Two Steps Forward

It’s been a shit week. I’ve spent every day on a fairly massive emotional roller coaster. If you visit my FB page you can see how it played out – most of my posts are public. 

I’m feeling a lot of things – fear, concern, devastation, as well as hope. I worry for the futures of my LGBT, Latino, female, and black friends and family members. I fear that I’m not doing enough for them and that I won’t have the resources to make a real difference. I fear that, though most have elected our current president in spite of his words and behaviors, that to our children, our actions will speak louder than our words. 

I don’t worry so much for myself. I have my basic needs covered, my family is financially stable, and I’m in a relatively safe city without many minorities. I am paid at an equal level to my male peers. There are many who are not so lucky. My fears and concerns have little to do with my own everyday life. 

I also fear that I have spent too much time telling white men they are the problem rather than telling them they are the solution. I’m terrified that I’ve cut them off at the knees when I could’ve simply turned them the opposite direction and handed them the sword. I’m also hopeful that now that they experience something similar to what women, POC, and gays experience, they will start to understand why we yell so loud, hold protests, and sometimes lash out. 

I’m hopeful towards the future as well. I’m hopeful that we really will see the heart of government corruption crash, and I’m hopeful that people who voted in all directions will be active in making sure that that doesn’t happen at the sacrifice of our progress against racism, sexism, and homophobia. I’m hopeful that our president had heard us and that he is sincere in his effort to unify us. 

I’m hopeful that white people like me will now step up to the plate and do for our minority peers what they cannot accomplish because they are too wrapped up fighting for a seat at the table. I’m hopeful that many people who were once complacent about the state of equality in our nation will now stand up and start talking and start acting. 

Thought it’s disheartening, I’m glad that our blind optimism that racism and sexism are a thing of the past has been shattered as we’ve seen the heart of those who hold these misguided ideals blown wide open. We know they are out there now (no, I am most definitely not referring to Trump supporters as a group, I am referring to those who have re-adopted offensive terms and committed acts of anger and violence against minorities since his campaign began). 
I am hopeful that we all realize that the only way to solve all of our problems – no matter our color or gender – is to rid our country of racism, sexism, xenophobia, and homophobia. And now that we are experiencing the horror of the backlash against all of these things, and now that we realize that that backlash hurts us all, we will come together to solve them rather than fighting and accusing in a way that only increases the divide. 

I don’t know what I’m going to do to personally contribute to solving these problems yet. I’m going to change the way I talk about them, for starters. I’m going to learn more about what the real root of them is, and see if I can pinpoint what’s working and what isn’t. Since I started reading The New Jim Crow earlier this year (I highly recommend this book, especially now), I’ve had plans to work some of these themes into Stripped: Bloody Heels (the sequel to Stripped: Muddy Heels) and the as-yet unnamed third book of the trilogy. I have plans to write a book where a man walks through life from the perspective of a woman. And maybe follow it up with one that details the reverse.

But writing isn’t enough. I need to be involved, I just don’t know how yet. I need to contribute rather than expecting everyone else to carry the banner. I need to make sure everyone else understands that understanding doesn’t necessarily mean giving others what they want, it’s simply a pathway to figuring out what the heart of the problem is and solving for that. I need to set some very clear boundaries if I’m going to try activism at all. 

It’s going to be a tough and painful four years. But it will be worth it as long as we make progress. 

I hope. 

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2 thoughts on “Two Steps Forward

  1. Amen.
    My only added thought is with your use of the word “activism.” What does that entail? I think your thoughtful dialogues are a form of activism that while they may not get widespread and immediate attention, they also calmly and clearly lay out arguments that have a way of tearing down barriers because they don’t cause an immediate defense to go up, the way I think of defenses going up when someone is yelling so loud I can’t hear him, her, or them–whether in a march, an argument, or a heated court room. Certainly the tone of your activism is your choice, but hearing your actual voice, knowing that you are a very real and vulnerable person, and laying aside the fear that listening to you might cause my foundation to buckle, I have learned a ton. Keep letting us see you. Keep engaging by seeking common ground and new perspectives.Things have reached a point of backlash in our country, and I like how you are seeing all the possibilities the change in tide is bringing. It may sweep some hopes out to sea for a time, but I think it will also reveal some hidden truths that we need if we’re going to help settle this commotion.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gosh, Elissa, you’ve made me feel so much better just in this comment alone! Thank you. I do think there is something to be said for writing and talking about it and communicating in general, but I do feel the need to involve myself in something more direct. Certainly donations, but I’d like to “get my hands dirty” so to speak, although I don’t know that “activism” is necessarily the right word. I’m not really interested in canvassing or recruiting, but I would like to help people and bring awareness to the cause.

      As always, I really appreciate your very well-articulated thoughts. Everything about this is really tough, although I felt much better today after listening to an interview with John Stewart (I would recommend googling it). He gives a very clear big picture of view of things that left me feeling like we aren’t doomed, but that the fight is definitely still on and worth engaging in. Thanks again!

      Like

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