Choosing To Learn So I Can Fight

“Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it”.

I am a white woman living in the Midwest, and if I wanted to, I could live my life purely unaware of what is going on in the world. Regardless of what decisions the current administration makes, I could live my life without a lot of disruption.

I know this because I am very aware of my privilege.

I see my privilege when I stop at a store in the mall and I’m not followed, or when a door is held for me when I’m out. I see it in the fact that, although I make less than men, I still make more than women of color. I know that I will not be randomly stopped by police while I’m walking through my neighborhood in a hooded sweatshirt. I know that I will not be persecuted for being a specific ethnicity or religion. I won’t be stared at or mocked or turned down from a job because of a disability. And since I am a cisgender woman, and have the ‘right’ genitals, I won’t be called a ‘pervert’ for using the women’s restroom.

I recognize my privilege and I’m not okay with living blindly. I’m not okay with ridiculing someone of color or someone with disabilities. I’m not okay with banning Muslims from my country. I’m not okay with women of color making less money than me for the same job. I’m not okay with telling someone they can’t love who they love or be who they want because it’s different from who I am. I am not okay with being afraid of someone’s religion. I’m not okay with dictating what a woman can and cannot do with her body and medical decisions. I’m not okay with religion dictating politics. I’m not okay with the man I love having to worry about his place in America as the son of immigrants. I’m not fucking okay with any of it.

I want to listen, and I want to learn, to grow. And I want to be able to advocate for those whose rights are not equal to mine and for those who ask me to help. I know that I still have to fight to have equal rights to white men, but I will not be satisfied until everyone I know has an equal place of value in this country. I believe that feminism is about more than my uterus, and it’s time we stand up and fight for each other.

When we are marching or protesting, we need to remember that fear is a very powerful tool. We see it used today on a daily basis in Twitter rants from the very man who is supposed to be leading our country but instead has resorted to whining and pointing fingers at the media. The same man who issued a ban on Muslims because he fears them and fears their religion because he does not understand it. We don’t have to fall into these traps. We can educate ourselves and rise above fear and hate. We can be a great America: we need to listen and learn from each other, and most importantly love one another for our differences. In the end, those differences will make us stronger as we stand together.  

Colleen-Oconnor-Contributor-Photo
Colleen Rae : Artist. Writer. Feminist. Wizard.