I am not a particularly brave person. I have trouble asserting myself and I avoid confrontation whenever possible. Most of the time this is not a big deal. But occasionally I need to voice a (potentially) controversial opinion and I find it very hard not to censor myself in order to not draw negative attention to me.
I have opinions. Very strong ones. But usually I don’t share them because I don’t trust most folks to be civilized in their discourse about it. I am ill prepared to deal with poor reactions and behaviors.
But things are bigger than me.
My heart feels so bruised and battered from the nearly constant blows from the death and despair and casual hate that is becoming so commonplace.
The sad thing is that I am fairly well privileged and so I am not subjected to much in the way of discrimination in my daily dealings. I can, if I choose, not watch the news or read it on the internet and it goes away. I can, because of an accident of my birth affecting the tone of my skin, get upset about the violence present in the world and and shut it out and continue about my life.
I have this ability. This is a privilege that many don’t have because they cannot just put away the color of their skin or change the gender of the persons that they love and are attracted to. (Of course, sexuality is more private than skin color and can be denied or hidden.)
The thing about change is that it can’t only come from the bottom up. It has to also come from the middle outward and the top down. So those of us who have privilege need to be able to see around our blinders and listen to people who have a different perspective than us.
Don’t discount their experience just because it doesn’t or hasn’t happened to you.
Don’t discount the label of privilege because your life has also had struggles. Privilege doesn’t mean you don’t struggle. It just means that you don’t have certain automatic struggles to overcome.
We can all do better. We must do better. Look toward each other with empathy, respect, and heart.