Finding my voice without silencing yours

Jake Moorehead,
Jacksonville, FL

Sometimes I feel like as a white man, it isn’t my place to speak. And I understand where that comes from. It doesn’t anger me, but sometimes it frustrates me because I do want to be an ally to people of color. I believe that judging people preemptively based on their physical characteristics is inherently wrong, no matter what those physical characteristics are, and I want to stand up for that truth. I worry that people assume I hold beliefs that I don’t because of the way I look, or I read things online specifically targeting people of my identity. Again, I get where this comes from, and I frequently get frustrated with white boys for their stupid offensive jokes or old men for their outdated beliefs, but I still know that generalizations are destructive. They just encourage more generalizations. I hope we can be accepting of others and supportive of people of color without ostracizing people in support of an accepting message. I was born into a native culture that I personally rarely felt comfortable with once I began to have real relationships with black and middle eastern people. I think so much of racial discourse is motivated by fear, often understandably in response to tragedy. But I still truly believe that the only way to mend our wounds is through love of each other. I know race is a disastrous human construct based on differences so minute that they’re honestly laughable. We need to continue to break down the walls that separate us, without eliminating the beautiful diversity of our cultures. Under our current administration, it often feels like our walls are growing higher.

 

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