Occasionally I think of things I’ve thought, said, or done in the past and it’s so embarrassing to me how offensive or ignorant I must have come off (because I was offensive and ignorant even though I didn’t mean to be an asshole). I know I had good intentions but it doesn’t erase the fact that I contributed to oppression through my ignorance no matter how benign it was in my heart. So it’s embarrassing. I give myself a little pep talk, “it’s okay, you didn’t know. Now you do. Do better.” and I keep educating myself so it happens less and less.
So I take this to heart and here is my pledge of sorts to being a responsible ally. It’s me taking responsibility for being full of it because I am. It’s the way that I say “I can and will do better and I don’t expect anything for it but I’m going to state my intention to do so.” What else is there? I share because I find that building a community of change comes from sharing openly no matter how embarrassing or challenging it may be to come under fire. It isn’t supposed to be easy to speak the truth, to seek the truth, or to embody and defend the truth in a culture that benefits from the telling of lies.
If you find this helpful, I hope you’ll write your own or share! Thanks 🙂
I will have problematic thoughts/beliefs/understandings. I was and am educated within a problematic paradigm. I do my best to dispense with problematic thinking and beliefs but I will not always do so before making a statement that is problematic. I have come to understand this and work to stop perpetuating it as much as possible.
I realize even if I weren’t mixed white, able bodied, cis and other intersections of privileged, this may still be the case. I try my best but please don’t hesitate to tell me my best has failed if you feel called to do so.
Regardless, I in no way expect others to educate me because this is my duty and job. If someone does want to call me out or give me tools to be better because they feel so inclined, I will always be grateful and happy to learn. However I will not wait to be educated and will not expect help for being a good person when we are all subject to the same harmful education and given the same lack of tools to combat it. I will work like everyone else to do what I can, mindfully, and with support, when I can and how I can.
I’m sorry for any role in perpetuating oppression that I engage in because it is sincerely not my goal. However, I take full responsibility for perpetuating harm when and if I do so because (if/when) it is something that has happened and the consequences of that event are more powerfully harmful because of my privilege. My privilege also renders the harm caused to oppressed people invisible or at least less visible to me and therefore more violent and traumatizing.
I didn’t ask for this privilege but now that I know it exists, I will continue to do what I can to make it right/better/safer/just for everyone.