Why?! aka Ask Better Questions
This moment is special. This moment is a revelation to many of us. However, this moment is not new, is not random, and is not just a moment. In this particular hour we find ourselves reckoning with all of the things Black folks have been talking about for ages.
Today is Juneteenth. It is the day celebrating the arrival of Union forces in Texas, sharing the good news that all slaves in the Confederate states were free. That was 1865. Mind you, The Emancipation Proclamation dropped in 1863. It took 2.5 years for the word to travel to Texas. Two and a half years of overtime unpaid labor as a so-called free person. Maybe one would say, “Oh no! What happened when they found out?!”. I would use this as an example of why I strongly encourage us to ask better questions.
Enter YouT*be, G**gle, DuckDuckGo, and all of the World Wide Webs. Even with all of the tools at our disposal, including books and audiobooks and PDFs (that you can often find for free), no one seems to recognize that if you can find 200+ pages of results and videos for “How to build a bunker with a tiny house” you may also be able to find at least 1–2 readings about “Why did it take 2.5 years for news to reach slaves in Texas?” or even “Did slavery actually end in 1865?”.
Ultimately, my point is this. For the people who find ourselves immediately asking “What can I do?” or “What needs to happen next?” I encourage you to locate yourself at “Why does (the thing I want to help with) exist and why does it continue to exist?”. Remember back to when you were a child with some humanity and curiosity and ask WHY. It’s one of the most annoying questions because it makes the person with the answer have to think harder and explain. As adults, we tend to hate the question because it takes time we usually don’t have. But, why is the way to liberation. I’ll give you a few questions to start with actually:
- Why are Black people more overwhelmed by COVID-19?
- Slavery is over. So, why are Black people not on the same playing field as White people?
- Why don’t Black women (cis and trans) feel safe?
- Why is the average life expectancy of a Black Trans Woman 35 years?
- Why are Black men killed by police (with video to show) more regularly?
- Why does the media call Black protestors thugs and White ReOpen protestors, with guns, Patriots?
- Bonus: Why is the President, the president? And HOW?!
- Why are white people so clueless about racism until a global pandemic and things are on fire?
- Why do I (you) still benefit from this system even if I (you) don’t think I’m racist?
- Why are the majority of the leaders in America White Men?
This is a very very very short list. Go back to being a child. Ask why. And once you find the answer. Ask why three more times. In this jungle we call America, don’t just look at the leaves, inspect the limbs, the trunk, and the roots. The root is what you need to inspect to get where we’re going. Ask better questions.