These are troubling times, to say the least.
Yet, as a white, heterosexual male, things will doubtless be easier for me. As the color of my skin, my sexual orientation, and my gender define me, I can only try to relate to the struggle and pain POC, women, LGBTQ+, Muslims, Latin Americans, and the countless others who have fought and bled for their rights.
We have made progress toward acceptance and this is a step back.
Donald Trump will not be okay for these groups; this does not make me “fortunate” as some may say, but rather privileged.
I mean, I am the most privileged, let’s face it. Despite being Jewish and living with a debilitating disability, things are handed to me — pretty much on a silver platter — and they probably always will be.
I think times like these are a good a time as any to wake up and look white, straight male privilege right in the face.
Let’s face it, shall we? Privilege is Trump, a man who is literally accused of rape losing to Hillary, a woman who has been doing this for 30 years and is way overqualified; privilege is not fearing for my life on a daily basis based on the color of my skin; privilege is the world telling me my sexual orientation is the norm; privilege is immunity from Donald Trump based on having a penis.
So how to use this privilege?
It’s not about “being an ally” to the oppressed groups Trump is doubtless to further oppress, but rather going out and using our privilege to fight the fight.
Hey, white men: Stop saying it will be okay. Maybe for you it will be, but you have to understand the privilege that goes into that statement.
Things will not simply be okay — not when Trump may march hundreds of troops into cities like Los Angeles to round up thousands of undocumented immigrants, and not when hate crimes against Muslims, LGBTs, and women among others run rampant.
It is your job (and mine) to fight against this and use our privilege as a shield and, in doing so, fight.
Fighting is not solely de-friending your buddy on Facebook or telling your coworker, “You wish Hilary was Madam President” — we all do. Fighting is volunteering for Planned Parenthood, the Trevor Project, or Project Angel Heart. Fighting is standing before your friend, family, or coworker as a shield against hate by telling the oppressor, “I am with him or her” when they are attacked.
Because you know what? If this election is an indication of anything, it’s that the white, male straight voice is still the most listened to in the room. Take that job and when a hateful slander or violence is thrust, use the privileged voice to shut it down.
Fighting is promoting awareness of the community’s fight or the POC’s fight through rational thought and intelligent conversation with your friends or family who may not know the difference. Fighting is being aware of your privilege, and using it to help others who are not so. To start, pick up a book, talk to a woman or a Muslim or someone who is trans about their struggle, or get right out there and volunteer or get involved in local government.
As far as myself, to start, I pledge to use my white, straight body as a shield for my family, friends, and others who will be told in the years to come that they are not accepted by this land.
I urge my white and heteronormative friends to understand the power you have, and use it accordingly.