Not Yours, Not Ever

I want to bury my head in work today, to let myself grieve last night’s murders in Charleston at my own slow pace. I can’t, though. Why? Because the homicidal white supremacist whose name should be forgotten in favor of those of his victims tried to pass off some of the responsibility for his act onto me.

Sylvia Johnson, who is said to be a relative of Pinckney, said that she spoke with one of the female survivors.

“She said that he had reloaded five different times, and he just said ‘I have to do it. You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go,'” Johnson told WIS News.

No. You don’t get to do this.

  • You don’t get to claim me. I am not yours based on the color of my skin or anything else. I belong to no one.
  • You don’t get to claim you’re protecting me when your claim makes me less safe, not more. Every day I have to fight the idea that men are entitled to me: my attention, my body. I have to fight the idea my pain and even my life are theirs for the taking if I dare to refute their claim and injure their pride.
  • You do not get to claim the lives of black people to make women safe when every woman who tries to talk of protecting herself from men has to face white-boy whines that her informed fear is just like racial prejudice.
  • You don’t get to hurt people in my name when I have never and will never ask for that “protection”.
  • You don’t get to pretend you’re helping me when the violence you add to society makes me less secure, not more. I am nowhere near as vulnerable as the people whose lives you stole. Still, I’m a feminist activist, and enough people define me as one of the people trying to “take over” that saying murder is a solution to that problem decreases my real safety.
  • You don’t get to claim the country that is mine as well to defend your actions. Your actions and actions like them from others make me sick with despair for the enormity of work to be done to make this a country worth having again.
  • You don’t get to say you’re defending me from people I work to defend from you and others like you.
  • You don’t get to claim you’re protecting me when you’re reducing me to a stereotype of vulnerable white womanhood who will be tainted by even sharing a country with people of darker skin. These stereotypes have been used to restrict the freedom and increase the vulnerability of both white women and black people for far too long for you to claim them to anyone’s benefit but your own.

I’m not yours to blame or claim or credit for any of your actions. Those are all your own.

Not Yours, Not Ever

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