I’ve Been Complacent
I’ve been complacent over the past 8 years. I forgot the years of Bush, and while I didn’t forget the misogyny, racism, and xenophobia this country is capable of, because of my privilege, I didn’t have to engage with it in meaningful ways very often. I live in a liberal bubble and because I am white, I only have to step out of the bubble when I choose.
The Bush years felt awful. When he was re-elected, I was devastated, but I lived deep in a red state at the time, so I also wasn’t surprised. I channeled that feeling into action and volunteered with Planned Parenthood as a clinic escort. I was in DC at this time, where the proximity to all that power made everything more intense. I once escorted at a memorial for Dr. Tiller, and all the bomb-sniffing dogs and FBI agents had to be pointed out to our group.
When I moved to NYC, I found out that more escorts weren’t needed here. This was both because they already had enough volunteers, but it was also because there wasn’t as much need. The protesters mostly handed out fliers, unlike their friends in DC, who would physically block a woman’s access to the clinic. That is great for the women of NYC who rely on Planned Parenthood, and I didn’t become a NYC escort. But I also didn’t then channel that energy elsewhere. I let it sit and stagnate. And because I’m white, I can choose when to engage with injustice in our racist country, so I just did nothing.
Living among like-minded individuals can feel great, but it doesn’t make you a good citizen if it allows you to forget that your way of life is unique. I’m not going to be complacent any more.
I just donated to the ACLU and the SPLC, two organizations that are going to be essential in the coming 4 years. My sister donated to Planned Parenthood. There are many more good options, like the Ali Forney Center, RAINN, NARAL, NILC, and local women’s shelters in your area. I’m also doing direct action once more and volunteering with women’s health clinics.
I am challenging every white person I know to go to their white people and challenge them. If you are lucky enough (as I am) to have a family that wouldn’t dream of voting for Trump, in-laws that celebrate diversity and kindness, and friends that challenge YOU to be a better citizen, then go out to the rest of the white people in the world. When white people try to do the *wink wink it’s just us* move, shut them down. If you are a white man, you get double the opportunities to do this. They are wrong, and their way of life is dying.
After 8 years of Bush, we got Obama. After 4 years of Trump, let’s work to get something even better.