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I'm crying because I'm tired, and I'm tired of crying.

Updated: Jun 10, 2020

I’m praying for myself and anyone who is at working struggling today.

I was on conference call and one of the regional leaders said “Let’s make sure that we’re doing all we can to keep our teams motivated. Many of our employees see their time here at work as an escape. {She takes a big sigh.} Especially with all that’s going on right now, we could all use an escape.”

I’m the leader in my store. I’m Black. Most of my team is White. The vast majority of my customers are white women, as well as my peers throughout the company. It’s possible that I could literally work an entire day and not see another Black person in my store.

For me, during this time, work has not been an escape. It has been a trigger. I feel like I’m pretty much always crying, but I cover it with retail professionalism and a heavy smile. When it gets a little too much, I step away, compose myself, and return to welcome and serve my guests. This is the mask that’s hard to wear right now. This is the mask that makes it a little harder to breathe normally…

She closed out the call by doubling down on the sentiment:

“Again, I love what we said earlier…This gets to be an escape from COVID-19, from all the riots and the protests, and all the craziness.”

I don’t believe that she is racist. I do believe that she is privileged. And her words further validate the actuality of these two worlds that exist together simultaneously, but with vastly different realities.

Now is the time to address all of it. In my environment, the privilege sometimes feels more hurtful and exhausting than the blatant racism. If someone were to be brazenly hateful, I could ask them to leave…and I would be supported by my direct supervisors and my company. But when a privileged person is just unaware because their perspective is limited by their racial reality…well, that’s a little trickier to navigate.

I know that the protests were populated by ALL people. Truly, it’s beautiful to see. Though to suggest that any Black person can escape the reality of the current societal climate is to suggest that we can escape our skin and what it means to live in it. There is no off switch. To even acknowledge that you can escape is proof of the privilege your skin affords you. A piece of every Black person lives in every protest, in hope that all of us will live in freedom.

This isn't just an event for us; it's life for us. I cry because George Floyd could be any Black man I know and love. I cry because Breonna Taylor could be me. And until there are consequences, convictions, and justice, these are not just events that will pass, but fears for when the next event will occur. I'm crying because I'm tired, and I'm tired of crying. 😢💔

(Her comment about working in retail being an escape from COVID-19 is a whole separate issue that I haven't the strength the address right now.

Royally yours,

~ Audrey

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