Stuck Being White

I feel bombarded by news stories and current events where people are demanding many things.  And though I may agree with what they want I don’t agree with their demands.  I don’t think you can demand equality for your self and not extend it to someone who disagrees with you.  And the on-going, seemingly never ending call to arms because we don’t agree, is unsettling to say the least.

Where is our humanity.

I am all for supporting and loving my fellow human counterparts.  I don’t care what ethnicity you are.  What shade of any color you are.  What gender you identify with.  What your sexuality is-which-by the way-isn’t really anything you need to feel obligated to share with me.  Some things should just be private.  Not because I would be bothered or offended by your sexuality.  But because I am a prude.  There are some things I do not need to know about anyone.

I support your expectation to be treated as anyone else in this world should be treated.

I don’t know that I support your reason.

I know my perception is very limited.  Very limited, to only my perception.  So my views may be considered narrow and ignorant.  No worries world.  I know that my views are narrow and ignorant.  I’m not capable of seeing your perception.  I will certainly listen to them and discuss them with you.   But I am not going to claim to be capable of seeing ‘the’ world from anyone’s vision other than mine.  I own my ignorance of your experience.

I’m stuck being white.  I can’t take pride in it.  It’s just what I am.  I didn’t do anything to be white.  I just am.  I’m also stuck being female, heterosexual (TMI-I just broke my own expectations there).   Again, these are things that I just am.  I don’t get to claim responsibility for these things.  I just am.

I just am.

I can say I am very proud of many things I’ve done in my life.  There are actions I’ve followed through on.  There are behaviors I am proud of displaying.  There are words I  have said in support, in friendship, out of concern or compassion or empathy.   Words I have spoken to be truthful or supportive.  Or truthful and difficult to say, but I felt a responsibility to say them.

These things I can be proud of and take responsibility for.

In writing that I feel I  must also take responsibility and carry the burden of shame for things I have done that I do not feel proud of.  I’ve done things I’m embarrassed for having done.  I’ve done things I wish I hadn’t done.  I’ve said things I regret and know caused pain.  For these things I should take onus.  And you, my human counter parts, do not ‘owe’ me respect for these behaviors.

We all demand to be treated well and respectfully.  I do believe that in making these demands we have a responsibility to be well behaved and to act respectfully as well.

But I don’t believe we should make these demands.

I believe we should live these demands.

Quite honestly I don’t think you should make demands for equality in life because of your skin tone, your religious beliefs or non beliefs, your sexual preference, etc.

You are born.

You exist as a human being.

That, and that alone, is your right to be treated as human.

You don’t need any other reason.

You don’t need to prove anything else to me.

You exist-your equality exists.

Now…how you choose to live, I do care about.  I do care if you act with hate or maliciousness.  I do care if your negative behaviors impact me or the ones I love.  Or the ones I like a little bit.   As a matter of fact I mind if your behaviors of hate or maliciousness impact negatively any of our human counter parts.  Whether I know those impacted by your actions or not.  Regardless of your skin color, religious beliefs, gender, ethnicity, etc these things are no excuse for bad behavior either.   Just as they are no reason to be excluded from human decency and acceptance.  If you act wrongfully, hatefully, with intent to harm others-I don’t blame any of these things for that behavior.  I blame you.  I hold you accountable .  Not your sex, or color, or religion, etc.    Raising your fist (literally or metaphorically) to me does not make your demand any more powerful or valid.  It makes it a threat.  Which then takes what you are demanding and makes it null and void in my humble book.  Once you become the bully or the oppressor (threat) you are part of the problem.

 I can’t take responsibility for what humanity did before my existence.  I cannot. It’s not possible.  Despite some opinions that “now” can apologize for “then”, we cannot.  I can only take responsibility for my actions, my thoughts and behaviors, and my words.

 I can’t wave a flag proclaiming my whiteness.  Or my heterosexuality.  Or my other things I am stuck being.  And I don’t feel a need to raise one or wave it.  But if I did  I would quickly be criticized for raising it and waving it.  Because my white, female and heterosexual existence is nothing to be proud of.    And full honest disclosure here, my oppositional defiant self thinks if ‘everyone’ else can claim pride in being born to what they are, why can’t I?

My point here, long winded as it is.  Is that I exist.

And that alone automatically qualifies  me to my humanity and equality within all of  humanity.

Just as your existence automatically qualifies you.

Peace, my fellow human counterparts.   We are in this together.

40 thoughts on “Stuck Being White

  1. I do agree to an extent on the meaning of what you are saying. I think for the same reason I try very hard not to beat anyone over the head with what I am as far as beliefs, but since there is only one name I can recognize with (Asshole, Equalist Asshole, and some others aren’t acceptable around children) which the only part of it that I do not like is the arrogance and pretentiousness that others exhibit.

    What you have stated too is also why it takes me forever to choose a topic for the podcast that I do, because I don’t want people to think that I subscribe to the same things as someone else (usually the not-so-nice extreme things) or make them feel that they have to completely agree with me, which is why I avoid a good portion of politics. I try to focus on the things that should make us angry as humans and how we treat one another. That and I struggle with wording everything.

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    • There is a comment or two in here Heretic, that I made tongue in cheek. I’ll be curious to see if they are pointed out. I do have much to say and often don’t say it right when I’m feeling it because I want to say it to promote discussion or prompt thoughts. Not because I want to spout off angrily. Most of my frustrations are at the way (this is a huge over simplification) people treat one another. And at it’s very base, today, I mean to say that you (collective ‘you and I’) cannot “demand” respect when you are not showing respect to others. And you are not living a respectful life.

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      • Don’t feel too bad on the not saying it right. I go through that all of the time to the point of having to over-think a lot of things.

        I think humanity as a whole has a long way to go before we (myself throw in with the crowd and under the collective bus because I am human) can begin to treat each other with the respect, dignity, and human right. Certain things need to fade away (because outright banning and discouraging doesn’t work) before we can conquer our collective fear, hatred, cruelty, and arrogance towards one another. It always sounds like some easy solution, but it is always the opposite that is the easiest. (If I am anywhere near the point.)

        Although I think my chocolate bar of peace could work unless the person in question doesn’t like chocolate or is allergic, then in that case we just offer the assortment of sweets and goodies of peace.

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        • Michael, I think you are right. A very long way to go. Though that speaks to us as a whole. I know the world is also full of very good, accepting, loving people. They are living the life of acceptance, kindness, they live respectfully and don’t demand anything…they live it.

          Well, lets go for the assortment. Because, after all, we are not all the same. 🙂

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  2. We all just need to claim and be comfortable with who we are no matter how others might perceive us. I can’t demand anything from anyone, but I can earn respect and admiration…….right BADASS???

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  3. I think a great point you make, Colleen, it that some folks seem to demand respect FROM the rest of the world without giving respect TO the rest of the world. No dice, people. Good piece, friend.

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  4. Boy, oh, boy.. if I only knew what precipitated this post for today! It must have been something that really got your goat. It would be wonderful if more people could blurr the lines of colour, race, and sexuality more to see the humanity that unites us all. While you were ranting – I couldn’t help but think of the ISIS threat and how your philosophy would totally flatten this movement.

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    • I wish, if I could give power to wishes, that would be all it would take to flatten that movement and all hate fueled movements…..that our humanity would indeed unite us.

      Maybe I’ll write, some day, about what ‘fueled’ this. Honestly, I’m not edgy enough as a writer to do so. Yet.

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        • Ha! Well thank you! But truth be told….I didn’t have the courage on this one to say what I wanted. I struggle with redoing it. Or coming back to it later. I do cut myself a little break because I’m not sure how I want to say what I want to say. This sounded ‘edgier’ in my head when it was formulating…..

          Thanks for thinking me a warrior type…. that means a lot. 😉

          Liked by 1 person

  5. It is so hard to be anyone in this world, it always seems to be something, doesn’t it. You and I continue to be givers, sometimes out of guilt of our ‘whiteness’ (that’s me at times…) and other times because I am appalled and ashamed of what comes out of my counterparts, at my work. There are about 200-300 people there and about 20-30 who would never say the things the majority of them say on a daily basis. I wish it were easy, but it is not going to, it is the way it goes. We just try to make a ‘dent’ and then hope we did something, enough to help instead of hurt others. Hate pours out of some people, some of it stops me in my tracks.

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    • Actually, I’m trying to stop feeling guilty for being ‘white’. I can’t help being born what I look like or where I was born to any more than anyone can. I don’t want to apologize for what I was born in to. I had no say in that. The only thing I can do is be the kind of person I think is the best kind of person to be. If the kind of person I am is nasty and disrespectful than by all means I am to be held accountable for that. But I can’t apologize for things that happen(ed) that are not within my control.

      Hate often stops me in my tracks as well. And I don’t want to be the kind of person that stops others in their tracks with my negative behaviors.

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  6. Well said, amd I wonder who would evwr raise a fist to you? Seems unreal, but possible as most things. I like that you targeted issue with behavior and not the person, well said 🙂

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    • Thank you Niaaeryn. The fist raising was not just meant specifically to me. Every day I see the news full of people making demands and “raising fists” because they believe they should bully someone in to thinking their way or that this is the best way to ‘get’ what they want. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

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