OPINION: The fight is not slow, it is long

By Raphaelle LeBlanc | September 28, 2020 1:39pm

Raphaelle LeBlanc is a senior organizational communication major. Photo courtesy of Raphaelle LeBlanc.

This letter is not a direct response to the “Don’t Do Anything Now You May Regret Later” article, or at this point maybe it is, I am not sure. However, one thing I am sure of, is that I am angry, exhausted and again, mostly angry.

I am angry that we still need to justify, in 2020, that QTBIPOC rights are human rights. I am angry that we need to clarify that when we state Black Lives Matter, we are not saying that Black lives are above everyone else’s. I am angry that people cannot recognize their own privileges. People associate privilege with being the richest, or the most famous, when in fact privilege is being educated, having a roof over your head, being able to eat three meals a day, your parents still being together, being able to afford family vacations and unfortunately, when people are used to their privilege, equality feels like oppression. I am not blaming you, because I once too felt like I was not privileged. However, when you take the time to realize what you have access to and the opportunities you’ve had, regardless of how hard you worked, privilege is all around us.

I am angry and exhausted from repeating over and over that people being killed, discriminated against and treated unfairly because of their skin color is not normal. I am angry that people have the audacity to try and justify murders. I am angry that to this day, I still sit in classes, where some students believe reverse racism is a thing. And that despite us, QTBIPOCs, having the courage to share our experiences of what its like to be a person of color, or identify as queer, at a primarily white institution, we get gaslighted or invalidated.

“Well, you knew what campus was like before deciding to come here” – but the truth is, it shouldn’t be about us having to mentally prepare for the harsh reality of experiencing racial or gender discrimination when walking around campus. The issue should not even be about you not being educated enough.

The problem is the system we were all raised in, because it is that very same system that has silenced marginalized minority groups and whitewashed our history since its very creation.

I am exhausted and tired of hearing false promises being made over and over, to all of us. Those “this year will be different” speeches or the “we will take actions” emails, when in fact the only thing that seems to be changing is the number of Instagram posts that so-called allies have stopped sharing because to them, BLM was just a trend.

Now I want to end this letter by being very clear: although I am angry and exhausted, there is not a part of me that will raise the white flag. So when you come to me, with your “white people are being oppressed too” or state that “abortion shouldn’t be legal” or “being trans isn’t normal”, I will take the immense pleasure to put you back into your place, respectfully. Because we did not come this far, to only come this far. Until we see a future where QTBIPOC rights are recognized as human rights, and females becoming president is not considered out of the ordinary, you will hear us fight.

Remember, the fight is not slow, it is long, so when you come marching next to us, and use your voice to demand justice, the only question in your mind should be “what’s next?”

Raphaelle LeBlanc is a senior organizational communication major. She can be reached at leblancr21@up.edu.

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