Recently, in the United States, years and years of white supremacy, misogyny, xenophobia, and other forms of hate and bigotry came to a head. Things are far from just beginning, and they are far from over; but it seems a great deal of Americans are only just realizing that.
Now, more than ever, when we stand up and speak out, we must be clear who and what we are standing up for. It is all well and good to talk about love, positivity, and compassion, but it means nothing if you are not specific.
So for the record: I, and by extension this blog, am against bigotry. I will not refrain from speaking about issues that affect people in the interest of “remaining neutral.” There is no middle ground between “people are people” and “some people are not.” We cannot meet halfway on this.
I do not support Donald Trump. I do not accept his presidency as “the way it goes.” I do not need to “give him a chance”; he has had the entire US election cycle to show us who he is, and I’ve seen enough. I do not support white supremacy, misogyny, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, classism, or any other form of oppression; and I do not support people who do (which, for the sake of clarity, includes but is not limited to those who voted for DT).
I do support women, people of color, LGBT folks, immigrants, poor people, Muslims, people with disabilities, sex workers, people who have been and/or remain unjustly incarcerated, refugees, victims of sexual and/or intimate partner violence. You have the right to exist. You have the right to be valued. You have the right to be safe.
I acknowledge that as a white American, I have been complicit in the racist system that allows people like Donald Trump free reign to say ghastly things about POC and appoint a white supremacist as his chief stategist, while still maintaining the support of millions. I acknowledge that my silence has more than once allowed forms of oppression to continue unchecked. I acknowledge that white, straight, cis, able-bodied, middle-class feminism has often failed spectacularly when it comes to intersectionality, and this election is but one example of it. And I condemn that failure, and that silence, and that complicity. I will not be silent now.
Though as an American I most often speak about American issues, I do not restrict any of this to the United States. I condemn hate and oppression around the world, in all its forms, big or small — from the inhumane detention of asylum seekers by Australia to the banning of burkinis on French beaches. Because it matters. It always matters.
Speaking out against hate is not the same as hate. Sticking up for the oppressed is not the same as oppression. Tolerance of discrimination is not compassion, and when you choose neutrality, you may as well choose hate.
I don’t know if the time for neutrality was ever here, but it has long since passed.