Civil Rights & Social Justice

Posted 2 years ago

Civil Rights & Social Justice

Almost every issue we face as a society is rooted in one word: race. Our complicated and tragic relationship to it infects everything from the criminal justice system to housing to employment, and all in between. We live in a hemisphere stolen from those originally here, including genocide along the way, while living in a state taken by force from our neighbor. Our nation is built upon the backs of slaves, immigrants, and other minorities, almost exclusively for the benefit of white Americans. The "isms" of racism and sexism permeate all facets of our society. Thus all raised in a culture of white and male supremacy, whether conscious of it, whether abhorring it, are manipulated by it. Simply put, all white Americans are racists — though it does not mean we are bad people. We just benefit every day by the societal and institutional marginalization and oppression of others. All men are sexists, for similar reasons, and again, regardless if conscious of it or abhorring it.

"I am a racist and a sexist — vote for me!" is not a winning campaign slogan. Yet the first step to addressing a problem, and all the problems sprouting from it, is admitting there is a problem, while also acknowledging our part in it and personal responsibility for it. I like to think I have tried to do this; though I am neither angel nor ally of those marginalized or oppressed. I am, at best, a conscious and ever-learning co-belligerent. I do not fear a just society nor confuse any loss of privilege as oppression — I seek it — with forlorn hope in my lifetime we may dispense with white myths like "reverse racism", cease institutionalizing prejudice, and inaugurate a new era of men who can hear and properly respond to the word "no". As your Supervisor, a priority of mine is remembering my privileges as a healthy, straight white male citizen of this country, and striving to do my part in breaking all barriers impeding others from justice & equity in all its forms.

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