When I was initially approached by an editor at The Huffington Post, my knee-jerk reaction was to not republish. I was scared. I expected backlash, mainly because the title was admittedly jarring.
I usually choose much less salacious titles, but that whole piece just fell out of me after I completed the first week of the course Raising an Advocate, where creator/instructor Danielle Slaughter helped participants push deep and explore our personal privileges, in their many forms. I was in a particular space where I felt moved to be more hard-hitting than normal.
I suggested to the editor that I change the title, but she discouraged me from doing so. The title was what got people to read the post and ultimately provided the opportunity for amplification. And I stand by what I wrote. White supremacy isn’t just about “white power”; it’s an institutionalized system that protects white people in both obvious and subtle ways.
After consulting with my dearest people, I decided to go for it and followed my writer and activist friends suggestions to not read comments or engage with online trolls. At first that felt easy, because the trolling was somewhat benign and even comical at times. Then, the death threats started.
Bonafide white supremacists found the piece (including class act David Duke) and I’ve had a steady stream of harassment and violent threats ever since. Enough so to file a police report, which was an incredibly intimidating and unnerving experience in and of itself.
Sadly, as the trolling intensified I had several people I could reach out to who received similar threats in the past. Much worse even. I know the abuse I’ve received pales in comparison to what people of color, people within the LGBTQ community and people in marginalized populations who speak out against injustice and systems of oppression have to endure. I have even more respect and admiration for the folks who continuously show up to do the work despite the hatred and threats spewed their way.
I feel it’s important to share that I did get real feedback that I was able to hear through all the noise. Several people of color and white people wrote to me feeling offended that I linked race with poverty. I was not attempting to make this connection; my intent was to acknowledge my own racial and class privilege and how they affect my parenting. I definitely understand and appreciate the critique. I’ll do my best to be more intentional and less haphazard with my writing choices in the future.
I’ve had several people ask me, what’s next? Will I stop writing? The answer is no. I’m going to stay the course, continue to block and report online abusers and hopefully come out on the other side of this experience more knowledgeable, resilient and powerful than before.
Much, much love and thanks to my friends, family and community for weathering this storm alongside me. I will continue to do the work necessary to be the parent and person I’m striving to be.