Friday, March 23, 2012

Million Hoodie March occupies my heart

ProtestKid and I went in our hoodies and we listened and we held hands and marched. People around us were loud and present and we took the streets and we were all loud together. It felt so good.

Waking up yesterday morning to an angry internet, outraged that Occupy co-opted the march shocked me. There were Occupiers there-- they had been in Union Square since the 17th-- and there were POC and Marxists and POC Marxists there holding signs that said "Capitalism requires racism"....(and probably some not holding any signs at all. How do you tell a Marxist when they're not handing out fliers?... I don't know the punchline to that joke, but there should be one.)

On the subway ride to Union Square, Protest Kid asked hard questions about racism. I said that having white skin is kind of like having a super power-- we didn't do anything to earn it, a meteorite just happened to land next to us and give us this (cultural super) power. And it's up to us whether we use our white skin just to make our own lives easier, or if we use it to help others.

(I'm well aware of the White Savior problem. But he's seven and into Marvel Comic superheroes. You use the language the student understands.)

It sounds like the internet rage is (not un)justified, however much I might (really!) wish otherwise--and yet, I marched as an occupier. I did not chant Occupy-centric rhetoric, my son didn't shout "Show me what democracy looks like!"... I wore a small OWS pin on my hat because I try to always wear it, these strange days. That was the extent of my external association with OWS.


I marched as an occupier because Occupy Wall Street is what gave me the courage to take up public space.

I marched as an occupier because Occupy The Hood is what gave me the courage to ask if a white girl in a hoodie could be helpful marching, or if it was better for me to witness and increase the bandwidth from the sidelines.

I marched as an occupier because a mother I met from Parents for Occupy Wall Street said it was important that we march, too.

I marched as an occupier because I marched in solidarity. I shouted "I am Trayvon Martin" but I know that I will never be considered suspicious for wearing a hoodie-- and neither will my pale-skinned sons. But if I can use my skin to help create a public space for more voices to be heard, and if I can use my voice to spread those voices further...

Then I will be an occupier. Whether I carry a yellow banner or not. Whether I mic check or not.

I will stand in solidarity with anyone who also dreams of justice and love because you have co-opted my heart... because of Occupy Wall Street.

No comments:

Post a Comment