Over four months ago I wrote Shut Up, White Girl! If you haven’t read it, you might want to give it a scan so that what I’m about to say makes sense.
The reason it’s been over four months without my response is because the comments and replies have only recently started to taper off. Some of you will have noticed that there are no comments or replies to the post, the Facebook notice, or the twitter link, and are now wondering exactly what I’m talking about.
Well, it turns out that the community has rather a lot to say on this topic, just not in public. I’ve received numerous emails and private messages with the responses. But not a single one of them was willing to risk facing the community with their thoughts and beliefs.
Consider that for a moment.
No matter where on the scale of “shut up” to “speak up” these people fell, they felt sure that they were not safe sharing those thoughts in public, even on this still obscure little website.
A great many of the responses I received were exceedingly well written and thought out, no matter where their opinion fell on the spectrum of opinion. Having seen some of the comment sections of various alt friendly or alt focused websites, I must admit this surprised me.
I was under the apparently VERY mistaken impression that the majority of our community simply did not write like this anymore – unless they were writing a book. Moreover, it saddened me, it saddened me to an extreme that I can not even begin to share the extent of with you, despite my deep desire to do so.
I feel that needs some discussion as well, and I believe that it deserves a post of its own, but I did want to point it out so you, the community at large, could ponder it.
Back to the White Girl post –
I did a quick count of the responses I got, and was a little surprised by the results, as they were almost exactly even (within two or three responses) and fell into three fairly neat categories –
- Negative Responses – the most repeated replies being
- Your friends are correct, you have no right
- Quit whining about your white privilege
- Get over yourself, (colorful and insulting expletives here)
- I’m fairly sure I got ALL the “bad names” you can call a white cis-het woman, along with just about every atrocious adjective you can add to them.
- I will say this, our community has quite the awesome vocab and some serious descriptive writing skills
- Positive Responses –
- Your friends are trying to protect you, which is sweet, but speak your truth
- Your friends are wrong, no one should be silenced
- You gotta be you, or else you can’t support anyone else being who they are
- Apathetic Responses –
- Why do you care, and what makes you think we do, nevermind – we don’t actually want to know
- Nobody cares
- How is this even an issue for discussion, there is (insert personally important cause here) and we should be focusing on that, it’s so much more important.
- For the record, this statement is made to cover a broad spectrum of responses and is not meant as a dismissal of any of those personally important causes – every single one of them that was used to tell me how unimportant my post was IS extremely important and I personally support most of them
I am grateful for every single response, no matter how dismissive or demeaning, nor how supportive and uplifting. I firmly believe that we can not live and grow in an echo chamber. If we never fully hear, understand, and accept as real those opinions that differ from – or even oppose – our own, we can not learn nor become better, more whole and balanced persons.
What I feel I’ve learned and how it affects the way I will be writing from now on –
- Haters gonna hate
- Lovers gonna love
- Those that feel they have the most important causes are going to dismiss yours for their own
- There is no way in heaven, hell, or purgatory that anyone will ever be able to write the perfect text to be “acceptable” to everyone
- I should absolutely stop trying
All of these things being true, I’ve decided to publish the Stonewall piece as originally written. I’ve tried to do several edits to make it more palatable, and they just feel like I’m doing the exact same whitewashing that I’m complaining about. So they will all be going into the trash, while the original can be found here – Stonewall – What Changed… And What Didn’t.