Dear Future Ex,
Hey…wow…I can’t believe we are here…it feels weird writing this but…I must. It’s literally killing me if I don’t do this. Long story short, I’m breaking up with you. Yeah, that’s right. We are done…and I know it sounds weird for me to say this since we have been in relationship for so long but trust me, this breakup is something that should have happened long ago. And when I think about, this has been an abusive, traumatic relationship from the start. After all, it was you who brought me here to the home we share that you stole from those who already lived here.
And then once you got me here to these bloody pillaged shores, you treated me to the desolate pain of being enslaved and you accessed my worth in your eyes to less than you…even sub-human, in fact three-fifths human. And as if that wasn’t enough, once you decided that version of our relationship no longer was needed, you twisted and tried to fool me into subjugation in the pitfalls and utter danger of a segregated Jim Crow. And what I experienced with you in this phase of our relationship was horrific. You still owned my body in many ways. Thank goodness I could still escape through my art…my music…my poetry…my thoughts…my dreams…they truly held my liberty.
And then after I told you I had had enough and I wasn’t going to let you treat me this way anymore, you call yourself apologizing and extended the olive branch of true equality in our relationship…but we both know that was a lie.
I mean no, you didn’t have me in chattel slavery anymore and technically the segregation was now more covert than overt but then you still seem to be up to your same old tricks. You changed your rhetoric and slick talk. So you began to tell me even though this is OUR home, land of the free and home of the brave, you really would prefer me to still be inferior to you. Every time I attempt to exercise my full rights in OUR home, I constantly live in fear of your law enforcement taking my life. Even when I am guilty, I seem to not get the same treatment or sentencing as others with the same infraction. You just don’t treat me right.
And for those reasons and so many others I am breaking up with you White Supremacy. And I know all your alter egos and various forms and the names you go by. You are also known as racism, homophobia, transphobia, bigotry, and Make America Great Again. All these identities mean the same thing, they represent the sin that you are and the evil for which you have tethered me to this toxic, traumatic, painful, and abusive relationship.
And so, on today I say bye-bye. I am cleaning you out of my literal and metaphorical house. I don’t want your corrupt laws and lawmakers. I am tired of those hired to keep peace but instead are perpetrators of violence. I have no use for your disproportionate pay rates, housing loans, school districts, and afforded quality of life. I give up on hoping and waiting for you to make real change when all you have done is allowed incremental perks that have not yet added up to total equality. I am over how you keep putting those that look like me in the prison pipeline in an effort to make us slaves all over again. And I’m certainly through with how I have allowed you into my subconscious causing me to see the variety of skin tones in my own racial mirror as a scale of value instead of a rainbow of God given beauty; or how I have seen you shuffle death into my communities in the forms of discord and all manner of weapons of true mass destruction. We have lived and died, fought and evolved right beside each other for so long. I have known you and your ways in secret depths more than I can admit to myself.
And so that’s it. We are over. Get all your stuff, and get out. And don’t come back. I know my life will be better without you. And from the bottom of my heart: white supremacy, you can go to hell!!
Rev. Shanea D. Leonard (they, them, theirs) B.A., M.Div. is a faith leader, teacher, consultant, community activist, and justice warrior. They currently serve the church as the Associate for Gender & Racial Justice for PC (USA). Having been ordained for over twelve years, Shanea has been serving communities and congregations in various capacities for over fifteen years. Rev. Leonard has done extensive work within urban areas to eradicate systemic oppression in the areas of race, gender, sexual orientation, and socio-economic despair. Shanea believes that God has given them a burden for people whom others have disregarded, oppressed, forgotten, or simply don’t even see. They believe that it is a mandate for every believer to DO justice, LOVE mercy, & WALK humbly with your God.