They Were Our Friends: Commentary about Women’s Rights & Dangerous Friendships

Special thanks to the friends and colleagues who read this article in advance to provide insight and clarity on the sensitive nature of this topic. This community works together to provide safe, honest, and trustworthy content. Read on knowing the subject matter may be sensitive but also necessary. -Paula

In the days since Roe V. Wade was overturned, I’ve unfriended a few people. Co-workers, classmates, fellow artists… all folks who were extra vocal about being “happy they overturned,” or “overturning is a step in the right direction,” or some bullshit about “the agenda” (How this became a conversation about homosexuality and the black father… I do not understand!) But lately, I’ve had a no no-sense approach to spewing rhetoric and word vomits. (No, I didn’t have to unfriend AJay Brewer… I did it years ago when he first came!) Had I shared a more intimate relationship with these persons, I may have taken the time for a deeper conversation but right now, it just feels dangerous to my peace and unhealthy for my overall well-being to keep people in my circle’s who don’t align with my values. I could just unfollow them… that’s what my good-girl-friend suggested so I don’t lose business relationships, but right now, I feel the need to match this loud dramatic nonsense with a loud bold action of my own. For the record, I didn’t silently unfriend them… 

A few years ago, I went to an exhibit called “They Were Our Friends” at the Holocausts Museum in D.C. It was a storytelling of holocaust victims who had been turned into the Nazi’s by people they considered friends. Bosses turning in employees, neighbors turning in neighbors, in-laws turning in family, friends turning in friends. It was one of the saddest and most profound things I had ever seen, complete with letters and testimonials from victims who were baffled that the person they ate dinner with the night before would give them over to death the next day. The lesson was learned for me loud and clear that day: The friend of my enemy is my enemy.

I’d love to take every nuance and dissect people: find out what they believe, categorize it from ally to extremist, test it against life or death sacrifice, and then calibrate it against what I will tolerate. But it’s not possible. I already know how to be leery of people and motives, I’m a black woman in America. But when the evil isn’t evident by race, religion, or screen-printed t-shirt with a bold lettered message, then I must watch, listen, and learn. I must recognize that just because we giggle about the latest episode of Stranger Things at work doesn’t mean you voted in favor or queer rights. Or just because you took a few of my writing session and I know how badly you want kids, doesn’t mean you’d protect the rights of a ten year old rape victim to not have one. Or just because we went on a girls trip together in the mountains, doesn’t mean you would have voted for equality in the Virginia V. Loving case. 

In a drastic move, the county made a change that has immediately impacted the health, wealth, and rights of women all over the country. The results are dangerous. The people who uphold it are dangerous. The people who choose it are dangerous. I want an America for my son and every child in which they can choose their happiness without fear of legal consequences, they won’t feel the pressure of my personal preferences, and they won’t be afraid that the adults in charge are making decisions that don’t benefit their future. But not everyone wants that. The dangerous one’s want an America where we do what they say. And whether it’s the person on the supreme court finalizing it, the local official upholding it, or the next door neighbor voting for it, they are all dangerous and they are not your friend. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s