Slice of Life – I’m Just Very Fearful

May 2, 2023

“I’m just very fearful,” the white woman said at a school board meeting. (See video at the end.)

Actually, I’m not very fearful. My white privilege has put me in a position where I don’t have to fear living in my skin. I have two amazing daughters who have their own families now. And, bonus: this week my younger daughter and her dear husband are working from our home. Their  offices have been moving around our place based on several factors–whether or not they are in a meeting, which porch has the perfect sunniness, where the wind shelters them, and today they’ve moved indoors because of the cold morning.

I get to spoil my cubs with good cooking like this morning’s breakfast of Lemon-Blueberry Dutch Baby.

On a more serious note, “I’m just very fearful” about the people who are so afraid of losing their position of white supremacy that they are killing others.

I remember when my kids were little there was a report, likely after a census, that predicted when the number of non-white people in America would surpass the number of white people. It was going to be by the year 20?? (I forget). It hasn’t happened yet, but lately I have noticed the impending change has cemented the culture of “white supremacy,” proving it is alive and sick in America. The fear that white supremacy might come undone seems to feed the ubiquitous gun culture too. This fear has gripped the lives of so many that now they are shooting neighbors and innocent travelers, not just nefarious intruders. Racism, white supremacy, religious fundamentalism, the history of the second amendment, and guns–they are all eternally entwined.

The following poem is written in the voice of a member of Moms for Liberty. (Watch the video below in Kenny Akers’ tweet. The quote “I’m just very fearful” comes from her statement at the school board meeting.

I’m just very fearful
Impossible to be cheerful
Replacement makes me tearful

I’m just very fearful
My white children will feel too awful
if you tell them their history is bad-full

I’m just very fearful
Do I worry he will grow up to pull
the trigger? — I’m just very fearful

22 thoughts on “Slice of Life – I’m Just Very Fearful

  1. Thank you for this relevant, and unfortunately timely post. The money the gun lobby has is at the heart of why we haven’t been able to solve this, though all the European countries have.

    1. Thank you, Becky. Yes, someday we will have more people with common sense and less with the fear that requires guns. Maybe not in my lifetime, but sometime in the future.

  2. Thanks for this brave response. What else do we have but our voices? our votes? and our poetry? I can’t believe the ignorance of white supremacy. Don’t get me started.

    1. Margaret, thank you for your comment. I am looking forward to also using my body / my presence in a way that is new for me when I go to Denver for June 5. I hope I do get you started! Haha!

  3. Denise, so many times I just sit shaking my head. The other day I sank into a deep hole because of what we did to the Native Americans and that someone years later seriously thought of putting up a wall. We are so privileged to think that we can take what we want from others and defend what we stole. I’m with Margaret: don’t get me started.

  4. Alive and sick … perfect turn of phrase for the topic. And fear can be so irrational, as you have captured as well.

    Diane Anderson (newtreemom)

  5. Thank you for sharing. I watched the video you shared a day or two ago and found myself bewildered, squinting in confusion. The idea of being afraid of losing power simply because others are gaining survival and civility is truly mind-boggling.

    1. Thank you, Betsy. I like the way you put that: “The idea of being afraid of losing power simply because others are gaining survival and civility is truly mind-boggling.” That it is. Thank you for reading today.

  6. Very important and strong post, Denise. So much that is so honest in these words:

    On a more serious note, “I’m just very fearful” about the people who are so afraid of losing their position of white supremacy that they are killing others.

    I am very fearful of this, too. Thank you for your advocacy!!

  7. Your post is so important and touches on the need to accept all people as who they are – people. I worry about all those people who are “fearful” and want to support a society where we are respectful of the breadth and depth of our society….

    1. Anita, thank you so much. “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” I John 4:18

  8. Diane,
    I took a few weeks off from writing and reading and commenting to take care of family. Reading your post reminds me of why I am glad I had a mindset to return to this writing community today. Thank you for modeling a way to speak out against what Becky stated so well “truly mind-boggling.” You’ve givine me lots to think about. Thank you.

  9. Denise,
    Brilliant poem. I’m so sick of women who whine about their fear w/ out considering the very real fear children of color feel. I listened to the entire exchange. Did I hear correctly that the woman who is afraid is a teacher? 😑

    1. Glenda, thank you. I like how the moderator keeps saying thank you for being here, for being honest, etc. She wrapped it up so succinctly.

      I don’t know for sure the whole story. The woman being asked about DE and I does mention her classroom. But she is also part of the Moms of Liberty and seems, at this meeting, to be a parent. Maybe she teaches elsewhere. I wish I could hear more from the meeting.

  10. Denise, I am glad that you are speaking out. I often find that poets use their voice to address timely issues. I had a dear friend of the family, a Bishop who was a very caring, brilliant priest. He spoke out against during the civil rights movement and walked in the marches in Washington, D.C. His voice was strong and that always stayed with me. Your poem reminded me of his stance for what is right. No group should be supreme of others. Thanks for your post.

  11. Denise, in reading your post and powerfully-crafted poem I am reminded (yet again) of something I read years ago, when I was a child. It comes from The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A. McKillip: “The giant Grof was hit in one eye by a stone, and that eye turned inward so that it looked into his mind, and he died of what he saw there.” I have never forgotten it. Imagine all the horrors of history that wouldn’t exist if we humans could see our thoughts for what they really are… I can’t help recalling the brutal death of Emmett Till just now, as his accuser has died so recently. If we cannot learn to harness fear and anger, and how to rein them in with wisdom… then we are but feeding the careening beast bent on our own destruction. If we cannot remember that our story isn’t ours alone, we can’t grow the empathy and compassion we need to thrive as a society, a species. -Let me stop here, else I’ll have an essay! Thank you for your stirring words and insights. On a lighter note: thank you for that Lemon-Blueberry Dutch baby recipe – it sounds amazing, and the photo makes my mouth water! It looks the perfect thing to lavish on loved ones.

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