by Merissa Nathan Gerson
On speaking when it is time for silence. When white men have already done enough.
On exclamation points and condescension.
On the explosive nature of unmitigated media, news, and a president-elect limited by no social law.
On cheap definitive answers.
On marching on Washington.
On feigning change and progress while overtly eliminating the black voice.
On white feminism blanket casting over other vital issues.
On white feminism co-opting black power movements like the Million Man March, the the Million Woman March, and the the March on Washington, all concentrated efforts towards black power and black liberation.
On liberation as lip service.
On liberals wanting answers.
On grief and sadness and then getting out of bed and going to the rich white dinner party where the young female voices are not honored and the old men just want to hear their theories in fiery action.
On men who want power but have none.
On Holocaust wounds.
On war wounds of all kinds.
Oh, yes, let’s write a whole essay on forgetting, like how on Monday I forgot the weekend, or the opening in my mind, or the recollection of my consciousness, my visceral awareness of all things, all thoughts, all ideas as tributaries to the same giant body.
On the all consuming sea of white supremacy.
On being part of the liberal machine that duped itself into thinking it was a solution, that it was different than its “conservative” counterpart.
On the illusion of difference.
On the illusion of liberation.
On the illusion of all white liberals as pioneering moral revolutionaries.
On the failed revolution.
On the myth of the liberal bastion.
On blind spots.
On white shame and white guilt and how it serves to strengthen a system.
On turning away because shame and guilt are too much.
On the privilege of shame and guilt.
On the privilege of forgetting.
On the privilege of white female self-deprecation.
On the internalization of the white male patriarchy.
On women killing their own power.
On why it doesn’t matter if it is Hillary or Trump when the fascist regime has already been internalized.
On the inability to see when we are inside the belly of the whale.
On how to destroy and dismember an enormous whale when inside of it.
On the comfort of dark, wet places.
On thinking one can see.
On the dangers of sight when still trapped in the belly of said whale.
On dinner last night when they all planned their trip to Washington for the white supremacist feminist march that gives them the illusion of action and change.
On the illusion of protest and action.
On the illusion of change.
On hatred veiled as hope.
Merissa Nathan Gerson is a writer based on the New England island of Martha’s Vineyard. Her work on inherited trauma, disability, sexuality and spirituality appears in Playboy Magazine, The Atlantic, Elle.com, The New York Observer, Tablet Magazine and beyond. She was the intergenerational trauma consultant to Amazon’s hit show, Transparent.