I, like many of you, am faced with challenges each and every day. Some challenges are easy to overcome and others aren’t as easy to overcome. However, I have never, and probably never will, be faced with challenges that ask me to question my existence, advocate for my equality, or feel threatened by my society.
Why? Because I am a white male that could probably drown in my privilege.
I know for many of you this concept is quite new and scary to face. You have grown up in a society that is slow to support change and is hesitant to have tough conversations. I encourage you, and everyone else, to do some reading on the concepts of heteronormativity, privilege, bigotry, and prejudice.
*Pause to do some quick research and then keep reading.*
I woke up today and was bombarded with a confused society. For many of you that will read this you will consider the “confused society” the LGBQT+ community. Others will consider the “confused society” the Republicans and others the Democrats. But remember, we are removing the political stance from this article and from these basic human depreciation concepts. This is a time to think, free of our society’s mind pollution, about how our country can move forward together.
For me, I’m pretty confused too. I am confused with who I am as a person. Why? Because I claim to be a Christian, I claim to be an advocate for others, and I claim to be a supporter of equality. For many people, those things collide pretty frequently. For me, they all can fit together pretty nicely with a few basic understandings.
Here is my suggestion for all of us, including myself. Why don’t we stop the bigotry and assumptions about other people, take time to get to know them, listen to their story, allow them to explain themselves, and then move forward from there. Who knows, maybe we will be able to respect these people, better understand them, and move forward together. Maybe we will be able to create change that is sustainable and not causing so much hatred that we see riots, and shootings, and suicides, and death all of the time. We have better things to worry about than how people choose to identify and live their lives. We have better legislation to pass than laws discriminating against our people. We have better ways to help others than to tell them they aren’t loved or valued.
No matter your religion, your morals, your values, or your preferences, you too can love others in the best way you see fit. I assure you that it can be done.
I find it absolutely appalling that our society finds it more challenging to grieve for 50 families that died in a discriminatory terrorist attack than to tweet, post, and encourage a social media campaign against the LGTBQ+ community. It is easier to say “It is (insert any political person’s name) fault” than to say “I am so sorry for what our society has caused for your loved ones”.
C’mon folks. It is time to change the dialogue, have important conversations that matter, and move forward together. Whether you are politically inclined and influenced by the political landscape, practice religious freedom or not, or are filthy rich or dirt poor, you can love people, and that is all that I am asking.
We will not move anywhere by focusing on the color of someone’s skin, the wealth in their pocket, or who they choose to identify with or spend the rest of their life with.
I’m taking a stance to love ALL people, and I encourage you to do the same.
I’m loving people as an advocate against all kinds of discrimination. I stand with those whose lives are impacted each and every day by the bigotry and hatred that our society seems to endorse. I will fight, support, and stand in solidarity with everyone who is fighting against our society to have their basic freedoms observed.
I am a white, straight, Christian male who could drown in the amount of privilege I have, but who makes a commitment each day to help those who need it.
I encourage you to do the same, because I know you can.
Let’s continue the dialogue by sharing, commenting below, or sharing your thoughts via Twitter.
-Blake Shepheard (@blake_shepheard)