SITTING ON THE A TRAIN ON MY WAY TO JFK:
P holds her “I’m an immigrant sign,” listens to Hamilton.
White man sits across from her.
WM: Are you actually?
(Signals that he’s trying to talk to her, takes off her headphones.)
WM: Are you actually an immigrant?
P: Oh. Yeah. A real actual one.
WM: You look perfectly white.
P: What does that mean?
WM: If I were you I just wouldn’t say anything. You’ll be just fine.
Passing. This is the concept of passing. And it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot since Pendejo was elected. That very night, I thought, shamefully, “well, at least mama is French and my skin is white.” I pass. And it’s not that I thought, “it’s 2017, the fact that I’m thinking about passing is shameful!” No. Minorities the spectrum over think about passing everyday in our country. And you know what happened next? I looked at Eric in shame because he doesn’t get that stupid choice. He does not get that shameful privilege.
Shameful to feel. Shameful to share. So I’ll go back to it, we must acknowledge privilege where we have it. When you’re a man, when you’re white, when you’re richer, when you’re prettier, when you see better, when you can see farther. This is the time to use that. This is when your privilege comes in handy. As Luvvie Ajayi reminded us all, when you walk in a white body, you walk in privilege. It’s part of it. Acknowledge that. It’s time to harness that. Because I can go to a protest today and a cop will move a barrier for me so I can get to my train faster. Privilege can move mountains where people have been climbing all along.
Listen, the comfort of our privilege is what got us here. So I will no longer accept it. I will be hard on you. I will be hard on you because Yoga and drinks can be rescheduled. I will be hard on you because if your fight doesn’t include muslims, refugees, black women, black men, Latinas, Chicanas, you name it, then it’s only for you and that is nonsense. I will be hard on you because I assure you refugees are more tired than you. I will be hard on you because I love you. And yes. Self care is important. But don’t self care so much that you forget. So gather your friends, get them marching. Organize. Raise money. Make noise. It will bring you closer than your three glasses of wine.
I’ll see you all tomorrow at 2PM at Battery Park. We must become the mountains.