Just a reminder to those who might not know about it, for those who are in marginalized communities, our fight is not a sprint, where something positive happens and whoo we’re done yay we’ve reached the finish line confetti awards and yay what a great runtime! No, it’s every single day for most people. Just turning on the computer can be an exercise in awfulness. Or turning on the TV. People get exhausted having to deal with life as it is plus deal with people who don’t believe your lived experience plus deal with actual active hate plus be asked to educate others on how life whaps marginalized people upside the head. This is constant. There are no breaks. Because of this, we need to assess our abilities in context – both those of us affected and those of us who wish to be allies with others.
Some people do well on marathons and some do not. I am one of those who does not, so I look at the fight as a relay race, and when I can, I take the baton and I go with it, confident enough in my friends groups that someone else will take the baton for me when I flag or stumble. I try to do the same for my ally work, with an awareness that I might fuck up – and I remember when I get tired I get defensive, and try to account for that in any reactions.
But no matter what, I *have to take the baton sometimes.*
Allies, so do you.
Heart with Band-Aids
One of the more pernicious things I see in American – well, in Western culture is this idea that if a being loves you, any action they perform is immediately not abusive or not hurtful. Or is excused from any possible perception of harm.
Or even, if a being has no hate whatsoever in their heart for a group, their actions, whether inadvertent or deliberate, are acquitted from any possible wrongdoing or negative impact.
This is bullshit.
I’ll say it again – this is BULLSHIT.
Just because you love someone does not automatically mean you will never ever do anything shitty to them in your life. As a matter of fact, it might make you MORE likely to do something shitty to them because we humans have this instinct to protect the ones we love, and our current mechanisms of trying to protect each other are often REALLY crappy. (See: not letting kids have adventures because they might get hurt.)
And it goes from top to bottom – when I was really outspoken about my atheism I used to get a lot of “But God loves you” or “But Jesus loves you” pushed at me as a method of trying to get me to accept Christianity. I had a lot of angst about this one until I started responding with “well yeah, so does my father, but it doesn’t mean it’s healthy for me to interact with him.”
The lack of hate does not wipe out the fact that someone might be really hurt – even terribly endangered – by something you do. Even love does not wipe out the fact that someone might really be hurt or terribly endangered by something you do. And sometimes you have very good reasons for doing the thing and sometimes your reasons are… not so good. Or mistaken. Or based on data that is biased or invalid for this other person.
Don’t make the additional mistake of then telling that person that their pain is wrong, or that YOU are hurt by the fact that they are experiencing pain at all.
That is when the love starts going away. That’s when those who are hurt cannot believe in the love.