That’s the best way I can describe myself today: reeling. I had a lot I wanted to share here today, but I don’t think it’s the right time. Instead, now is a time to grieve, and then to plan.
I should just give up and stop claiming that I will keep politics out of my blog topics. Sometimes the world is just so much bigger than my little knitting trials and joys, and there are times when I need to acknowledge that. During my early adulthood, I took a different approach to things. I had strong beliefs and wasn’t afraid to share that with virtually anyone. I was much more of a firebrand then. Like most young people, I was so sure that I was right that, even though I believed myself to be open minded, I was actually very resistant to considering other points of view. I had convictions, damnit!
If I’ve learned anything in the years since then, it’s that I know much less than I think I do. I’ve learned that sometimes the best way to change someone’s mind about something is to just listen to them. I’ve definitely learned that shouting one’s views from the rooftops, while noticeable, isn’t an effective way to find common ground and spur change. In short, I’ve learned to reserve judgment, listen, and wait for the right moment to share my point of view on something. Some of the most important lessons I’ve learned have been because of one, single well-timed comment that triggered me to reevaluate my assumptions.
Usually, I think that approach is the best for me–let people come to understanding on their own terms, on their own timeline. Nudge them along gently if the opportunity arises. Sometimes, though, staying quiet and waiting can be interpreted as tacit agreement. In times like that, I think it is important to speak up and do the right thing. So, I am speaking up. I am a white person, and I have enormous privilege because of that. Our culture–my culture–says that young Black men are threatening. Criminals. My culture says that their lives and the lives of other people of color are not as important as mine. My culture says that Black people are somehow responsible for being targeted and killed by authorities. My culture says that racism isn’t real, and that if it is, it’s justifiable. I am speaking up: I do not agree.
I am speaking up: I do not agree. I believe that Black lives matter. I am speaking up.