Sorry, not sorry.
Today is the day I come out of the closet – I am a black millennial woman with a disability from Houston’s Third Ward who is a conservative and loves her some Jesus.
(Commence to boo and hiss.)
Now that I have alienated half of you, let me go ahead and make the rest of you hate me: I love me some gays, Muslims, and equal rights. I cannot stand y’all’s new President D***** T****. Black Lives abso-freakin-lutely MATTER. Mexicans are some of the hardest-working people I have ever met, and I get giddy over a good ol’ street-blockin’ protest.
Since I officially have no more friends, let me explain: I wanted to admit everything I just mentioned above to prove that not only can these seemingly contradictory opinions reside in the same cultures and friend groups, they can reside in the same PERSON.
I mentioned in the first paragraph that I have some disabilities. Because of those disabilities, I have experienced a ton a privilege in the way of scholarships, extra sick time, stipends, and the respect of people who would otherwise hate me for my skin color alone. I am not ignorant enough to think that I could have gotten some of the places I have been without special advantages, nor do I think that a 100% healthy Me would have even been motivated to do so. Just being real, here. But let me tell you something, if you are someone who thinks that affirmative action and special needs are unfair, you are a jerk. (Respectfully, of course.)
Did you see up there that I said I have experienced privilege? Some would say my economic status growing up, my disabilities, and my skin color would make that impossible. But privilege exists in everyone, even in varying degrees. Somebody, somewhere, has given you a break if you are reading this because it means you’re on a computer. And good for you! We need to remember that giving others a break doesn’t mean that we will be forgotten. What would happen if we all fought for each other? What if we realized that everyone needs a little “easy” in their lives?
I am a Southern Christian. After going to college and becoming more open-minded as a result of new experiences and new acquaintances, I realized that there is no other way to live than living for Christ. I know the Truth, and He has set me free.
Here’s the thing about being free, and I mean really free: You don’t feel the need to oppress anyone else, and it’s a horrible, gut-wrenching shame when you see others who are oppressed.
I know that I am one of the lucky ones, in spite of a lot that I have been through. But being honest, I’m not that special. Everyone has a story, and it’s completely unfair for us to judge how people’s stories have affected them. Give your neighbor a break.
My next point is probably one of the most important things I will ever write. This could be the beginning of us all understanding each other better. I find that most of the people I see arguing online are really great people with wonderful hearts. When you’re that kind of person or you try to be, it’s offensive when people tell you that those who believe what you believe are bad people.
However, it is high time that people of every race, creed, and color realize that just because they are the good guys does not mean there are not bad guys who look just like them. Just because you are white and have “never met” a racist white person doesn’t mean they do not exist. Just because you are Muslim and love America doesn’t mean there are not those who would love to watch it burn. Just because you are a Christian and you “love the sinner but not the sin” does not mean Westboro isn’t a thing.
What everyone is responsible for is understanding that not everyone was raised like you or someone you know. There is basis behind what everyone is saying and how everyone feels. You have not experienced or seen everything. Please stop whining about how different groups are whining. It’s dismissive and hypocritical. If you can’t buffer your language with a sincere question and season your words with grace, leave it alone. Just know that you don’t get it. And you might not ever get it.
I am really disappointed on social media with the language of people I have known for years. Granted, I grew up around all kinds of people. I am one of the lucky ones. I can ask sensitive questions and know that the person I am asking loves me, and I love them, too. But not everyone knows someone like that.
What I ask, as a woman who realizes her beliefs are seemingly deeply conflicted, is not for an idealistic kumbaya moment where we all hold hands and vow to love each other. (If you’re a Christian, that’s literally what you are commanded to do, so I absolutely hold you to a higher standard. If you can’t, then please leave my Savior’s Name out of your mouth…but I digress.)
What I am asking for is honest questions that are not riddled with shade or condescension. I am asking for you to read your own words and wonder if you wouldn’t be offended to have them aimed at you or your loved ones. I am asking for those of you who were raised where differences were not important to MAKE them important and find out more about people. I am asking for you to realize there are some things you will never understand. I am asking for some agreement to disagree, even if that means unfriending someone on social media just so you can stay friends with them in real life.
Fight for the underdog, even if you’re on top. Have some compassion and get off your “woke” high horse long enough to explain things to people.
Maybe this unity thing isn’t as hard as we’re making it out to be.