I didn’t start connecting the fact that this wasn’t a problem specific to “bad cops,” but rather the way that the entire country works as a system to upload white supremacy. I grew up in a predominantly white town with a very small Black population, and I think that allowed me to feel like I was somehow exempt from being part of that system—even if I wasn’t conscious of that allowance.

      That said, I think one small first step (one that I’ve only taken in the past year myself) is to stop saying “the system is broken.” Saying it’s broken implies that at one time it was “fixed” or whole, and that at some point it worked the way that it should for everyone in this country. We need to change the mindset that this is a place we’ve wound up at because we let things fall apart, and recognize that as white people, we’ve been taking advantage of a racist system our entire lives. Then we go from there.

  • Reply Cathy June 10, 2020 at 7:25 am

    Thank you Anna for your post and comments!

  • Reply Hayley June 10, 2020 at 1:16 pm

    Great post. I too have a lot to learn.

  • Reply Barbara June 12, 2020 at 9:55 am

    Spot on, Anna. Thank you.

  • Reply Bob Jones June 13, 2020 at 2:14 pm

    Anna, I gotta tell you that I support Carla in this blog dispute. Calling people racist because they have a different viewpoint then you is certainly not the way to promote change. In 1965 President Johnson passed his landmark “Great Society” legislation and in 1967-8 we had widespread urban riots, particularly pronounced in Detroit. After spending trillions of tax dollars on food stamps, welfare, Medicaid, WIC, and Section 8 housing, George Floyd was roughly treated by police and we again have widespread riots. When I travel to Chicago and Boston, I see beggars on the street. So after spending trillions of tax dollars on these “Great Society” programs what has changed for poor people and blacks?

    • Anna Dorfman June 13, 2020 at 3:17 pm

      Bob, putting aside that (a) you think this is a “blog dispute” and (b) you “support Carla,” despite her presenting no viewpoint other than a borderline sociopathic need to detach herself from association with humanity, the fact that you refer to the MURDER of George Floyd as being “roughly treated” by police tells me absolutely everything I need to know about you.

  • Reply Jenny June 15, 2020 at 12:53 am

    I’m guessing “Bob Jones” is a pseudonym. And, given the extremely racist history of Bob Jones University and its leaders, it is an offensive choice.

  • Reply CarLY (I am NOT Carla!) June 24, 2020 at 12:26 pm

    Thank you for your post and for not eating shit when your readers serve it up to you. We have no more time for half assing on this matter. I have been following you for probably 7 years and I always look forward to your posts. I was so excited recently when you started sharing more, I hope you continue. BLM.

  • Reply Jenny July 2, 2020 at 3:57 pm

    White Fragility: A manipulative rhetorical device where any white person’s refusal to admit they are racist is taken as proof of their being racist.

    • Anna Dorfman July 2, 2020 at 4:00 pm

      Can you show me where that’s happening anywhere in these comments, Jenny?

  • Reply Stephanie July 13, 2020 at 6:32 pm

    In regard to your conversation with Carla, just wanted to remind you Anna, “the world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it” Albert Einstein; he was right and so are you; we all need to care, all the time. I wholeheartedly agree. Thank you for your eloquent reminder.

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