It’s not okay. It’ll never be okay. It has never been okay. The hate, the prejudice, the blatant disregard for human life, for morals, for virtues, for our humanity, will never be okay. It should never be accepted or defended. Evil exists in this world and sometimes it is so insidious it can manifest in people like you and me, people we love and care about, people we’ve been taught by and guided by our whole lives.
Evil is not faceless. It is not vague. The use of the word evil is not dramatic.
Beliefs are not harmless. Beliefs are what people kill for. Belief can also be what grounds people. All of this boils down to actions, not only physical actions but acts of writing, tweeting, or speaking. Do not say that words do not hurt. Words cut, oftentimes more deeply than a knife.
Words can harm. Words can wound.
Words can heal. Words can educate.
I am not out of words. This is my fight, but it is not up to me to explain experiences I have not lived. Instead, it is my job, and your job, to listen. Listen to your friends, your family members, your colleagues, and random people on the street. It is our job to call out injustice, to bring attention to how words are used, and who is defending what, as well as who is staying silent. Silence is not an option.
Silence equates to holding the bully’s coat and that is the wrong way to go about things – my dad taught me that when I was young.
I’m not penning a piece on Charlottesville. Well, at least it’s not just about Charlottesville. This is for the times I’ve stayed silent. The times I’ve become part of the problem and not the solution because I’m not sure what to say, what to write, or how to contribute while also acknowledging my privilege as a white woman from a middle-class family in Canada. I was afraid, I am still afraid at times, but my fear comes from a place of privilege too.
I pledge to listen more and to read more about our world and the people who occupy it alongside me. Only once that has been done will I speak and when I do speak I can only hope that my message will come across loud and clear.
I can no longer stay still and silent as people around me say that prejudice doesn’t affect them so why should they get involved.
Hate affects all of us. Hate is a disease. Hate sows chaos, sadness, and destruction. Hate steals hope, but we cannot let it rob us of our belief in something beyond ourselves, in something greater than ourselves.
We need to learn how to listen, how to take cues from those around us, and how to respond to conflicts and hate. I need to learn to listen better. I need to learn to keep quiet while my friends and colleagues with more relevant perspectives and experiences talk about how they feel. I’m tired of this hate, but my fatigue is nowhere close to that of those who living with these struggles every single day of their lives.
Don’t be shocked at these events – don’t dismiss them. Speak up and speak out, or you can go hold the bully’s coat. Eventually, you’ll find yourself dragged along in the mud as the bully charges forward.