this weekend i was lucky enough to have the opportunity to go see the movie American Violet (which you should go see IMMEDIATELY).
the central figure of the film is a black woman who is unjustly arrested by the Texas Drug Force and her decision to fight for herself and for her community by sueing the police and the D.A. of her town.
What struck me about the movie is the way in which this woman jeopardized everything to fight the racial injustice present in her community. She could have easily lost custody of her children, her government housing and she did lose multiple jobs because of her battle.
I couldn't help and think about the way in which we often find ourselves being compliant in the face of racial injustice.
How many times have you found yourself saying, "this is not my battle," how many times have you found yourself thinking "i just can't risk my job for this," how many times have you said... "i'm just going to deal with this 'minor' racism, so that i can get (fill in the blank position) that will give me the leverage to fight the 'big' racism."
We change the way we speak and dress in the name of becoming more "professional" or "socialized." because these are not "worthwhile" battles...
we don't pursue the "radical" project at school or at work, because we don't want to rock the boat "unnecessarily."
we even avoid standing up in the face of overt racism in our homes, jobs and schools because we are (and perhaps rightly so)... scared of losing our paycheck, health insurance, custody, or even credibility in our profession...
and whose to say those things don't make sense? i mean can you really blame somebody for wanting to preserve their livelihood?
on the other hand... if we never fight the battles, how will we ever win the war?