Dear Critic

Uncategorized Jan 17, 2021

My empathy is frustrated with your lack of empathy. I am no hero, savior or guru...I am simply a person who wants things to be better for everyone.  I do too little, I make mistakes and although I dedicate a lot of time to learning about the important issues...I fall short every day.  I’m tired for so many reasons and I have little patience left for the lack of empathy that hits my comments, inbox and DMs. I have written the following to address your criticism. I am happy to share it with those who feel my same exhausted frustration.  Feel free to use it or create your own based on it. 

 

Dear Critic,

My truth is as follows.

I am for racial equality.  Whether you’d like to acknowledge it or not, our country was built on inequality.  Systemic racism is a problem in almost every patriarchal system we have.  White supremacy is now proudly showing itself in our culture instead of lurking in the shadows.  I am for equality. I am for fixing the systems that are rigged against those who are not considered white.  I am for punishing racism.  I believe these actions should have major consequences.

This does not make me against police officers.  This assumption frustrates me so much.  I am against racist police officers. I am against the systemic racism in the structure of the police.  The attack on the capital is a perfect example of how these racist police officer’s action are hurting other police officers.  I appreciate and respect police and all first responders. In any field, I am against people who bring racism to their jobs.  People who dedicate their life to helping other people.......those are my people! Mr. or Ms. First Responder, you need me to show up for you? I’m there.

I am not apologizing for my “whiteness” by acknowledging my white privilege. If I am addressing a topic that has to do with racism, I often start a video or post by acknowledging my white privilege. This seems to really get people (other white people) all worked up. I get many messages saying I shouldn’t have to apologize for my skin color or that I have just as much right to talk about these subjects as any one else.  No, just no.

First, I am not apologizing for my skin color.  I am acknowledging that I am speaking on a topic that I have not directly experienced.  I have not ever experienced racism for the color of my skin.  Acknowledging white privilege is not saying that I have never struggled or been oppressed.  It just means that I have not struggled or been oppressed because of the color of my skin.  I acknowledge this for two reasons.

  • Reason 1: To identify myself as someone trying to be an ally to BIPOC (black, indigenous, people of color). 
  • Reason 2: To make it known that my point of view is that of someone watching and wanting to help, not someone who knows exactly what it’s like.

I also acknowledge my cisgender identity and my middle class upbringing when speaking on topics that are outside of that experience.  It’s not an apology for those things. No one is asking me to apologize for them.  There are so many people who look like me who preach hate, intolerance and ignorance.  By acknowledging that I understand that I don't understand.....I am letting people know that my intention is to listen, help and lift up voices of those who do understand.  It’s a small thing to do that goes a long way.   I will not stop doing it. I do not feel victimized by it.  Why do you?

I am for people living by whatever gender identity and sexual preference they want to. Gender rules are a strange cultural construct.  Everyone should feel, be and act a certain way......why? I’m tired of people weaponizing religious beliefs to make people be anything but themselves.  Your beliefs are just that....your beliefs.  If you like them then you abide by them.  Don’t bring them to me. I’ve heard it all before, it’s often directed at me.  Enough.

I am not a member of your religion.  I am not a member of any religion.  This does not mean I do not believe in God or the Universe or the Divine or whatever name you use.  It means I do not believe in the same rules and ways of living or worshipping that you do.  God is not exclusive to religion.  Faith is not exclusive to religion. You are a part of a club that I am not part of. I was part of it and I chose to leave. Not because I don’t believe in a higher power, but because I don’t believe in the man made rules religion preaches.   

Coming at me with your beliefs does not make sense to me as an argument and I will just come back at you with my own beliefs.  I believe in kindness, tolerance and acceptance.  Saying that someone can not be who they are or love who they want to is the opposite of those things.

I am not saying that you can’t believe in oppression, intolerance and preaching that everyone should be the same.  I’m saying that your belief system should not be the reason someone is not treated kindly and fairly.  Your judgement system is not everyone’s. Live by what you believe in and stop pushing it on everyone else. I am not against religion. I am against people using their religious beliefs as a weapon against other people.

I am a hippie, organic, rebellious wildflower but I am happy to wear a mask.  You can call me a sheep all you want but I will never understand that insult.  There are people who work in health care that risk their lives every day to help people, hospitals bursting at the seams, exhausted nurses, doctors, etc.  I can put a mask on my face.  I can stay home. I can not gather in crowds.  If you believe this virus isn’t real it just means you haven’t directly faced it. It just means you aren’t actively threatened by it.  That doesn’t make me a sheep, it makes you an ostrich with its head buried in the sand. 

I am not an anti-vaxer but I do listen to what they have to say. I am for being vaccinated but I am also for making sure that the ingredients in these vaccines are safe.  Don’t pin me against either side please.  (See, I’m not a sheep, what animal listens to both sides of an argument and finds each helpful and then makes their own decisions? I’m that animal).

I am a feminist. That just means that I want equal rights for all genders and gender identifications.  It does not mean I hate men. I love men. I have a husband I love and I am raising two boys.  I am feminist for them too. It isn’t just women who suffer under misogyny and patriarchal society.   Please take your “man hater” label and put it in the trash. It makes no sense.

I don’t want to take anything away from you. I don’t want you to have less. In fact, there will come a day (if it hasn’t already) when you are being oppressed. Actually oppressed.  You’ll need someone to stand up for you.  I’ll come, even if I can’t directly relate to your struggle. I’ll come. I’ll stand up for you.

Nothing I want takes anything away from you.  I want to save the planet and address the climate emergency.  I want to work hard on equality for BIPOC, for the LGBTQ+ community (or the alphabet mafia! I’ve heard that term used and I love it!).  I want to stop the deadly disease sweeping through our country.  I want to address so many issues that have to do with so few having so much and the greed that keeps them in power and hurts the rest of us. 

I love my country, and working to improve the broken pieces and righting the wrongs is how I show my love to it. I want it to be a beautiful place for everyone, not just me and people who look like me.  Acknowledging it’s genocidal and racist roots does not make me less of an American than you.

If the idea that other people having the same “shot” as you makes you feel scared it is because you fear your own inadequacy.  It means that you think you can only succeed if other people are held back.  This is not true.  You are not inadequate. You do not need the other humans on the same journey as you to have a harder path.  You will struggle, we all will, but making other people struggle more does not help you. It does not ease your struggle.

Wishing you kindness, tolerance and acceptance,
Heather

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