Maybe I’m just over-tired and wrecked from this completely insane semester, or I’m fizzling out, or perhaps it’s something about being an over-emotional woman, or perhaps even something about being a sappy parent changed me but I just can’t engage in rational or unemotional discussion about privilege or status or anything remotely social justice when it comes to kids lately. I just (as the white girls say) can’t even.

This most recently reared it’s head surrounding the Spring Valley incident, but it has come up before in the unaccompanied minor immigration crisis, in Tamir Rice, in Jordan Miles, and truly when any child who is caught in the violence of adults (and their language).

I am seeing a line as thick as the one in the dirt marking a game of tug-of-war.

And I know, rationally, there is nuance. Culture, climate, bias…all of these things are at play. I know because I’ve studied it. I know because the thing that I am called to is the educated dismantling of the systems that reek havoc on us–you know, these ladders and hills and valleys and forts we build around ourselves because we are so afraid that helping someone up the mountain is going to send us tumbling to the bottom again.

The truth is that the tug-of-war is between head and heart for me and head is losing it’s grip and giving up.

In social work, we talk about limits and about recognizing when our own biases and messes and lives bleed over onto our work…we talk about when it makes us unable to be good and ethical practitioners.

Maybe this has put me at my limit.

Maybe this hard line is making me into the worst kind of human…the worst kind of helper.


When they say ” but she should have just listened”

When they say “but they bring with them all the problems and drugs…they’re just different than our kids”

When they say “but he had a gun, but it looked real”

When they say “but he could have just listened”

These “buts”–like the worst apologies–don’t soothe my hot screaming heart for a second. “Buts” are the rationalization, the dehumanization, the takers of lives and sanity and morality and love…

Maybe if we gave up the “buts” and rationalization and let ourselves just feel it for a second

Maybe if we let the heart drag us down in the dirt and muck of it all


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