Thursday, February 9, 2017

Why Neutrality Isn't Okay



Hey so you usually don't post politically, so what? You don't have an opinion on x problem or y's decision during that day when the giant z happened. You thought it would eventually be alright, right? No need to get involved?

Something that I've struggled with all through high school up until recently is being too agreeable. I was never really lying because I never talked and when I did talk, it was a joke or something witty and fun to move the conversation elsewhere. The problem wasn't that I'd let things slide or that I thought something was bad but someone would be mad if I made a big deal out of something. No, I had an issue with genuinely committing to ideas or thoughts. I knew or thought I knew I would change my mind later and be wrong in that moment. The odd thing was these were once all small things like if I liked a band or not, if I was going to a party next week, who I liked. I was completely awkward and anxious as can be in high school and it just HURTS thinking about a time where I was a giant walking neutral zone.

As I grew older, my opinions on bigger problems were needed. Where I was going to school, who to vote for, was I going to continue going to church if at all. A lot of strange things I wasn't used to having to stand for. Women's rights, social issues seen as burdens, animal rights, abuse, hate...things actually needed to be talked about that, up until now, I'd avoided.

I am 22 years old, I am a bisexual women of color in a Republican state in a country that's being "run" by an obviously oppressive man who wants what's easy and beneficial for him. Not saying something when it needs to be said or put right is not what I'm used to doing but it's time I do. Hiding isn't an option for me when there are many ways I can peacefully and to a point respectfully make a stand.

Being neutral is not okay. Being neutral let's people walk over other people, your friends, people you've never met but probably get along with, even you. It's a form of letting oppressive people get what they want because it's easier than nipping it in the bud. It might be easier to be okay with EVERYTHING but it the long haul....everyone gets hurt.

Standing by while an elder makes racists jokes, not talking when someone is telling you why you should give him a chance, awkwardly laughing when a maybe friend makes a sexist joke, shrugging away a antisemetic comment you accidently overheard, letting someone talk down about someone else's sexuality or gender, these are not options. Letting oppression happen isn't an option. Neutrality isn't an option.

Image from A Practical Wedding (three women @ a Baltimore BLM protest in 2015)
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