Wednesday, February 23, 2011
"That's the Way it's ALWAYS Been"
The past few days have been a reminder to me that change does NOT come easy. I tend to be someone who embraces change--especially when it comes to progress. Let's move forward! Shake things up! Embrace new perspectives! Why are all you old white people holding things back?!
Okay, I am generalizing here and, to be fair, I have to share that more of my life the past few days has been taken up with work stuff than with Wedding stuff. Teri too has been exhausted from all of the work she has been doing out in the cold, not-very-springlike weather. We have found ourselves getting a little snippy and crabby with each other simply because we are both pretty tired and tense. Our mantra is "it's temporary" and we remind ourselves that we will be onto something else in a few days.
I have been paying attention to what is going on in Wisconsin where old, rich, conservative white men want to dictate who gets what; in Egypt where the status quo is being overturned with revolution because progressive change couldn’t happen any other way, and in my own world where new, young, multicultural, and fresh ideas and perspectives are constantly being stopped and thwarted by the white privileged folk who assume that it is THEY who get to choose the agenda: "That's not the way we did it before!" and "We know how best for you to get the crumbs we want to give you!"
I am NOT young, and I AM white; in most areas of my life I walk around in a shroud of white privilege. I cannot un-do that but I can be aware of it and I can step aside and let others speak for themselves. While the minorities need allies, (and I am also talking about us LGBTQ folks here) we do not need those allies to speak for us and we do not need those supposed allies to decide the agenda, direction, or strategy for how to bring issues to the forefront. There ARE other stories to be told, other voices to speak, other messages to share, and new ways of going about our living in the world.
While, of course, we can learn from our ancestors and there can be respect for what has come before, there is still room for progress--even if it is messy, scary and unpredictable. As far as I am concerned (and I know there is a bit of the ranting, angry rebel in me) it is high time for the status quo to stop holding back inevitable change--whether it is in the boardroom, in our governments, our school districts, or in charities and nonprofits. New voices, new scripts, new ways of relating, new leadership, and new mistakes--the old ones are constipating progress.