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Thank God a privileged white guy told everyone to calm down

Updated: Feb 10, 2020

I just finished reading Michael Cianchette’s BDN column “Calm down and be civil before someone gets killed.” His facts are well placed and his appeal is well intended.

But I don’t see it happening.

And Michael, don’t tell people to calm down. That’s something privileged people say when they’re uncomfortable. It’s condescending. No one was ever told to calm down and responded reasonably.

I am calm and I am outraged for more reasons than I care to count.

Michael writes, “It should go without saying, but Americans are not “enemies” to each other. Or “traitors” — either to their gender or their countrymen — for voting a certain way.”

I vehemently disagree. The United States very recently voted against a United Nations resolution that condemns the death penalty for those who engage in gay sex.

Maybe that doesn’t constitute being an enemy, but it sure as hell shows hatred toward my LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters.

I happen to identify as straight, so I guess if I were the typical privileged hetero white male, I could say this is not my problem, but when our culture shows ambivalence or apathy toward those who experience oppression, it is everyone’s problem.

I live in a culture in which Steven Crowder gets over 19,000,000 hits for his YouTube video, “There are only two genders, change my mind” and then ridicules everyone who tries.

When I watch hate speech like that, I think perhaps that Americans collectively are getting dumber. But the truth is, a high percentage of us are increasingly rigid in our beliefs because opening our minds would require better behavior and recognition that social privilege for some results in the oppression of others.

I am frequently screaming inside my head (I’m still calm outwardly), “Gender is a f@cking social construct.”

Lots of things are social constructs but we treat them as though they are facts because we fear changes to the status quo.

We have a president who labels truth he doesn’t like as “fake news” and millions of people drink the proverbial f@cking Kool Aid and essentially say, ‘Merika, f@ck, yeah!”

Michael warns that further unrest could result in a “disturbed person” taking action in violence (which apparently doesn’t happen in our country every single day for hundreds of reasons).

Protests aren’t going to get the results we need. I’m feeling like appealing for civil discourse is now akin to “sending thoughts and prayers.”

I am never a proponent of violence. I am an advocate of exposing social problems, and the social privilege that drives them. I invest in bolstering grassroots movements and challenge others to do the same. I am astounded at our low voter turnout rates and I am appealing to folks that as safe as it may feel to you to stay on your proverbial fence, our country is going to hell in a handbasket.

Of all the clichés in our country, at least one remains true: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margret Mead

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