Kate, you are in my eyes, such a good person. And it’s not so much in what you say, it’s what you do.
I have always known you to treat people decently, even though we have 1001 rules in our society around putting this on a pedestal, treating this one like crap. It’s like you ignore all of that, and you do your own thing. I would think it would be a very hard thing to do. You make it look easy. You and Rene.
I wouldn’t get caught up in that game of “what is enough?” It’s a ridiculous question, cause on so many issues, racism, sexism, fear of all sorts of differences the need is infinite, there is never enough. You can only be you; and if you’re a good person, that’s enough.
Racism though is a cancer, sexism can be even more insidious. All of the isms are amping up — and to that end, the best thing that good people can do is entertain thoughts and conversations, that steer people away from raw, blind hate. It is making the rounds, it is recruiting people, and people are being forced to choose. I am hoping that together we can all create the types of dialogue that walk people back from taking horrorific and extreme positions.
I think that is a lot. I love Sherry Kappel ‘s suggestions for engaging entrenched positions! She’s good!
There are a lot of strong feelings around race and racism (sexism even worse, I mean just look at the first three letters of that word -sex-people have such powerful and primitive emotions around sex that they just don’t understand.)
The way to deal with those very powerful emotions, is to validate them, which sort of neutralizes them, but also to stay strong at the center of your core self, and maintain, but that’s not me. I’m not a Nazi, or a Klansman or a rape apologist…and, I’m going to stand my ground on that.
These days, most people are easily influenced to go one way or the other; and so those with a strong moral center are important. It is important for us to take a stand, and for our voices to be heard, because people need to understand that there are other choices besides, fear, violence and hate. The more people who feel empowered to take that stand, the more people will, and people are doing it. I’m encouraged, by what I have seen in response to Charlottesville. And although the South has miles to go, attempting to deal with these flags and monuments is a start. At least they are trying.
When I think of the horrors that have been visited upon by Latino neighbors, I often feel guilty for not going out of my way to be more helpful. I’ve done what I can. It hasn’t been a whole hell of a lot, but like you, because I know what it feels like to be treated less than, because of race and because of gender, I have always tried to respond with compassion.
I would say to my students, “I believe you.” When they would tell me horror stories of what the police had done to their sister, brother or cousin. Even though I have never once had an issue with any police in my life in Virginia. I know our situations are different. I know I am not being targeted, (not yet anyway) and yet I know that my sons are.
Now more than ever, I think it’s important to listen more, show empathy and have compassion, and just be a good person. You’ve always been pretty good at that.