Home > Ground Zero, Wild Child > I’m no Sister Souljah

I’m no Sister Souljah

A couple weeks ago I was given two compliments that warmed my heart and troubled my soul at the same time.

A friend asked me to comment on what it’s like to live in Arizona under 287(g) and SB1070. I shared our experience in “Ground Zero” and he replied that I was a real American Superhero.

Later that evening, I was chatting with another friend, mentioned how tired I was of summer, which of course prompted the suggestion that I move. Quoting Dexter from the Ruckus Society, I responded,

I’m living in ground zero for racism in America. Too much to be done here.

And among several lovely things that were said, was the comment,

When Sister Souljah grows up, she wants to be like you 🙂

This couldn’t be further from the truth, and not just because I had to Wiki her. Both these comments came from friends who each experience discrimination on ltwo different levels that I will never personally experience, so their positive feedback, particularly conaidering the relative oxymoron of “white allyship”, meant the world to me. But I’m no hero, and I’m certainly no Sistah Souljah. I’m just trying to be in right relationships with my black, brown, gold and rainbow brothers and sisters. While it’s always admiraable to do the right thing, and even more so in the face of resistance or even just against popular opinion, my witness is no great personal sacrifice, carries no inherent risk.

Last weekend when one of my girls had a date cancel last minute and called a girls’ night out, it was no big thing for me to grab my license (once I found it, that is) from the safe place I stashed it when I took it out of my purse at midnight on July 29. On Monday, when my son attended his first Civil Air Patrol Cadet meeting, it was only a minor inconvenience for me to stop the car as we pulled out of the drive and send Tyler back in to grab the little box I’d put it back into, knowing I’d need to show an ID to enter the Air National Guard facility.

While Tyler was at his meeting, I attended a community activist meeting at Tonatierra. Most of the speakers spoke in Spanish, and I relied on a fellow UUCP member, whose high school spanish was considerably more advanced than mine, to keep me in the loop. I learned that the young man with the cowboy hat came here with his brother, who has cancer. Both are undocumented, and finding work was becoming increasingly difficult, and he was no longer able to support his brother, who is unable to work.

As I left the meeting, I asked myself, what would any one of us do for our brother or sister? Our mother or father? Our children? I pulled up to the guard gate at the Air National Guard facility, and was waved through. I asked if he needed to see my ID, and he laughed… no, I remember you. Seeing as I was wearing all the buttons I have left, I didn’t doubt that. I drove down the dark road to the building the meeting was in, and wondered what it would be like if I couldn’t pick up my son. I’d try to have a friend or neighbor take him to the meetings and pick him up two and a half hours later… or I’d have to pull up to the guard gate and let him walk the rest of the way to the meeting and then back along the dark road where I’d be waiting to pick him up when the meeting was over. As I waited and watched the squadron finish their drill downs, and then for them to be dismissed I chatted with a couple other moms about the program. After dismissal, I spoke to a couple of adults who’s rank I’m not clear on, but with whom I felt relatively comfortable entrusting my firstborn child. I wondered what it would be like not to be able to meet and speak with the people running this program that my son was so excited about.

All of my protest, all of my action, is all a choice that I make, because I can. The real heroes and soldiers don’t have my choices.

  1. Becky
    August 23, 2010 at 11:07 AM

    Oh hon. It’s so true. We are still the privileged with choice and opportunity.

    • August 23, 2010 at 10:26 PM

      Yup… I’ve written about this before, but all the gratitude or admiration that’s been expressed to me, while appreciated, is painful, because along with it comes comments about how rarely they see allies.

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