I Am Your Ally

Jul 8, 2016 by

I have no words.

But I must find some… because I have feelings.

 

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How do I describe how I feel when my heart rages and burns? How do I articulate the fury that blows through me? How do I describe the sheer stupidity of the situation? The frustration. The injustice. The hurt. The useless, idiotic, pointless, tragic slaughter of our fellow humans. How can I (or anyone) possibly imagine any feelings of hope in this?

I am broken.

And words fail me.

But 9 year old me did French speeches on women’s rights and racism, and while I don’t like to get into controversial topics on my blog, that little girl is prodding me, begging me to say something.

Truly, I don’t think there’s anything “controversial” about this topic… but I’ll get to that.

When the shootings happened in Orlando, I wanted to say something. But I also wanted to think about it a little more, to organize my sadness. With the shootings in Dallas last night, I need to say something. A quiver of anger ripples through my body even as I write this.

Right now, I feel the way I do during elections. My vote, my voice, won’t really count for much. But I was raised to be aware of the sacrifices my ancestors made so that I could live in a country with open democracy and to not take this for granted. Neglecting to vote is an insult to those who came before me, to those who have allowed me to live in my beautiful country.

Writing this article feels much like that. My words and my outrage are but a drop in a bucket. They will not change anything and they will likely not sway anyone one way or another. Likely the people who are reading this are self-actualized thinkers and won’t disagree with the fact that these shootings are atrocious massacres. Butcherings.

I need to say this. I need to express my anger.

This is my vote.

 

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At the root of my rage are my friends – one of my dearest friends and greatest loves in life is a police officer. There is no way in any world/planet/scenario that the so-called “dirty cops” represent him. He is a kind, funny, charming, wonderful man and father who does his job well, tolerates a lot of challenges and does so with grace. Being anti-cop is not the solution.

Conversely, some of my dearest friends are black. One of them is from Zambia. In no way does a maniacal psychopath who decides to shoot up innocent police officers and protesters represent the wonderful African-Canadians, African-Americans, Africans, and other black men and women in my life. Being anti-black is not a solution when it comes to defending cops or anyone who’s been affected by events such as those in Dallas.

And a sidenote. The same goes for Muslims.

I am beyond blessed to have some of the most wonderful people in my life… all races, all backgrounds, all religions. One of my most beloved friends from school is Muslim. Something else I don’t really talk about is my partner’s background; he, too, was raised Muslim. Mostly this doesn’t come up because it’s not relevant to any blog post, but here we are, and I have to say this. Extremists/terrorists who murder innocents do not represent my Muslim brothers and sisters, my boyfriend and his family, and the millions of other peaceful followers of Islam. Hating or fearing people because they’ve been misrepresented by a nut case is absolutely moronic, and I don’t have much more to say about that.

 

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I’ve read on the internet that supposedly, it’s a pretentious white thing to say “I don’t see race.”

First, I don’t think I will ever understand that completely. Can I perceive that my friend’s skin is darker than mine? Yes. But do I see him as truly different than me? Only in the capacity that he inhabits a different body, a separate casing of skin. NO. I see him as human.

Also, what is wrong with “not seeing race” and why is it pretentious? What is so wrong with saying that and approaching people in this way? I suppose I can see the pretentious undertones in such a statement, but isn’t this what we should strive for as inhabitants of planet Earth? Yes, I can rationally distinguish a white person from a black person, but that does not change how I treat anyone.

Maybe my mentality is thanks to the intelligent and forward thinking family that I have. My almost 90 year old grandfather is a feminist through and through, pro-female, all for women getting educated and achieving their goals, and being strong and independent. My parents have always challenged me, debated with me, and encouraged open conversation. And I’ve been lucky to have grown up in a diverse country. Being surrounded by people who are “different” was the norm; in fact, growing up, I was often the minority in social settings. So is it so strange, so inappropriate that I see past race, that I just see humans?

Sexual orientation is no different and does not dictate how someone deserves to be treated.

 

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I read an article online about things you need to understand before attending Pride as a straight person. I understand the content of this article, and I understand some people can be disrespectful as they go about attending Pride. I do not want to make any counterarguments apart from one. And I may just be arguing semantics here, but I have a point to make that’s relevant to the rest of this article.

Point #4 states: “If your thought process is ‘gays are okay, but I don’t understand the whole trans thing,’ don’t come to Pride.”

I understand the fundamental argument here.

But why do we need to understand in order to love and accept someone? Arguably, I don’t understand any form of sexuality other than my own in the same way a gay person can never truly understand a straight person’s leanings… in the same way a bisexual or trans person wouldn’t understand another person’s orientation no matter what it is.

In the same capacity, I may not always understand my friends’ religions because the beliefs are different to my own and are often followed in cultural context (for example, one of my friends is Libyan Muslim, while another is Trinidadian Muslim). While I may not understand in the strictest sense, I can seek to learn the teachings and I can ask lots of questions, and try to marry this difference with curiosity and understanding, but they/the religion/the culture will always be different.

This is likely just semantics… but my point is this:

I do not need to understand someone to accept them, to love them, to celebrate their uniqueness.

The fact is: we are all humans.

Are you kind? Do you love? Do you have a beautiful mind? Do you share and make every effort to be the best version of yourself?

Then I will be your ally.

Are you open to others – in all forms of races and nationalities and religions and backgrounds? in sexual preference and lifestyle choices? in languages spoken and prayers whispered?

Then I will be your ally.

This is what isn’t controversial about this topic…

Are you a human?

Then: I. Am. Your. Ally.

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Please share your thoughts and feelings. Help us all find hope again.

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2 Comments

  1. All of this. And also, I believe we are one race. Although, I would be lying if I said I didn’t have prejudices or make snap-judgements about people based on appearance, and I think that’s what people are getting at when they say they don’t like people to say that they don’t see race. All I can do is acknowledge that unlikable fact about myself and work to be more, be better. That’s all any of us can do.

  2. I like your last line. I don’t like the “sides” that people keep talking about. If we’re human, we should be there for each other.

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