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Fri Jan 13, 2017, 01:46 AM

The responsibility of being White, Male, Straight, and Liberal

Late on election night, as polls closed and the inevitable occurred, my wife and I sat on our couch, embraced in a sadness that I know many of you experienced as well. We sat there in silence, each of us overwhelmed by the reality that was transpiring in front of us. My immediate thought was "What do we tell our kids in the morning?" My daughter, 14 at the time, had been experiencing bullying at school because she was the "new girl" and had been taunted constantly for being herself. She was the new kid from RI, although she was born in LA because she came from RI she was stuck with that, and she was different. She was called a "lesbian" because she stood up for another girl who was being bullied. She was called unmentionable names because she sat at a lunch table with another freshman, a star basketball player who happens to be black but also happens to be just as much bullied as she is because they attend a predominantly white private school. I thought of my 7 year old son who had cheered when Hillary won the Nick Kids election, thinking that she had won the presidency.

As we sat there in stunned tears, I looked to my wife and said: "The sad thing is: we have nothing to worry about. We're white professionals and we will be safe from any on coming persecution." I said that, not with any sense of self importance, but, rather, a sense of overwhelming guilt over what I fear will come from a Trump presidency. After I had said that to my wife, I immediately said "What we have to worry about are those in our life that will be affected by this." I thought of our gay friends, friends who happen to be Muslim, and on and on. But I sat there shaken by the irony that I was fearing for everyone we knew who would be affected or potentially affected by a Trump presidency, all the while our own lives would likely go on untouched, at least in the present.

That moment made me think hard about who I am, what I believe and what I could do going forward to ensure that, at least in my own daily surroundings, I was being a representative for those I knew and loved who would certainly be attacked in the new administration. I looked back to my own personal history. My grandfather's grandfather had been a Methodist minister and abolitionist who helped ferry runaway slaves from TN to other ministers in KY on their way to freedom. My grandfather, a sharecropper as a young man, worked beside other workers who happened to be white and black and Hispanic and when the work was done they were all welcome at my grandmothers table, and anyone who questioned that met the wrath of my grandmother. I was told about how when my grandfather opened a country store in rural TN in the 1950's he got resistance from some people because he didn't segregate his store. My uncle told me about the night several of the local "hooded men" showed up to pressure my grandfather and he called them out by name while holding his loaded double barreled shotgun.

I could ramble on about my own history, but I'm sure that would be boring at best and pandering at worst.

My point, after all of the grief and angst over election night had passed, we woke up the next day, and we sat our kids down and told them what had transpired. We told them that no matter what, we had to fight for what was right and what was fair, even in the face of bullies. I don't know if that was the best way to answer their concerns but that was ours.

So, here we are facing an inauguration of a man that we despise, I think we can all agree on that. What now?

I think that my personal situation gives me a bit of power that I think needs to be used and must be used in the fight going forward. We white, straight, male liberals must speak out against the Trump minions every chance we get. We have to. The opposition will take notice when we fight for the voices of our friends in ways they otherwise would not. Now, they will bully us and they will threaten us but, at the end of the day, we must help provide a voice for our LGBT/POC/women/Immigrant/Muslim compatriots. Right or wrong our voices will have impact and we must provide support and help to shine a light on all resistance to the storm that is coming. In no way am I suggesting that my voice should carry more weight than someone who doesn't happen to fit into my particular ethnic/religious/sexual background, I'm merely saying that pasty boring straight white guy liberals like myself cannot be silent and we must stand arm in arm with all of our brothers and sisters on the left because dark days are upon us. Let us face this fight together.

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Arrow 13 replies Author Time Post
Reply The responsibility of being White, Male, Straight, and Liberal (Original post)
Docreed2003 Jan 2017 OP
brush Jan 2017 #1
Docreed2003 Jan 2017 #2
tandem5 Jan 2017 #3
bluecollar2 Jan 2017 #4
HassleCat Jan 2017 #5
Docreed2003 Jan 2017 #6
Buckeye_Democrat Jan 2017 #7
Docreed2003 Jan 2017 #8
TCJ70 Jan 2017 #9
tomfodw Jan 2017 #10
Docreed2003 Jan 2017 #12
Docreed2003 Jan 2017 #11
smirkymonkey Jan 2017 #13

Response to Docreed2003 (Original post)

Fri Jan 13, 2017, 01:54 AM

1. Yes! Preach, preach!

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Response to brush (Reply #1)

Fri Jan 13, 2017, 01:55 AM

2. Thank you!

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Response to Docreed2003 (Original post)

Fri Jan 13, 2017, 02:05 AM

3. Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I agree.

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Response to Docreed2003 (Original post)

Fri Jan 13, 2017, 02:06 AM

4. Count me in...n/t

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Response to Docreed2003 (Original post)

Fri Jan 13, 2017, 02:30 AM

5. I'm registering as a Muslim as soon as possible.

 

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Response to HassleCat (Reply #5)

Fri Jan 13, 2017, 04:13 AM

6. Right there with you!!

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Response to Docreed2003 (Original post)

Fri Jan 13, 2017, 05:03 AM

7. Be careful if it's essentially pointless.

It's better to take the fight to government representatives who have real power in such matters.

Stand up for vulnerable people facing harm in your sphere of influence too, of course, but there's some people who can't be reached and they might beat you nearly to death. It happened to me when I defended Obama and African Americans in a redneck/biker bar that I entered on a whim. What good did it do? Nothing except get me sent to an ER, as far as I can tell. It's not like there were any PoC in that place who needed my immediate assistance.

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Response to Buckeye_Democrat (Reply #7)

Fri Jan 13, 2017, 08:14 AM

8. True...choosing battles and situational awareness is key

The current Trumpers seem to have a proclivity for violence

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Response to Docreed2003 (Original post)

Fri Jan 13, 2017, 08:50 AM

9. No one should feel guilty for how they were born...

...even straight, white, males. It's good that you're getting involved and speaking out but don't feel bad about things out of your control.

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Response to TCJ70 (Reply #9)

Fri Jan 13, 2017, 08:56 AM

10. You can't control how you were born

But you can do something in retrospect to deserve unearned privileges. You can work in your own little way to try to extend those benefits to others. You can speak up for the truth. As this gentleman and his wife appear to be doing. Good advice for all of us!

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Response to tomfodw (Reply #10)

Fri Jan 13, 2017, 09:06 AM

12. And that's an excellent summation of my point, thank you!

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Response to TCJ70 (Reply #9)

Fri Jan 13, 2017, 09:05 AM

11. It's not guilt so much...

Perhaps I should have chosen my words more carefully. I am who I am, just like anyone else is by virtue of their birth. My feeling of "guilt", so to speak, lies in the fact that many white male liberals like myself, havent used our voice as effectively as we could to stand up for our brothers and sisters of minority or LGBT backgrounds. I would never suggest taking over their fight, but when they fight we must be willing to stand with them and provide a voice.

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Response to Docreed2003 (Original post)

Fri Jan 13, 2017, 11:45 AM

13. K&R

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