Did You Just Control My Body With Your White Hand?

As I gear up to refute the faculty’s argument, my colleague puts her hand on me to remind me to tread carefully. She was doing it because she understands how precarious at the end of the day my position. My youth, my blackness, my purple hair, all of these are check marks against me in the eyes of many. I settle back and let another (white) librarian continue to refute. But it still feels hurtful. And as I sit back and seethe, I think “is this what it will always be like?” Keeping silent, blunting my words, acquiescing, giving up pieces of me to fit into the culture? I mean of course the short answer is yes. In a white supremacist society, even the best of environments will be full of acculturative stress. And being black, queer, female, and disabled means that at any given time I will be letting something go for the sake of fitting in. And I hate it. I hate that success within organizations is so directly tied to staying silent. To bringing the line in the sand further and further back. To smiling and saying “yes of course.” It grinds my gears so to speak. And of course, I practice self-care, and vent to other cool people, and do things outside of work. But at the end of the day, I have two degrees worth of debt, and am not independently wealthy so I need to work to live. So I sit in another meeting and stay silent. I decide to not have this be the hill I die on. But there are so many hills. There are so many hills.

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