Too often, we hear about Disney as “an escape.” Whether Disney animated films, Parks and Resorts, or Disney Cruise Line, they often go hand in hand with staying full of “magic” and “pixie dust.” As a result, many folks in my position, running a Disney-themed site, blog, vlog, or social account of some sort, have felt that they shouldn’t “discuss politics” or engage in discussion about any serious issues.
The fandom has had its own divides over the years: those who love everything Disney does with no critiques vs. those who long for the earlier days of better attractions, less marketing, and less IP-based updates. More recently, the real world began to creep in, as a global pandemic affected even pixie dust. Those who are for a slower, more calculated re-opening, mask requirements for safety, and additional precautions, vs. those who want everything they always got from a Disney vacation, with no changes or new actions on their part. That discussion started to become political. This was mainly because as with everything in the last handful of years, opinions of what should and shouldn’t be a focus or a “freedom” tend to run down party lines, and many look to our current President as an example – if he isn’t wearing a mask, why should I?
Like many, I shied away from sharing my thoughts on things. I tried to stay neutral, I didn’t want to rock any boats or upset anyone who might be reading and have a different opinion. Part of why I’ve struggled so much (internally) with my site as of late, is I feel like I am lost in a sea of influencers looking for how they can convert their readers/listeners/viewers/followers into dollar signs. I’ve never felt like that was me. I’ve only ever wanted to share my silly thoughts and experiences with the Disney community. But that is getting away from the point of this post.
This is very much not about me and my inability to play the blogging-as-a-business game. My purpose in that backstory was to say that all that time, I worried SO much about what people would think. I can’t have a controversial opinion, what if it upsets someone? I can’t discuss my thoughts on that, it might get political and offend someone or alienate my audience. And certainly, I don’t want anyone to not read/listen/view my site because they disagree with my thoughts as a person and human being! But that ended on May 25th. And I am ashamed and embarrassed that it took me that long to realize that. We are now beyond “opinion” – we are at an impasse of right and wrong and human rights.
If you get offended by any opinions I have, relating to basic human dignity and preservation, I will not at all miss you when you leave this site to never return. If you remove and block me from any and all social media channels, I will not post counting the number that have unfollowed me, or mourn your loss. Because quite simply, there could be nothing that mattered less in this time than caring about losing views or taking away your magic and pixie dust. If you think differently, I urge you to ask yourself why and truly think about the root of your feelings. Human injustice is not partisan, or it shouldn’t be. Things have gone on too long, and must change. I cannot remain silent any longer. I cannot pretend this doesn’t exist and share a photo of the castle and leave it to someone else. Yes, Disney is an escape. But we need to live in a world where we shouldn’t feel like that escape means we live in the dark the rest of the time.
We can no longer sit idly by, and I certainly won’t, as people of color literally fight for their lives and the ability to exist in this country without fear of being killed, attacked, denigrated, or treated as less than equal, for simply the color of their skin. I have never known that injustice, that inequality, that discrimination. I’ve seen many discussions recently where some white people get very upset because “they aren’t privileged, they grew up poor/with struggles/had a hard life” and that couldn’t be further from an understanding of what white privilege means. My children and I have the privilege to not think twice before we leave the house, drive our car, walk into a store, or any countless number of basic activities. I do not have to have a talk with my sons about how they must try to act to increase their chances of not being murdered just for how they look. Systemic racism is a disease in our country, and we are the cure. Only together can we change the status quo and what we will no longer accept as the norm. Black Lives Matter. Black. Lives. Matter.
For some reason, those three words upsets some people. They parrot back, “ALL lives matter!” Well, no one said they didn’t. Not once. Do you think people who say Black Lives Matter want all other lives to be treated poorly? No. The point is that they want Black lives to be just as important as all other non-BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) lives in this country have been for centuries. It’s not a difficult ask. Please, do not get caught up on worrying that if lives suddenly matter, you as a non-person of color will suddenly be less-than. The irony to me is that those shouting all lives matter from the rooftops, are doing so because they don’t want to be treated badly, they don’t want to be ignored, or experience “racism” or discrimination. Now think about what that is saying. That is exactly how BIPOC have been living in this country since the first boat arrived. Imagine that. All lives do matter, and once we can all experience the same freedoms and lack of discrimination, they will.
Additionally, people with law enforcement families or friends chant “Blue Lives Matter.” It is mind-boggling to me that this is even an argument people are trying to use. A person of color cannot clock out of their shift, take off their badge, hang up their uniform, and call it a day. Blue lives are a job title. A profession. Not a life you are born into and can’t walk away from. As with all professions, some are more dedicated than others. Does this mean all police are bad people? No, but if even one is, it is too much, and they should not be in a position to inflict their control and misplaced power over another human being. If you or someone you love is a police officer, I would hope you would want the same justice and removal of those who are giving your profession a bad name. Why wouldn’t you want a justice system that lives up to its very definition? This movement isn’t about good cops. It’s about bad ones and stopping them from doing more harm.
That is all I am going to comment about what should and could be, because as a white middle-aged mom, mine is not the voice that needs to be heard right now. I will be listening. I urge you to listen. Let us learn together. Let us be open to knowing and understanding that not all of our stories are the same. Our hearts and our hopes should be the same, but until we stop and listen, we will never know and never learn.
There have been many links, petitions, and protests shared over the past week and I hope they will continue. I am sharing some here in hopes we can achieve more understanding, build community, and affect change in our country. Until we stop shouting “but what about…” and can be allies, listening to others’ stories, and others’ truths, there can be no peace.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
Let’s all be a light, together.
Thank you to Ryan P. Wilson (frequent guest author and friend) for the above links)
This document is intended to serve as a resource to white people and parents to deepen our anti-racism work. If you haven’t engaged in anti-racism work in the past, start now. Feel free to circulate this document on social media and with your friends, family, and colleagues.
Here is a shorter link: bit.ly/ANTIRACISMRESOURCES
To take immediate action to fight for Breonna Taylor, please visit FightForBreonna.org.
Resources for white parents to raise anti-racist children:
- The Conscious Kid: follow them on Instagram and consider signing up for their Patreon
Articles to read:
- ”My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant” by Jose Antonio Vargas | NYT Mag (June 22, 2011)
- The 1619 Project (all the articles) | The New York Times Magazine
- The Combahee River Collective Statement
- “The Intersectionality Wars” by Jane Coaston | Vox (May 28, 2019)
- Tips for Creating Effective White Caucus Groups developed by Craig Elliott PhD
- “Where do I donate? Why is the uprising violent? Should I go protest?” by Courtney Martin (June 1, 2020)
- ”White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” by Knapsack Peggy McIntosh
- “Who Gets to Be Afraid in America?” by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi | Atlantic (May 12, 2020)
Videos to watch:
- Black Feminism & the Movement for Black Lives: Barbara Smith, Reina Gossett, Charlene Carruthers (50:48)
- “How Studying Privilege Systems Can Strengthen Compassion” | Peggy McIntosh at TEDxTimberlaneSchools (18:26)
Podcasts to subscribe to:
- 1619 (New York Times)
- About Race
- Code Switch (NPR)
- Intersectionality Matters! hosted by Kimberlé Crenshaw
- Momentum: A Race Forward Podcast
- Pod For The Cause (from The Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights)
- Pod Save the People (Crooked Media)
- Seeing White
Books to read:
- Black Feminist Thought by Patricia Hill Collins
- Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Dr. Brittney Cooper
- Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon
- How To Be An Antiracist by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi
- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
- Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
- Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad
- Raising Our Hands by Jenna Arnold
- Redefining Realness by Janet Mock
- Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde
- So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
- The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
- The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
- The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
by Michelle Alexander
- The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century
by Grace Lee Boggs
- The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
- Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
- This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color by Cherríe Moraga
- When Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in Twentieth-Century America by Ira Katznelson
- White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo, PhD
Films and TV series to watch:
- 13th (Ava DuVernay) — Netflix
- American Son (Kenny Leon) — Netflix
- Black Power Mixtape: 1967-1975 — Available to rent
- Blindspotting (Carlos López Estrada) — Hulu with Cinemax or available to rent
- Clemency (Chinonye Chukwu) — Available to rent
- Dear White People (Justin Simien) — Netflix
- Fruitvale Station (Ryan Coogler) — Available to rent
- I Am Not Your Negro (James Baldwin doc) — Available to rent or on Kanopy
- If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins) — Hulu
- Just Mercy (Destin Daniel Cretton) — Available to rent for free in June in the U.S.
- King In The Wilderness — HBO
- See You Yesterday (Stefon Bristol) — Netflix
- Selma (Ava DuVernay) — Available to rent
- The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution — Available to rent
- The Hate U Give (George Tillman Jr.) — Hulu with Cinemax
- When They See Us (Ava DuVernay) — Netflix
Organizations to follow on social media:
- Antiracism Center: Twitter
- Audre Lorde Project: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- Black Women’s Blueprint: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- Color Of Change: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- Colorlines: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- The Conscious Kid: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- Equal Justice Initiative (EJI): Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- Families Belong Together: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- The Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- MPowerChange: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- Muslim Girl: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- NAACP: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- National Domestic Workers Alliance: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- RAICES: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ): Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- SisterSong: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- United We Dream: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
More anti-racism resources to check out:
- 75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice
- Anti-Racism Project
- Jenna Arnold’s resources (books and people to follow)
- Rachel Ricketts’ anti-racism resources
- Resources for White People to Learn and Talk About Race and Racism
- Save the Tears: White Woman’s Guide by Tatiana Mac
- Showing Up For Racial Justice’s educational toolkits
- The [White] Shift on Instagram
- “Why is this happening?” — an introduction to police brutality from 100 Year Hoodie
- Zinn Education Project’s teaching materials
Document compiled by Sarah Sophie Flicker, Alyssa Klein in May 2020.
- Campaign Zero – Donate to the effort to end police violence in America. This is a baby step, but change needs to start somewhere.
- Talking About Race – National Museum of African American History and Culture.
- Black Table Arts – Minneapolis / St. Paul, Minnesota – Gathering Black communities through the arts, working towards better Black futures.
- BEAM – Black Emotion and Mental Health Collective – BEAM is a training, movement-building and grant-making organization dedicated to the healing, wellness and liberation of Black and marginalized communities.
- The Four Bodies – A holistic toolkit for coping with racial trauma.
If you can donate, I urge you to do so too. BlackLivesMatter.com. If you can attend a peaceful protest in your area and affect change in numbers, I encourage that as well. Thank you for reading, now let’s listen, together.