A couple of years ago, I got in an unexpected confrontation with a woman at a party. It was during the era right after Trump was elected, when I found myself constantly angry, unable to stop talking about the state of the world even with people who didn't especially want to talk about it themselves - and who certainly did not want to talk about it at a party, when they were theoretically supposed to be having, you know...fun.
Eventually, this woman - I had never met her before; she was an old friend of the party's hosts - and I got to talking. She was the only black woman at the party - not especially surprising; the suburbs outside Silicon Valley aren't exactly known for their diversity. She told me about growing up in the foster care system, and introduced me to her wife. We talked about politics generally, and about the Martin Luther King marches specifically, and then started discussing how to raise the next generation of children with greater awareness. I told the woman about how my son and I had made posters of MLK quotes together to carry at the march, and how I'd framed them on our wall as a reminder to him. I remember feeling all proud of myself, telling her that (ugh, performative; ugh, self-congratulatory, just UGH).
All of a sudden - surprisingly then, unsurprisingly now - everything changed.