Maybe He Just Doesn’t Like Bananas

Last night I was so tired. I came home and ate ice-cream for supper and I watched Canadian Bachelorette and I cried on the phone to my mom and then I went to bed. When I woke up this morning, I was still tired and I was still crying.

I have a feeling that I’m going to be tired for a while, and I have a feeling that I am not alone. I am so tired of witnessing the cruelty of other human beings.

Sometimes it’s the little stuff, like being chewed out by a customer last week because I was unable to accept her return of an $8.99 bottle of elderflower cordial that she no longer wanted. People are starving all over the world ma’m. If you have enough money to buy elderflower cordial, then you don’t really need to worry about returning it for a full refund do you?

It’s the idiot driver of the car in front of me yesterday who berated a homeless man sitting at the intersection after he refused the offer of a banana. Maybe he just doesn’t like bananas sir. You just got angry because he ruined your plan to feel better about yourself for that day.

But mostly it’s the big stuff. It’s the fact that we have a presidential candidate who hates women, the impoverished, and anybody who isn’t white – who might actually get elected because apparently there are vast numbers of people in this country who also hate women, the impoverished, and anybody who isn’t white.

It’s the murdering of innocent black people by police. And it’s the realization that some people see nothing wrong with this, because they assume that the victim has done something to deserve it. Because they were black. So they must be bad.

It’s too much and it makes me tired and it makes me mad.

I want to have a child someday, but I am so happy that I don’t have one right now.  How on earth could I possibly find a way to explain this to them, w/out making them think the world is a horrible, frightening place?  How must mothers of black babies and wives of black men feel right now? I imagine them being very reluctant to let any of their loved ones out of their sight. I imagine them hesitant to let their little black boys play outside or walk to a friend’s house after school.

The point of this post is not to make you feel awful, or guilty, or helpless. The point is to ask you to stop and think, about little kindnesses and acts of justice that can be worked into your day. There is always more that we can do. We can choose to stand up for someone who is being bullied. We can choose to listen to someone who is having a bad day. We can choose to think before we react in situations that upset us. We can make thoughtful and research informed choices about who governs our towns, cities, states, and country. We can fight racism every day, by calling out and educating our friends and family who participate in it and promote it. We can remind black and brown children what gifts they are to the world, and we can teach white children to think that as well.

We can decide not to tolerate hate.

I’m tired, but my white, middle class tiredness pales in comparison to the absolute exhaustion that must be felt by so many people in this country who are consistently attacked, discriminated against, and beat down. The fact that I’m just tired, and not scared for my life and the lives of my loved ones, is a reflection of my privilege. I have to choose what I do with that privilege, and I’m asking you to do the same.