Speaking Out and Standing Up

I’m going in a different direction today. And I know I’ve been quiet on here lately, but this is the most public voice I have, so I feel it’s important to use it. I also acknowledge that this is  not a political or current events blog, and I don’t tend to write too much outside of the areas of health, fitness, and wellness. But there are some things that I need to say, and there is no other time to say it than now. I also understand that there are many out there who warn against getting too political or one sided on a blog such as this, for fear that you may alienate and lose readers. Well, honestly, if I lose readers for speaking out against Trump/White Supremacy/Nazis/Racism/EtcEtcEtc, then those are most definitely not quite the target readership I had in the first place. So, bye.

I’m not writing today to tell you how scared I am or how I’ve been affected by the horrible things that have been happening lately, because the truth is, my life has not been turned upside down. I haven’t lost loved ones, I haven’t been living in fear, I haven’t had to protect my family from hatred and bigotry. Because I am the lucky, the privileged. I am the middle class white female who doesn’t have to be worried about being turned away from an establishment because of the color of my skin, or something I wear on my head, or the way my facial features are shaped. I blend in. I can just live my life these days. I don’t have to do anything.

But the truth is, the days of just blending in, shielding my eyes, and moving along have long come to an end. We have reached a time in our society where blending in almost means supporting the other side. Where turning a blind eye is as bad as perpetrating the hate. There is no more room to ignore or to watch from the sidelines as people are being unfairly persecuted and discriminated against, and literally being driven over by psychopathic Nazi’s (that’s not something we ever thought we’d say in modern times now, is it?).

And I’m not pretending, nor do I believe that I can be some sort of white knight that saves the day. I’m simply stating here, publicly, that I know it’s my duty to recognize bigotry, speak out against it, and support those who are discriminated against. I’m not 100% sure how to do this in a way that makes a difference, but I think it has to start with listening, listening, and more listening. Listening to people of color who tell me what it is I should be doing or not doing. Listening to those who have not had a voice for too long, and letting them know that their voice is heard here. Speaking out when I’m able, and not only teaching my daughter about tolerance and acceptance, but teaching her about speaking out against hatred and intolerance. Teaching her through example, so that one day when she’s old enough, she can continue to fight these battles and stand up for those who need it.

I want her to see me listening when necessary and acting out when it’s called for. I want her to see racial differences and accept them rather than ignoring them and being “color blind”. I want her to understand that these disparities do exist and that she is, in fact, lucky just because of the color of her skin. I want her to understand that although she may be lucky, she is not better than or superior to anyone else due to that same reason.

So I’m listening. I’m watching and I’m learning, and I’m pledging to do what I can, when I can. I promise to set a good example for my daughter and show her that ignorance is not “bliss”, it only makes things worse. We can not ignore racial issues, we cannot live in our little white bubble, pretending that everyone loves each other. We will stand up to hate, to intolerance, to racial slurs and jokes. We will offer a shoulder to our LGBTQ peers and a hand to our muslim neighbors. We will not sit down and be quiet, we will not tolerate a president or so-called leader who essentially glorifies the persecution of others.

So I’m listening. Tell me what to do, and what to read, and who to speak to and who to speak out against. And I know that these words are just that: only words. But words can be powerful, and they may be the only power I have right now. This is a declaration, a promise to stop “doing nothing”, to start trying to be the ally that I’ve always thought that I was. 

The ironic thing here is that I’ve been sitting on this blog post for a while now. I first wrote it almost 3 weeks ago, but I haven’t been able to figure out how to close it. It wasn’t until just now that I realized that not posting is just adding to my silence, to the very thing that I’m trying to speak up against. And besides, how exactly do you conclude a post on this topic? How do you wrap it up with a neat little bow and a perfect finishing paragraph? I can’t.

So here it is, unfinished. Maybe someday I’ll be able to come back to this and wrap it up neatly, but until then, I’ll use my voice, with or without a catchy concluding paragraph.