Good morning/afternoon! Today I will be writing what I realise will be a controversial post. I would like to apologise if this post is in any way shape or form offensive. I would also like to issue a disclaimer: this is my own personal opinion, all opinions in this post are my own. I am by no stretch of the imagination a qualified scholar on any of the issues in this post nor do I know what it feels like to be personally persecuted or to watch my own be persecuted for any of them and I am aware of this fact. These opinions have been formed by conversations, essays, articles, speeches and personal experiences. Please respect my opinion as I respect yours.
Now moving on to the post!
I for a while now have understood that I am lucky. I am lucky because I have a house to live in. I can walk down the street without feeling afraid. I can wear what I please. Have the opinions I have. Love who I want. Achieve what I set my mind to. And ultimately, be who I please.
It is not like that for everyone.
In this post I am once again voicing an opinion.
Most of the time you will find me agreeing with the activists, scholars, lawyers etc but I do have one thing where I will beg to differ, and I have been seeing it for years, in speeches, books, conferences, rallies even TV shows…..
In order to be an ally of the LGBTQ+ community, the indigenous people, disabled people etc you have to believe that we are all the same. That you have to be comfortable talking about these issues. That you have to be willing to forget the past for a better future.
I don’t believe any of these statements to be true. I believe in order to be an ally of the ostracised groups you must accept that we ARE different. That we aren’t the same, we come from different places, we do things differently, we believe different things and our appearances will differ but that’s ok.
I also believe that it is 100% normal to be uncomfortable talking about these issues. For example I used to be extremely uncomfortable talking about racism, do I still experience mild discomfort talking about it? Yes. Does it mean I’m racist? No. Well, I don’t think so anyways. Being uncomfortable is normal, and it is ok. If someone is discussing something with you and you feel uncomfortable. Good. Be uncomfortable. Because in my understanding it means you care. Think about this. If I went to a racist and began discussing racism and they were not at all uncomfortable the chances are they do not care. But if I went to a “racist” and began talking about racism and they were uncomfortable they probably do deep down feel some form of empathy.
You may then ask if they do care why do they continue to be that way? And may I add that, that is a very good question. It probably means that there is some deeper issue. That they think being that way will be of profit to them. If you were poor and could barely afford food for you, your husband and your children, and the only source of income was your job you would be feeling pretty keen to keep that job. So what happens if discrimination stops and Eddie the transgender aboriginal woman who is 10x more qualified than you are, can now take you’re job because she’s know longer being discriminated against? What happens to you and your family?
From what I understand there is a population of people under this banner. That are afraid of what change means for them. Some of them have very good reason to be afraid. What is needed is a safety net. A way to look after those people, but that’s another days discussion. My point is that they probably do care, they are just afraid.
Lastly I want to mention the belief of “forget the past for a better future” or some variation of that phrase. Our history is what makes us. I will agree that it is ugly and wrong and filled to the brim with injustice, lies and violence, but it is still there. It will always be there. There is no hiding that white man invaded most of the nations on the planet, that they killed and tortured. I’m sorry but there isn’t any hiding that there were slaves. And for my country, Australia, there is no hiding that for many years the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were regarded as plants, not only that but in their own nation where they had been living peacefully for 40 000 years.
I know it is horrible, I too was ashamed to think that I am white. That my ancestors committed all these horrible crimes. But you know what? I shouldn’t. I am a firm believer that we should not feel guilty about the crimes committed in the past, but feel responsible for the reconciliation of all the different people.
I think that forgetting our past is going to solve as much as removing Hatshepsut from the Egyptian line of pharaohs did (For those of you who don’t know that story Hatshepsut was the first woman pharoah. Her and evidence of her reign was found and she was put back in the history books). We need to remember what happened and learn from it. To use it as motivation to heal the wound. We were never perfect, and never will be. But rather than burying our failures as the human race we need to understand what went wrong and learn.
Thank you for reading this post! I know it’s kind of long. Sorry. But this is just an opinion of mine I wished to share. I would like to close this post by saying I fully respect the opinions of people with those beliefs. I would also like to say to any of the indigenous, black, disabled, LGBTQ+, female, lower socioeconomic, (etc) people who may be reading this post, that I respect you as I would any other human being. I hope that reading this post and all the others on this site adds another name to the list of people who are your allies.
And to everyone have an amazing day!
I agree with you- I think we are all different in many ways and part of being an ally is accepting that we are all different and that’s okay. You don’t have to be a part of the group you are supporting and to be honest you may not even agree with them fully but in my opinion you have to accept the fact that everyone has the right to live their life the way they choose to and that’s okay. The fact that it makes you uncomfortable is just your brain reprogramming itself because for years we are bombarded with norms and told that anything that strays from those norms is wrong. However, this is obviously not true but your brain needs a while to fully understand that. As a historian I think we definitely need to remember the past- not to shame anyone but rather to learn from it and try to do better in the future. Really interesting post!
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Thanks Pooja! I always love hearing different people opinions about my posts (I don’t get that many comments) and you’re 100% right. For so long we have been taught that discrimination and violence is normal and okay that its sort of embedded into our thought systems. We need to keep challenging these norms. I feel like at the moment there’s so much momentum building towards peace, climate action and unity. Particularly in young people and it’s going to be really interesting got watch this activism space in the next few decades. Thank you for reading this post! It means so much! Have a wonderful day! xx
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My pleasure- I truly enjoyed the post. I agree there is a lot going on with the younger generation and I would love to see where it goes.
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