All Right, Everyone Who Isn’t an Insecure, Narcissistic, Authoritarian Con-Man, Raise One Normal Sized Hand
Not so fast, you…
Oh, boy. I don’t have words.
Let’s see –
Lucie is in Washington DC where she participated in the Women’s March on DC. My mom very generously offered to pay her airfare and lodging so she could go.
Over half a million people showed up in DC. More than two hundred thousand marched in New York while over two hundred and fifty thousand people marched in Chicago and over three quarters of a million people marched in Los Angeles. Other countries participated, too. There were protest marches on every continent of the world.
You probably heard about it.
I’m so glad Lucie got to go.
And I’m thrilled by the overwhelming turnout. I’m thrilled by the peacefulness of it and the positivity of it.
I’m buoyed by the loud-and-clear, undeniable response to the Trump camp’s bigotry and misogyny.
When I told a coworker Lucie was going to DC, he kind of shrugged and asked what the point of the whole thing was. Trump is still going to be president.
And I told him the point is to show Trump his rhetoric doesn’t speak for all Americans. The point is to prevent him and his cronies from controlling the narrative and claiming a mandate. The point is to remind him and congress who their employers are and what we expect from them.
Spin it as they might (and they’ll certainly spin and spin) there’s no ignoring today’s unified response to Trump and what he represents.
It’s just amazing. It gives me hope.
This is the America for which I wore the uniform.
This is the America of which I’m proud.
It seems to me, white Americans, for the most part, want to feel good about race, and race relations. That’s good. That’s admirable.
It also seems to me, if we’re being honest, there’s less concern with everyone being happy and more concern with everyone behaving as if they’re happy.
I’m not talking about avowed racists here, mind you; hateful people will be hateful. Instead, I’m talking about the average, non-hateful, non-violent, white American.
We think of ourselves as good guys, so, in the face of protests from black Americans, we feel threatened. Our happy narrative is disrupted.
It’s human nature.
We have a difficult time listening to complaint or protest. We take it personally and become defensive. Instead of engaging with others and listening to what they’re saying, we shut them down.
We tell black Americans “all lives matter” then ignore the Black Lives Matter movement. We complain slavery is over and tell black Americans to get over it. We shout down the notion of white privilege by enumerating all our own, various hardships.
To protect our egos, we de-legitimize their voices.
My unsolicited advice?
Don’t do that.
Good guys stand for truth and justice.
If you really want to be the good guy, live with your discomfort.
Listen more and explain less.
Resist the urge to defend yourself and your whiteness. Understand, unless you’ve been up to hateful no good, when black Americans voice protest, they’re not personally attacking you. Let them be angry. Let them share their narrative in their own way.
They’re protesting the system, and rightly so.
Stand for truth and justice – a little discomfort is a small price to pay.
It won’t magically fix everything, but it’s a start.
It’s a real and genuine thing you can do.
Be the good guy.
© Steve Mitchell 2017