5.11.2016

fractured thoughts because my heart is aching for my friends and few will listen

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” --Atticus Finch (to kill a mockingbird)

I find few things more frustrating than if I open my mouth about my experience as a woman and a man jumps in to point out all the reasons my reality isn't valid. I shut down faster than an open submarine hatch; but it's not because you're convincing. It's because I'm quick to realize you can't listen. you'll never find empathy when you're more concerned with changing my mind so i don't see you as some sort of monster just because you're male. FYI, if I'm being honest I probably already figured out you're not...See, I have brothers, cousins, best friends who I know are good honest men because action proves character. I've also had men I thought were friends who proved to be the kind who view every woman's body as something made for them. So my judge of character has been honed as if my life depended on it since some day it might. Do you know what that's like? No more than I know what it's like to be a man, surrounded by toxic hyper-masculinity & culture's pressure to stunt and hide your emotions.

Is this how my friends of color feel? Aren't they surrounded by the same voices, the same invalidation? By people who can never *truly* understand their struggles and lives drowning them out with "logic".

It's hard to hear about white privilege. It's hard to swallow that racism still exists. that we don't all experience the same america, the same culture; that equality is still an ideal in so many ways. But the ideal is there, it holds true. It's waiting for us to flesh it out. Waiting for us to define it further, with justice & compassion & liberty. I think if we really wanted it, we would try. I think what most of us really want is the world to re-frame itself to our perspective. To believe easy, softer, false half-truths defined by our own experiences and people like us.
Isn't it better to see reality? Even if it turns out to be yet another perspective; aren't the ideals of equality, justice, our fellow humans' safety and comfort; worth bending for? Worth facing a harsh paradigm shift?
But doing that means stepping back. shutting up. Being willing to be uncomfortable. Yes, we've all experienced trauma. Yes, white people can be at a disadvantage compared to other humans. but. THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU. There is a time & place for your story. The systemic inequality? We know nothing of it--and it's time for those who do to have center stage.

I want to have the moral courage to go against the crowd, to stand with the marginalized like Atticus. I think a lot of us want that opportunity. I think we have ideas of what that looks like...if we were honest? The opportunity is here. It's now. If Atticus was a real man today? I think he would do a lot of listening & have courage to ask hard questions. When his black brothers and sisters spoke about their experiences; I don't think he would be quick to jump in and rephrase their voice.


just some of my own thoughts, as my heart bleeds with my friends.

 

“Language, that most human invention, can enable what, in principle, should not be possible. It can allow all of us, even the congenitally blind, to see with another person’s eyes.”
-Dr. Oliver Sacks

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