We’re hearing and witnessing a lot of calls to “listen to each other” post-election.
In mainstream media, including NPR, we’re hearing a call to give people “blank slates” and to “reach out across divides”.
The ability to simply listen and just be offended is a privilege in this country, and it’s certainly one right now.
The ability to feel as if it’s just your views that aren’t acceptable, rather than your very life, is a privilege.
The ability to freely debate “issues” is a privilege.
We are an African-American and Afro-Latinx core here at Food for Black Thought. As Black people who are in solidarity with other historically oppressed / resilient people and active allies, so much of what is being “listened to” right now is not up for debate. What are considered election “issues” are about our lives – and about violence against our lives. Issues are not separate from who we are or from what what we navigate, day in and day out.
So if we do not engage in listening when we will be re-traumatized, or where we have to prove our existence, or where our very lives will be questioned – it’s not that we lack the ability to listen.
Make no mistake, we’re always listening. We listen closely all the time for our survival. We’ve learned when to speak out and step back, because our lives and wellbeing depend on it. We practice deep listening as part of our food justice work and as part of building relationships, because of its power to collectively heal.
If we tune out or leave the conversation or just can’t right now, we’re making an active, powerful, revolutionary choice to honor our wellbeing in a country – indeed, in a world – that so clearly does not.
When we don’t engage with you in post-election debate, it’s because we’re engaging with our power.
Precisely because we see our mutual humanity and how it’s not being honored, we’re going to take care of ourselves.
Now, back to it . . .