i have been quiet around here for the last few weeks. every time i went to write about this, i never could find words that would bring something of value to this topic. and i've come to face the fact that i won't have the right words.
i will never know what it's like to be othered because of the color of my skin. i'm incredibly aware of how white i am, and the enormous privilege that comes with that. i've lived in other countries, where i was the minority, and i still knew how much further my whiteness could get me.
lately, i have been reading and listening to things from my adolescence. i'm reading this book by dave cullen on columbine. columbine stands out to me a lot, because it changed a lot of the way that i looked at the world. not because of the tragedy of it all (even though that's awful), but because it was the first time i had been othered by an adult because of the type of person i was, on the outside. it lead to the last couple years of high school battling with adults, and not high school bullies. it changed who i was and i vividly remember saying to myself that i would make sure that i never made someone feel that way, and to learn from it, if i ever did. my parents didn't teach me to hate because something or someone was different. and as a curious person, by nature, i love being around people and things that aren't part of my "norm". (norm being who i am.)
when i first learned about what happened in charlottesville, i rolled my eyes. i had really hoped that people of my generation and the one behind me would have dropped the nonsense of xenophobia, racism, sexism, and bigotry. evidently, there's still fertile soil for this way of thinking, especially to this level. we are all subject to our own biases, based on our own interactions and experiences with any culture and belief system. but to get to a level that a group is marching through a college campus with tiki torches, annoyed me to a level i had never been. then, as i learned more of what actually happened, and that a woman died because of it, i cried.
the most bewildering part to me is that there is this call to preserve "white culture"; which isn't a thing. the only thing we can claim as 'white culture' is the inability to dance or clap in a group on beat. if you trace your 'culture' back further enough, you'll notice that you have a great mix of things, cultures, beliefs, and countries.
the most terrifying and disturbing part was the violence and hatred. it's so foreign to me, as i said before, i wasn't raised that way. the fear of people that are different from you is a learned behavior. and the reaction of using violence and fear to push the people you're afraid of away from you, is foolish.
the thing i know how to do, right now, is speak up in conversations when i hear xenophobia, racism, sexism, homophobia, and bigotry. instead of holding my tongue, because i do that sometimes to avoid conflict and i'll allow subtle comments. i need to give my friends that are people of color (and other marginalized communities) the platform to speak up....instead of trying to figure out the words to speak for them. there is power in their stories and experiences. we are guilty of trying to tell them in a digestible way. if being fully inclusive is something i strive for, then the voices i support and lift up need to represent a full spectrum of people...and not the ones that look like me.