Do I have to explain everything?
A couple weeks ago there was a rash of op-ed pieces and blog posts debating whether it is the job of various people to constantly educate other people about the realities of oppression, unwitting misogyny, institutional homophobia and racism, and the ways that people unintentionally perpetuate those things. And I understand. Some days I’m just too tired to deal with yet another clueless person….
But I also understand that if no one stands up for the people who can’t defend themselves, if no one objects when someone says something hurtful, if no one challenges someone’s prejudice, the world gets a little worse for everyone. I get it, I do.
But sometimes I feel like I’m trying to stop a raging flood with a small bucket. Except that’s too simple. Some days it feels as if I’m trying to stop a hail of bullets with the print out of a thesis on the socio-psychological dynamics of the rhetorical campaigns of late twentieth century reactionary politicians. And we know that no matter how many well-researched footnotes it has, a paper isn’t going to stop a single bullet.
Sometimes the bullets are metaphorical, such as a when public official supervising a large and diverse workforce creates a workplace hostile to employees who don’t share his fundamentalist Christian beliefs. Other times the bullets are a bit less metaphorical, when teen-agers are bullied by their fundie parents, church, and teachers so they give into despair and kill themselves. And sometimes the person bullets aren’t at all metaphorical, such as when a 12-year-old boy is gunned down on a playground by a pair of cops who prevent other law enforcement officers from providing medical care because he was a black boy holding a toy the first cop claims he thought was a gun.
In the face of those events and so many more, I just get tired of having no weapon other than my words. I want a solution. I’m weary of being patient.
Not that I’m giving up. But some days you just can’t muster up the energy to do more that howl in frustration.