When I was a kid, I always felt confused when hatred reared an ugly head. I grew up in Louisiana where it felt like people were talking about the Civil War like it wasn’t over sometimes.
I would stand up for the little guy being bullied and several times found myself becoming the target (because I was one of the little guys).
Getting into fights seemed normal and it wasn’t usually a race thing. But I never hated anyone. If the kid who just beat me up would’ve offered an apology, I feel like we would’ve been able to move on to becoming friends. Heck, my best friend was a bully and we always moved on afterwards.
So my news, and my feeds, and everywhere I look, I see injustice. I’m not black, female, gay, or muslim. I’m a 37-year-old white guy in cargo shorts trying to raise 3 children and my only goal with them has been to help them see the world differently.
But everything I see shows me “us or them” is prevalent today. Pokémon Go or not. Black, white, or blue. Muslim or Christian. American or foriegn.
How about We?
I’m not offering the #all lives matter defense some seem stuck to. We. The people. We. Those that are on this rock together. We. Boys, girls, white, black, Jewish, Muslim, Christian, straight, gay, whatever.
But it’s not We – what We have is injustice because the world is stuck on labels. I cannot understand the fear or discomfort a black person goes through because today might be the day someone screws up and shoots me while doing their job. I don’t understand the worry about how my sister’s pregnancy might effect her next job assignment or promotion. Or the fear a young woman has of being raped when going out for a run or to study at the college library.
And so I’ve been stuck on how can I stand up for equal treatmemt. I worry about my daughter and the sweetness and kindness she has in her heart, being ripped from her because of all of these things.
WE need to do something. To stand with those people who do worry about injustuce. To stand for what is right, even when we don’t understand the victims ourselves. To hold each other accountable to each other, regardless of race, creed, religion, orientation, identity, and age.
No more “us or them”.
We have strength together. We share this life, together. We share our neighborhoods, our air, successes and failures, governments, lives…
We have the ability to change what We see, only by changing what We look for.
You can do SO much to help. When a male colleague looks at a woman and says “I’d hit that.”, you can maybe find a way to call out the implicit misogyny inherent in the words “hit” and “that”. As a white heterosexual male, you have so much ability to change the discussion, to challenge the divisive language. It’s not easy to do – it takes a lot of courage. And it’s tough to do every time. But any time that you can do it – it makes a difference!