Do you identify as a heterosexual white male that was born male?
I implore you to stop telling women, people of color, LGBTQ or any other human being that isn’t you:
“It will be ok.”
“It’s time to move on.”
“Stop thinking about it so much.”
“You are just stressing yourself out.”
“These are problems for when he takes office.”
I have faith that you do not say things things out of malice. However, by saying these things, you are minimizing our very real fears and experiences. I define “we” as women, queer, non-white or anyone that visually sticks out.
I bet you walk home in the dark with headphones on because you feel safe. I would bet good money that no woman walks alone in the dark with headphones on, because it isn’t safe for us.
Let me give you a moment to process that… it is dangerous for me to walk home at night listening to music.
Your relationship with risk is in large events like car crashes and falling from standing too close to a unsound cliff edge. Things that can potentially happen but usually doesn’t happen. You are afraid of acts of God, unpredictable and faultless.
We are afraid of acts of man. Our relationship with risk is small, common, and sadly frequent events like getting harassed and attacked. We are taking a risk every time we walk somewhere alone, even in broad daylight. Danger is everywhere. We have to constantly evaluate our surroundings and decide how to minimize the risks in our environment… it’s exhausting.
I bet you’ve never been assaulted sexually or otherwise walking to your car after a night class or the gym. I bet you have never been followed for two city blocks by a group of six males yelling that they are going to rape and kill you because you refused to acknowledge their catcalls. These are not empty threats, especially to a rape survivor. These types of experiences don’t just happen once to us, they happen again and again.
I am fucking terrified. I am in progressive San Francisco, Democrat majority California, and I am still terrified. Just because we have communities and neighborhoods that celebrate diversity doesn’t mean we don’t face racism or that it isn’t real here. We have the oldest Chinatown in the country and I still get called “chink” and get told “Go back to your country.” This is my country! I was born here!
When Bush and Obama were in office, it still wasn’t 100 percent safe to walk home, and I was still called a “chink.” This will only be worse with Trump. It’s already starting.
We have elected an openly sexist, racist, bigot into the highest office in the land. By putting him in that that position, half of my country has declared that hateful action is acceptable and encouraged. That this is the new norm and could and perhaps should be the qualities of leaders.
It’s only been a few days and there’s already reports of hate crimes. These are people being attacked because of their race, religion, and/or sexual orientation. It’s only day two, and the KKK have taken to marching in the streets in North Carolina. Muslims have been attacked in California, and LGBTQ folks have been jumped and beaten.
I am in danger because I look different. I am not overreacting. This is not a “when he takes office” problem.
Our country has shown the world that even though you are an accused rapist with zero qualifications for the job, as long as you’re white and male, “It will be ok”. That is called privilege. I am not attacking your white privilege, but I need you to acknowledge that you have it. That is WHY you keep telling me things will be ok because once the dust settles things will probably be ok for you. You are the one in the position of power.
That being said, you can also be my biggest ally.
If you see someone being hurt or harassed help them. They are might be alone. Harassers are bullies and usually go after someone that is physically smaller or if they out number the victim.
If you hear friends, family, strangers making racist, sexist jokes, tell them it’s not funny. They might even try to get a chuckle from you by including you into the conversation because it’s just “locker room” banter. Please tell them words and jokes like that are not acceptable, not now not ever.
Join the protests. Do not just stand and do nothing. Just telling me that you are “sorry that I have to go through this” will not stop me, your friends and loved ones or others from being attacked.
If you can also donate money to these organizations if you have the means to.
Let’s fight together for love and not hate.