Being A Good Guy Isn’t Enough
You can’t just keep telling people — that isn’t me; I don’t act like that. Why? It isn’t cutting it — it isn’t bringing about the change we need in society, and the thing is, though you may not engage in some of this behaviour yourself, you know people who do.
Confront that racist friend, or that sexist friend. Identifying as a feminist or saying Black Lives Matters is great, but we really need to engage in some demonstrative action.
It can be hard to get over the speed-bump of your own incredulity at being even loosely associated with a group whose politics and philosophies you abhor, but it really is going to take you down a dead end to get overly defensive about your own goodness.
Proof is in the pudding. I am looking to do more; I am engaging in conversations. I want to help shut down racism, increase education, and move forward. Aretha Franklin just popped into my head singing R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me, and that really is the thing, isn’t it? Find out what it means to people.
Communicating to find out what the hatred has done to the people on the end of it. Communicating to find out why people are clinging to these outmoded ideas. There are reasons behind these things, problems people are trying to solve by being this way.
We have to believe there is a possibility of change, otherwise why even protest? There has to be a chance of changing the people who are considered to be the problem, or otherwise what is the solution suggested for them? The solution needs to handle them or the rest of us won’t win.
We can’t wish violence on the violent and expect to live peaceful lives. Things can’t be magicked right. The whole thing is a process. I’ve seen articles complaining about white people telling black people how to feel, or what something means (whitesplaining things), but I’ve seen very few articles from white people that were constructive on how white people should behave and move forward. Acknowledging white privilege is hardly wising up to anything revelatory, and white guilt doesn’t help anyone except a masochist.
America is an odd experience, racially, for someone who doesn’t come from the place. Race is entrenched here is a problem. I’m not saying its absent elsewhere, but there is something unique about the way it manifests in this country, and the inability that people have to confront and talk about it. It needs to be confronted. It needs to be confronted in a real way by white people. It needs to be confronted by anyone that deals with America. There are things going on in this place that shouldn’t be happening in a country that posits itself as some kind of moral policeman for the world. Fix your own shit before you go tampering with other people’s.
Hollywood’s about happy endings. Hamburgers aren’t much different. Different iterations of comfort food. The current climate? Some of that cotton wool people have been wrapping themselves in is burning up in the heat of anger from all the people who have been ignored, who have gone unhandled. Being good is all well and good, but if you don’t do anything that takes that goodness out into the world and allows it to spread, then you aren’t doing anything. Being good is not the same as doing good.