…’s horrible and none of us should experience it, but let this puncture of normality radicalize you. This feeling that society is no longer safe — this is how black people, and women, and LGBTQ people feel during normal times and everyone is feeling it right now. This anxiety and depression about the ability to have a life …
First, it is wonderful that you two can have such an open, honest conversation about your differences. Not so that one can solve the problems of the other, or even so that one can win the “who suffers more” debate. It is so that you can both come to a mutual understanding, build empathy and make changes in your own lives to be an advocate for the other.
The line I highlighted is the most significant message, I think. What people label as normal is so subjective to their personal experiences. And sometimes our normal bubbles burst when we realize that other people have different experiences when we analyze what happens under similar contexts. (Maybe they’re not bursting enough.) Me walking into an expensive store in the US will be a wholly different experience for my husband walking into that same store (He is white; I am black/Filipino). His normal in that specific context will not be my normal.
Now, that doesn’t mean I want people to feel discrimination the way I’ve felt it. And it doesn’t mean that I want people whose normal is different from mine to apologize for something they didn’t do. What it does mean is that I’d like to have dialogues like this with other people so that we can build understanding and empathy, and so that we can create a shared normal that makes us all feel safe (maybe even free?) to go about our day-to-day.