William J. McCarthy Jr.
We are so tired, aren’t we?
With every new horror, threat, or failure to love that we endure as a community, a country, or a society, we have worn out our words. The layers of injustice get us tangled up in pain, frustration, fear and anger. The murders in Atlanta are just the latest layers to pile on.
That’s when I have to remember that what’s most important is not coming up with the best words, but listening to understand.
If you are one of my Asian neighbors, I am sorry for your pain and how lonely it might feel. It can be so hard to ask for our listening when you don’t want to diminish the pain of our black and brown neighbors as so many intersections of injustice continue to do harm.
Our Asian neighbors have endured harassment, attacks, blame, and other inexcusable behavior in especially frequent occurrences since COVID-19 began. As the latest horror of a shooting spree unfolds in Atlanta, and people argue over whether it was race-based or not, no official word will diminish the suffering caused by not only the crime, but also the shame that is so often rained on the Asian community.
Shame is a common thread in so much of what we are suffering. It is an incredibly damaging thing – far worse than guilt. I can’t convey this sincerely enough in words, but please know in your heart that you do not deserve to suffer shame—whether you are Asian, Black or African American, Indigenous, Latinx, white, LGBTQ+, vaccinated, unvaccinated, addicted, mentally ill, healthy, male, female, older, younger, single, married, coupled, divorced, parenting, childless, wealthy or in poverty. Radical kinship is the antidote for shame, and love is what we must do—the action we must each take—to resist the temptation to shame others as we try to heal ourselves.
I wish you – I wish us all – peace.