“The most dangerous worldview is the worldview of those who have not seen the world.” -Alexander von Humboldt.
Hold steady your gaze and be a witness to this moment in American history. Do not look away as shock becomes grief and grief becomes despair. Before you give in to despair, be ready. Before you sink into your anger, direct it with laser like focus to breaking dysfunctional and oppressive systems. Question everything – for we truly have seen the full power and the result of quiet, subversive, oppression. Now we can easily identify it among our peers and act.
I am taking responsibility for where we are as a country by promising the following:
I will respond to awkward racist comments with an education on institutional oppression.
I will not quietly go along with disparaging remarks against marginalized people.
I will be steadfast in my work in public policy and public affairs.
I understand, unless a person has been on the receiving end of oppressive words and actions, it can be hard to know the damage and trauma they cause. I understand that. We have swept the ugly parts of our history under the rug for too long, and have never fully acknowledged and made reparations for the various systemically oppressive events that have occurred.
What this is doing is forcing us to take a closer look at ourselves and come together to confront social injustices and discuss resolutions, or maybe even revolutions. These opportunities to discuss, in and of themselves, create growth. I am grateful for the different viewpoints I have been presented with. I welcome intelligent discussions with points based in pragmatic analysis. I also understand emotionally fueled beliefs; we all have them.
The reality is, until we acknowledge the existence and consequences of covert oppression, coercion, and exploitation, and strike it down when we witness it, I am afraid we will continue to see resentment and anger overflow from the constant struggle that underrepresented populations face (people of color, the LGBTQ community, and asylum seekers).
Do not let this moment fade into solemn inaction. Solemn inaction would be an extreme disservice to the greatest American civil rights leaders in history and it would also send a dangerously cowardice message to any marginalized group or person that desires freedom from oppression, undermining all that we stand for as Americans. The eagle may represent our freedom, but our resiliency and ability to grow look more like a rising phoenix.
institutional oppression https://www.amazon.com/Three-Into-One-Triple-Oppression/dp/B000J4MVMW