We all have our reasons for not standing up to injustice.
Maybe we stay silent because politics just isn’t personal – because we’ve never belonged to a marginalized community. Because we’ve never truly loved someone who belonged to a marginalized community. Because our privilege has always protected us.
Maybe we stay silent because we used to speak up, and found that it hurt more than we knew how to handle.
Maybe we stay silent because we’re simply uninformed, too caught up in the hustle of our daily lives to take the time to learn about the world around us.
Maybe we stay silent because we’re afraid of conflict. Because we want to be comfortable. Because we want to be liked.
We all have our reasons.
And I’m not here to judge them.
But I wonder what kind of world we’d be living in if we were asking ourselves different questions.
If, instead of looking for reasons to bow out in times like these, we were looking for reasons to participate.
(And by “we,” I mean: those of us who have shied away from activism because of our privilege. Because of our fear of discomfort. Because politics just wasn’t personal enough for us.)
Instead of saying…
…I’m just too busy right now.
…Someone else will take care of it.
…I don’t want to offend anyone.
…I’m afraid I’ll do the wrong thing.
…It won’t make a difference anyway.
What if we were saying…
…I’ll make time to show up for this.
…Every single voice counts right now, and I’m going to add mine.
…I belong to a community, and I care about helping others feel that they belong, too.
…It’s ok to be uncomfortable when talking about important things. I can handle it if I ruffle some feathers.
…People I love are affected by this, and I love them enough to do something about it.
…Doing something is always better than nothing.
…I don’t have to do this perfectly.
…I know how to take care of myself now.
…It might make a difference, and it’s worth it to me to try.
Can you feel the difference between these two narratives?
Can you feel how one contracts, and the other expands?
We get to choose the reasons we look for. Now and always.
What are yours?
(Coming next: concrete things you can do to make a difference now. Stay tuned…)