Racial Smog

by Dana Kaiser-Davidson

It was 3am, the morning of my first White Ally Learning Lab (WALL). Sweat trickled from my palms, heart racing like the beat was in my head. Relieved to be awake in the dark stillness of sleeping humanity, I was freed from the nightmare of my mind. The next morning I was going to the WALL. Nervous excitement had me tossing and turning. Could I show up this day as open willingness to be present even in the midst of wanting to hide in the fogginess of white privilege? Would I be found out as that “bad” white person posing as an ally in ending racism? Would I have to uncover the shame of my white ancestors who turned their backs on people of color in the name of economic success called capitalism? Could I look at, hold the shadows of racism enacted in my mind and actions without running to cozy fairyland of white comfort? These were some of the questions that stirred the consciousness of my dream/nightmare.
I was gripping the ground in an open cemented quarry, 15 feet from my first best friend, a white woman named Jordan. She was curled up in the fetal position. In the distance was a white man wearing a navy green suit and army gas mask spraying green and red smog. This gas made me dizzy. The air was too cloudy to see. Fear gripped my body, tightening every muscle. I couldn’t breathe. I remember wanting so bad to be close to Jordan, get up and walk away from this power hungry man. The feeling of anxiety rose as I realized that I could lose consciousness and become powerless to what this man wanted to do with my life. I tried to move but was paralyzed. The only thing I knew to do in that moment was pray. The prayer literally woke me up from this nightmare.

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