Friday, September 23, 2016

Salutations

I haven't been writing much of late.

Some of my absence is just a by-product of homeschooling and working and having a toddler and living in my car for huge chunks of time each day shuttling kids to and fro.

Some of my absence is absolutely intended.

Deliberate.

I'm angry a lot. I'm far more often disappointed.

God, I'm starting to sound like the parent of a teenager...except the target of my most frequent anger and disappointment isn't my children (don't get me wrong, it is sometimes), but instead society. People I've known in some capacity or another who've revealed themselves to be someone I'm utterly disgusted in.

The thing about this election is that it isn't just about political ideology. It's not about some tangential argument about fiscal responsibility or budgetary accountability.

Nah.

The issues at stake in this election are bigger than that. Humanity seems to be up for negotiation, and far too often people are siding with fear.

Really, so much of the division in this country comes from fear.

That fear - where does it come from?

Ignorance, whether willful or the byproduct of biased education and upbringing, seems to be at the root of so much of it all.

There are large groups of people who rely on that ignorance and the fear it generates. We are witnessing politically what happens when the masses are convinced that they should be afraid.

I spend so very much time trying to unpack my own issues, listening to the experiences of others, honoring their word without questioning it or allowing my own biases to somehow skew what I hear. If more people could just do that, if more people could drop the shield and sit down and listen, things might be so very different.

Might be.

I feel, I truly feel, like we collectively are on the precipice right now. Teetering so very precariously on the edge. So close to outright war with ourselves. All it would take is one swift breeze and we'd be over and on the way down.

But.

This is how change happens.

Change of this variety doesn't come quietly and incrementally. Change of this variety has to be dramatic. It has to be forced and there will always be people who dig in their heels and fight that change because it somehow threatens everything they've ever known.

Fight, if you must, but change is going to come.

I see it in the eyes of my child, the one who refuses to accept that this is the way the world is or should be. The child who vows to do what she can already to ensure that the world her own children will someday occupy will be different than this one. Better.

I see hope there.

I see it there, but we can't wait that long. We can't just educate our children and hope they correct the wrongs we've tolerated. We can't.

It's not enough.

It's not enough because if you believe that it is, privilege is telling you that lie. Just because something doesn't affect you doesn't make it less real, certainly doesn't make it more tolerable. Turning a blind eye to the now, urging the next generation to fix it, it's not enough.

I have been asked increasingly by friends, by fans, what we can do.

There are so many things.

Educate your children, yes. Please. Do this. First educate yourself. Learn something from a new perspective every single day. Refuse to filter what you read with the biases you've been taught. Recognize your own biases, stop insisting that you don't see race. You do, and I promise that it affects how you treat people more than you are comfortable with. Go here. Take the test. 

Speak out when you see or hear or read bias and hate. Use your voice and your privilege to stop it, to call people out, to demand that things change right now.

Listen when people share their experiences. Listen. Do not insert your opinions or what you've experienced into their reality.

Stop elevating your feelings above the lives of other people. Lives matter more than feelings.

Intervene when you see injustice. Be willing to hold that video camera, to insert yourself in situations where you might be able to help.

Write to elected officials. Attend meetings of city councils and school boards and oversight committees. Join advocacy groups. Vote. Donate money if you are able.

Mostly, pay attention. If you're looking for instances of deeply rooted systemic racism, they really are everywhere. Once you start to see them, it quickly becomes impossible to not see them.

When you see them, get angry.

Then do something.

Hell hath no fury like a soccer mom, slightly inconvenienced. 

We need the soccer moms to get pissed.

1 comment:

  1. I like the whole piece, but this is my fave: "if more people could drop the shield and sit down and listen, things might be so very different." Yes, really listen.

    (Lerewayah is my old blog. You know me better as Gretchen R. Chateau)

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