November 9, 2016. Think about it for a moment. Recognize that this marks a day when people believing they are espousing messages of inclusivity and hope began to turn into the same people they believed they were fighting back against for a long time. Stay with me, and hopefully we can both agree on how absurd so many comments and thoughts have been over the past two days.
Let’s get a couple of things out of the way first: I am a white male. I grew up in rural Georgia. I am married and have a son. I received my undergraduate degree from Columbus State University and my Masters from the University of Cincinnati. I am the demographic many of you have decided to lump into one singular category since November 8, and the fact that you are relying on stereotypes and broad categorical labels is just as much of a problem now as any other issue present in this country. You are doing exactly what you accuse me of doing on a daily basis simply because I am not female, or a person of color, or identify as a non-heterosexual male. You are labeling, blaming, and lashing out at me without any legitimate reason, simply because I am different from you.
There are absolutely racist white morons in this country. There are issues that we face in this country that stem from the systematic oppression of others. There are plenty of things that you and I would agree emphatically on if we were to discuss things over a cup of coffee. There is one fundamental difference, however, in our views: I wholeheartedly believe that everyone is equal and that our society should be shaped in such a way as to make that clear, whereas I do not see that belief from you.
As long as we continue to separate ourselves from each other, especially through systems of classification and labels (such as African-American, white, or homosexual, just to pick some examples) we will continue to create and reinforce stereotypes and societal divisions that we will not overcome. As long as we view our neighbors, friends, coworkers, and strangers we encounter as “x label” instead of viewing them as fellow Americans, we are lost. As long as we blame others and find fault with them in some way, we have failed.
I get it. You’re frightened because the person that has been elected to lead this country has shown us that he is misogynistic, authoritarian, homophobic, and bigoted. What you seem to be forgetting, however, is that judging or labeling others by any demographic is exactly the problem you feel you have been facing, and now you are responding by doing that very thing to me.
We are in this together. I’m scared of what the coming days, weeks, months, and years will bring as well. Let’s start by looking at each other as fellow human beings and figuring out how we make a positive difference, from the ground up, in a country where we have (for far too long) looked for answers from the top down.