As one of the most prominent voices of our time, author Roxane Gay is acutely aware of the power of her words. But when it comes to white supremacy, it’s gonna take a lot more than eloquent speech to preserve her safety. This is why on the latest episode of her podcast, Here to Slay, during a discussion with co-host Dr. Tressie McMillan Cottom, Gay revealed the lengths she’s been forced to go to do exactly that.
“White people are black people’s problem, but black people cannot solve white people,” Cottom began. “This is not a problem we can solve. This is an in-house intra-family war that will kill us, coincidentally. But in which we have no skin and no sides. We literally lose either way.
“A visible minority that I think represents probably a silent majority of white people in this country have latched onto the lost cause of the confederacy, a rhetoric of white idyllic history and past, brought it into the future in your name—in your name. They have killed people and have threatened to destroy this entire country if it cannot be a white-first nation, for white people first, best, and only.
“If you have not joined a church, an organization, a bowling league, a wine mom’s club, a knitting circle that is not saying expressly ‘we are not them’ then you are them. That’s what you need to be doing right now. You need to find your people and you’ve y’all have got to articulate something. Because right now the only flags I see flying are confederate flags, and proud boys flags, and fascisms flags. And so you’re going to need to come up with something that counters it, because right now, it looks like the other side is winning. and it’s going to take you with us.”
“There’s a difference between us and them,” Gay replied. “We believe in the sanctity of all life, and they don’t. They will kill us and they will be happy. There’s nothing we can do to help the situation, but to stay home and to stay safe. I’ve recently done something that will surprise a great many people, but, again, I’m from Nebraska.”
“What kind did you get?” Cotton asked. “Listen! I already know!”
“I got me a Beretta. And a Sig Sauer,” Gay said. “Guns are not my thing. I think that if people want to own one handgun, or two, that’s fine. I don’t think people should own AR-15s or automatic weapons.
“For the first time in my life I have felt the need for an extra layer of protection.”
Gay’s unease about the current racial climate shouldn’t come as a surprise to any of us. But in the immediate aftermath of Trump’s Parler party at the U.S. Capitol, and concerns over subsequent violence leading up to Inauguration Day, the 2nd amendment is definitely something that more Black folks should embrace.
You can listen to this episode of Here to Slay in its entirety only on Luminary.