It’s easy to lay all of the country’s problems at the feet of Republicans or conservatives, especially when you spend much of your time inside a circle of liberals and progressives. But setting our society in the right direction is a task for which we bear equal responsibility.
In particular, if you want to occupy the moral high ground, here are two examples you should avoid in conversation:
a) While expressing outrage that a group of people you once worked with felt uncomfortable with gays and lesbians, you casually exclaim “That’s retarded!”
b) Issuing an invitation to a handful of people, you make sure to point out that you treat guests to luxury and avoid any of “that ghetto-ass shit.”
I don’t think I need to spell out the problem with either of these statements.
Both were parts of conversation I overheard last night at a Rootscamp after-party. The people attending this conference are the best and brightest young organizers - among them, my good friend Malinda, who I was there to visit. However we (and I do include myself) need to recognize and remember that we do not exist outside of the system, like women and men with the instruction manual to fix the world’s woes. We fall into the same behaviors for which we would be quick to criticize others.
I know that’s not the mindset that these young people operate with in their work. It bears remembering, though, because it is so easy to slip into the narrative of blame that engulfs our polarized political system.