Finding My Voice in We the People

In the weeks following the presidential election, I felt unhinged. I tried to find my words in posts about being an ally and being told I wasn’t doing enough. My daily stress levels, partially self-inflicted, were unsustainable. I walked away from social media because I couldn’t see straight through the fear that saturated my feeds.

I needed some quiet.

I needed to be quiet.

I needed to let the silence answer a question for me. Where do I go from here? How do I find my voice in our national discourse? Continue reading

Advertisements

I’ve retired my safety pin

Wearing a safety pin is just a way for white people to feel good about themselves.

I read those words a couple of weeks after the election, while a silver safety pin graced the collar of my jacket. I’d been wearing the safety pin given to me by a friend as a symbol of love for and solidarity with family, friends, and strangers who felt betrayed and frightened by the rhetoric of the victor. So many people who looked like me — white men — had voted decisively against them. I was angry, embarrassed and honestly crushed that so many people who looked like me voted for the candidate who publicly disparaged women and minorities. I wore the safety pin not to feel better, but to somehow say to others, “I’m not one of them.” Continue reading

A letter to my son on being an ally

Hey, bud. It’s been a week, hasn’t it? My head and heart are still in shambles. I feel broken. The world feels broken. The country I thought I knew feels foreign, like we’ve sacrificed our moral authority.

First, I want to say how proud I am of you. You’re 14. You got interested in this election without my prompting. I didn’t know you were becoming active until I saw a few of your tweets a while back. Yes, your views aligned strongly with mine, but that wasn’t the point. You were becoming active, vocal in your own way. You were becoming a citizen. Continue reading

This is exactly it

For us whites to really wake up to the reality of the thick, oppressive, demonic, but (to most of us white people) invisible walls that pervade our culture, we must develop peer relationship with non-whites who will call into question some of our most basic assumptions about American culture and perhaps about ourselves.

This is exactly it. The more real relationships I cultivate with others who don’t share my cultural background (not just race), the more I understand. Empathy and love cannot breathe without understanding.

via Racism: Why Whites Have Trouble “Getting It” – Evangelicals for Social Action.

My presidential litmus test

Do you inspire me to be a better citizen? Would I want you as a boss? Would I trust you to lead my most important initiative? Do you seem to truly care about anyone outside your inner circle? Are you willing to have real conversation and compromise? Do you care about a future you won’t be living in? Is your popularity based on fear? What have you actually accomplished?

These are some of the questions I’m asking before I vote.

My friend, my brother, my equal

I sat at my desk on Friday morning, tears welling in my eyes. My news feed lit up in a celebration of rainbows at the same time the skies outside my office window let loose the joyous deluge that I fought to keep inside.

The Supreme Court of the United States had just made marriage equality the law of the land. My girlfriend texted me with her own excited tears, “Did you read the decision?” Continue reading