Let's Connect!


Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Standing Up For Justice

Today I was going to give you my 2020 Dad & Grad Wish List, because I don't want them to get lost in the shuffle of these crazy times, but then crazier times came and I decided instead you will get that post on Saturday, because today I need to talk to you about the most important things in life: human equality. 

I travel to get a better understanding of the world, to meet new people, to experience new cultures, to try new food. I love learning new things and seeing people different from me. I grew up in Tucson, Arizona, with a wide range of friends from all backgrounds, and parents who were accepting of everyone, even though (or perhaps because) they had both been discriminated against themselves. My mother moved from Germany when she was 5 and didn't know any English. She had to learn at home and at school, with her mother who also didn't know any English. The teachers discriminated against her, because though she was white, she was not American.
My father was half Japanese and could pass for anything but white or black. He was in the Air Force and we moved around quite a bit when I was small. We lived in places like Virginia and Mississippi, where people wouldn't serve him, because he was not white. 

I know what racism looks like. I've seen it and I've felt it. I've even fought it within my own family. That said, in all the ways that people see me, I'm a white woman. I have privilege. I never really understood that until I graduated from school and moved somewhere less diverse. I've seen white women use their privilege to put others down, have them arrested, have them beaten, have them murdered. I know what it's like to be a white woman, and though I've never used my color to do this, I know I have this ability. 

I will never know what it's like to be a Black American. I'm not even treated as an Asian American, but that doesn't mean I can't try to understand and learn and be an ally. I've learned this week how to be a better advocate for someone being harassed, unfairly, by the police or just another entitled citizen. I've learned how I need to think before I call the police if my situation is ever with a POC, especially a BIPOC. We shouldn't have to police the police, but apparently, this is what the world has come to, and it's either that or we let racism win. 

I'm tired of trying to explain to privileged white people why them saying All Lives Matter is derogatory, especially at a time like this. They want to think that everyone is equal, but the fact is, they aren't, and they have never been. It's hard to see that when racism doesn't affect you, which is another privilege in itself. I posted on my Facebook page saying I would stick up for Black Americans, and fight for their rights with my voice on every platform I have. You know what happened? A white person called me a racist, saying that white privilege was a fantasy that only morons believed. This is how a whole group of privileged white people think. They think that the Black Lives Matter movement is a way to shame all white people.

I also came across a white man who said "Black Lives Matter is exclusive. It means MY life doesn't matter." Um, does it? This man has never been oppressed and thinks everything should be about him. He can't conceive of the fact that not everyone has the same opportunities or good fortune or carefree life he's had. He doesn't have to fear everyday because of the color of his skin.

Before I go on, yes, there are good people of all races and bad people of all races, but until we stop defining any of that by the color of our skin, we fight for justice and equality. Yes, there are good cops, but there are also very bad cops, and as someone pointed out there are three different kids of cops: those who are bad, those who are good, but don't speak up when their own have done wrong, which also makes them bad, or those that have spoken up and fought for what's right and are no longer cops. I don't know if I believe that, but watching so many police forces across this nation roll into cities filled with peaceful protesters and start macing them, releasing tear gas, hitting people in the face with rubber bullets, running them down with patrol cars, and other atrocities, it's hard to really deny they have a point. 

I'm sorry if you then are focused on the rioting and the looting, but rioting occurs after people are denied a place to voice their opinion, and looting is something else altogether that has nothing to do with the protesting, but that's what the government wants you to see. They run the media out before they can see them abusing peaceful protesters with no provocation. They are trying to keep helpers from helping and showing others what's really happening. Our own president said he was against using force on people, then threatened to send in the National Guard to shoot protesters who are just trying to be heard, and then told officers to pepper spray those same protesters (and people of the church) so he could go stand in front of said church for a photo op with a bible. This is not how a president should behave, especially in the time of crisis.

I've included several of my favorite ways to respond to people who need guidance right now. Feel free to copy and paste them for your social media posts/comments. If you don't agree with this post, that's fine. I'm clearly not going to say anything you haven't already been told and still disagree with, but I won't let you use my platforms to say hateful, racist things either. I believe Black lives matter. I believe in equality for all. I will fight for justice. I will say their names. I will be an ally. I will listen. I will share. I will not be silent. 

If you would like some resources for books to read, here is a great list. I also just ordered The Assassination of Fred Hampton: How the FBI and the Chicago Police Murdered a Black Panther by Jeffery Haas
If you would like a list of places you can donate to, here is a long list to choose from.
If you are overwhelmed, but still want to help, you can work on self-care and also support these Black businesses.
If you want to know the truth about rioting and how the small businesses feel, please read this article.
If you want to know how the police and National Guard are treating medical workers in Minneapolis (and I'm sure elsewhere), please read this and also this. These are not isolated incidents.
If you need a place to understand what's happening, So Let's Talk About ___. is a great place to start.

If you want to follow and support Black travel bloggers, here are a few of my favorites on Instagram:
Pride Month has started, so as a quick note, if you want to follow awesome LGBT+ travel accounts, here are some of those, too:
If you made it this far, thanks for reading. Please take care of yourselves and one another. Please fight for what is right. Please have an open mind when people tell you to listen. Travel is for everyone. This blog is for everyone. I believe in inclusivity, equality, and justice. Be good to each other and stay safe. Do not be silent. 

Also, don't forget to vote. Because we need protests, loud voices, and new government officials that listen to change things. Change doesn't come from just complaining to others about it. If you aren't lucky enough to live in a vote by mail state like Oregon, think about those that have less access to polling stations and are also being robbed of their chance to vote, because voter suppression is real, especially in poor, black communities. If you know anyone who you can help getting to the polls, please do, in any way, whether that means you volunteer to drive them, spring for an Uber, or coordinate a group to go together. We need to work together to change this broken country/system.

If you have feelings you want to talk about, stories you'd like to share, words of encouragement, or resources you think others can benefit from, I would love to see them in the comments. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Pin It button on image hover