Recently Ms. Cargle explained why good intentions donâ€™t negate a harmful impact. Instead she said, â€œyou apologize, acknowledge the pain you caused and exist more carefully and intentionally.â€
â€œI value the millions of people coming to hear my voice, I just hope that people recognize that I and other anti-racism activists whose numbers are also continuing to grow are not performing,â€ she said.
â€œIâ€™m deeply invested in the ability to be my dynamic self and not just one whoâ€™s surviving white supremacy,â€ Ms. Cargle said, and she does so by sharing, albeit cautiously, relatable snippets of her personal life â€” her dog Ivy, charcuterie boards, books. She also makes a conscious effort to remind her followers, â€œyouâ€™re actually my readers and youâ€™re actually my students and youâ€™re actually a part of a conversation and this is a space where weâ€™re learning.â€
A path to the free classroom
When asked how she makes sense of her unconventional career path, teaching and lecturing outside the academy and via social media, Ms. Cargle said, â€œthe two greatest gifts that my mother ever gave me was curiosity and my love of reading.â€ In between soccer practice and Girl Scout meetings in Green, Ohio, in a childhood she described as â€œvery good and pretty lovely,â€ itâ€™s fairly easy to connect the dots to her current race-related work. She spent hours poring through encyclopedias and reading whatever her mother had lying around the house, like Maya Angelou and Sister Souljah. â€œI always considered being either a teacher or a lawyer,â€ she said.
â€œWe lived in Section 8 housing inside of a very rich suburb,â€ she said, which made her hyper-aware of the social and economic differences between her white classmates and herself. Despite getting the same grades and participating in the same after-school activities it became clear, she said, that â€œthereâ€™s something about us thatâ€™s different but thereâ€™s nothing about me that makes me less worthy.â€
This chasm only became more stark in middle school.
One of Ms. Cargleâ€™s earliest memories of race was in the sixth grade. She was told by her crush, who was white, that theyâ€™d never be a couple because she was black. Though she laughs now about the innocence of a first crush, the sting still lingers.