My head has been swimming with thoughts lately. I have usually taken a very mild mannered approach to what I share on Facebook. I try to stay away from controversy, I watch what I say and how I say it because I never want to be unkind to anybody I’m friends with. I know that I have friends who think very differently from me, whose life experiences inform a worldview that is very different than my own. I know I have friends for whom racism, homophobia and mysogyny are nothing more than social justice buzzwords that are used by the politically correct. I know this. It hurts me, on occasion makes me angry, but I know this.
I can’t stay silent in order to be more palatable to friends, or anybody really. Silence is violence and in the wake of so much horrible discourse I feel a moral responsibility to speak out against it. Donald Trump is a bigot. Nobody can tell me otherwise. His vitriol makes him ineligible for the highest office in our country and I am of the opinion that if you somehow still think he would make a good president despite all of the racist and sexist things he has consistently said then you’re a bigot, too. I don’t understand why it is not okay to call a duck a duck. People need to own the fact that we have many problems within our country and a lot of them start off as problems within ourselves.
People, individuals, make up our demography. Once upon a time I used to believe a lot of things. Things I was brought up with, things I had never questioned. Things that would probably have me acting like the Orlando shooting is a Kumbaya moment instead of a moment to reflect on our gun legislation (relevant) and the anti-lgbt rhetoric and legislation. We cultivate hate, we other people, and then we arm them.
I will not stand by in silence as the GOP candidate congratulates himself on “being right” and uses this tragedy to spread Islamophobia. I will not stay quiet when I see people spread misinformation simply because it fits in with their agenda. I take issue with the simplifying of issues, I take issue with the lack of research that people seem to accept as the new normal. Before saying anything on an issue can we please do our due diligence and make sure we actually know what we are talking about? It is so harmful to spout off at the mouth, as I’ve seen people do about the shooter in Orlando, rather than look at the actual facts: US citizen, born here, non-practicing Muslim.
I have seen people call for Muslims to apologize and do something about the “radicals” among them. I don’t see these same people say anything about the KKK or about the pastor who celebrated the Orlando shooting by saying they deserved it. Why do we hold all Muslims accountable for the actions of a few but we don’t demand the same of our Christian counterparts? I for one do not expect or believe it is the responsibility of my Muslims friends to respond to this tragedy (unless they want to and feel safe in doing so) firstly because they’re not responsible but also because I understand the fear that they must feel every time something like this happens. The hate that gets dispersed like dust particles when you slap a dusty cushion infects the air. It is dangerous for Muslims now.
I wish that being kind solved problems. I try to approach everyone with kindness, even when I disagree. I love people, I love my friends. I accept people as they are and for who they are. No strings attached. Love shouldn’t preclude us from calling out problems. I believe we can do better, collectively. I believe that I shouldn’t have to listen to racist remarks at work because people assume I will cosign their garbage, or because they mean to cause me discomfort. I don’t know which. If people knew about my black heritage (my grandfather was black) would they still tell me that “black people take all the welfare” or that the school they’re zoned into is 70% black and they don’t want their kids around black people? These are things said to me in the past few months. In 2016. We have work to do. I intend to be part of the solution and for me that solution does not involve pretending racism doesn’t exist or that calling it out is rude/inappropriate.
To my LGBT and Muslim friends, I hold you in my heart. You are loved. You are seen.