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Outrage Fatigue: I’m Tired, Aren’t You?

2020, what a year, amirite? We started with koalas burning, clutched our pearls with speculation over WWIII with Iran, slid into a global pandemic, watched our jobs and markets crash and burn, flirted with murder hornets, then rose up to face ourselves.

Oh - and it's an election year, so we know the mud-slinging and inevitable slow-piano ad campaigns about these unprecedented and trying times are just on the horizon. yippee.

Show of hands: who's TIRED?

Have you slapped your laptop shut in a fit of emotional exhaustion? Have you participated in an ultimately pointless comment war (or typed out a long response only to delete it and throw your phone across the room)? Have you watched yet another grainy, violent video that leaves your heart racing? Have you started quick-tapping through recommended reading lists on institutional racism? Have you mentally divided your friends by where they stand on foreign policy, Covid19 masking, or the Black Lives Matter movement?

Black mamas, respectfully, this next part is not for you.

Now, have you had a comforting seedling of thought that this will be over soon? Have you mentally bathed in that feeling? To know that your Instagram feed is going to "lighten up" (both literally and figuratively) once all this blows over. To know that you can mute the protests. To know that you can pause to take some time to breathe and promise that you'll join the next fight because 2020 has already been a bit much for you. To know that you can turn the TV off and all this drama just kinda...goes away.

That ability to turn it off is your privilege. Some of your mom friends do not have the luxury to not worry about their sons being killed on a mundane errand. They cannot delay having the hard, heavy talks with their first graders. Some of your neighbors hold their breath every time their husbands leave the house.

Being in the position where you are learning about institutional racism vs. experiencing it is your privilege.

I Am a Man plaza
Photo by Paul Burns

So yeah, I'm tired of being outraged. I'm tired of being deeply shocked, multiple times a day. I'm tired of being witness to the caught-on-tape violence. But if I'm tired, what are my Black friends feeling? Looking away is a privilege that I did not earn, and that's what I cannot ignore. It's time we bore that burden.

Feeling like you can't physically up and DO anything right now? Donate to Mid South Peace & Justice Center Black Lives Matter Fund. Or watch a documentary. Or a movie. Or read a book. To your kids.

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