I Love My Husband And Hate His Whiteness
I don’t know how I both love my husband and hate his whiteness, but I do. Maybe it’s because I try to change it. Maybe it’s because he tries to change it. I can say with 100% certainty that if he didn’t try, I wouldn’t be here. I can also say that my being here is a testament to how willing I must be to continue to give some white people the benefit of the doubt despite the constant proof that they do not deserve it. What I can say for certain is that if I become completely unable to lie to myself with the concept of hope for a better world, I would take measures to ensure I no longer needed to endure this. But my survival instinct is too strong, and I tell myself I have too many things I want to accomplish before accepting the barbarity of humanity and the wanton cruelty of those with too much power upon those of us without.
Whiteness it its own pathology. I see it in my spouse and the way he engages with the world. The number of conversations we’ve had where he’s had to work on adjusting his thinking, how he centers himself in things that have nothing to do with him. In the ways he makes himself a victim because the world doesn’t bend to accommodate his wants. It’s frightening to watch because it confirms all the worst things I’ve learned about white people and I don’t know how to fix it. So, I disrupt. I point out when he’s fucking up. And then I feel guilty because I’m in a relationship with someone I’m actively trying to change into a less dangerous human.
I see the pathology of whiteness and it makes it hard for me to look at my significant other who is a descendant and active participant in its cruelty. It makes me dislike having to interact with whiteness in any way. I avoid a lot of media because I can see its influences. I avoid public interactions because they are just so casually harmful that it all feels like war to me. And I am tired but years ago I moved the battle into my home, legalized its attachment to me, then promised that I would try to understand every time it cut me, in hopes that this time I wouldn’t bleed out.
It makes me realize that I cannot fix people who love being broken in a society that only rewards you for breaking, too. And every time I break myself to continue surviving in this society, I wonder why I bother. I am tired of living at this intangible crossroads of optimism and futility. I see who and what we are, how we cannot conceive a non-hierarchical world where only those cruel enough to inflict suffering thrive, those numb enough to ignore it survive, and those strong enough to endure it suffer. I see the multitude of ways we exchange pieces of ourselves to align with the most powerful, the parts we sacrifice in hope of becoming callous enough to never experience the brutality of powerlessness again.
We are all cowards, afraid of doing the horrible work of reshaping the world for fear of our own suffering…and yet, we suffer. Some silently and others raging aloud only to be culled by those threatened by their righteous rage. We exist in a culture that builds itself digging graves for everyone it touches and then charging them to die. We are truly a graveyard of the living, recycling our horrors until we degrade into nothingness. And I see the core of this weakness every time I remember the whiteness of my husband and the legacy he represents.
We talk about the end of us. He hates those conversations, instantly rejects them and pretends they can never come to be. We live in a world where people who look like him enjoy their power to kill people who look like me with little fear of repercussion. We live in a society where my skin makes me the enemy of the state. His culture is brutally toxic and revels in the violence they enact. They know they are the better monster and they ensure no one forgets.
I think about the end of us. I think about the day we may have to openly choose sides. I think about the day he will betray me because that is what whiteness does - it betrays all humanity to label itself the god over all. I wonder whether we’ll go down together or if he will slay me for his gain. Will it be a series of tiny betrayals where he asks that I sacrifice bits and pieces of myself for the illusion of safety or will it be one earth-shattering decision to walk away? Or, will we work together and go out holding hands, telling ourselves that together we are strongest even as we are crushed into nothing?
Maybe it’ll never come to that. Maybe it’ll be a catastrophe so massive that we won’t have a moment to realize it’s the end. Or, maybe, we’ll grow old and die together the way we were raised to expect. I don’t know. No one does.
What I do know is that my marriage seems to be a testament to how much I want to keep giving whiteness the benefit of the doubt and the evidence of my willingness to sacrifice myself it. I guess the lessons they taught of my place in this world took root after all.