Stop telling people how to protest

I am not overly political on social media and as such, I am probably part of a widespread problem. If you engage me in an issue, I will gladly have a conversation with you about. I will not call you names. I will merely state the facts as I see them and provide my opinion on the matter. While this sounds all good and dandy, it often results in name calling among other things and I’ve  learned that it is simply not worth getting into an argument about. People have to be willing to understand another side and even possibly, accepting that side and if they’re not, it just goes awry. I pick my battles accordingly.

But seriously, here’s some food for thought.

I work at an insurance company. I have attended some political events. I wear overtly political shirts that say things like “Who needs a glass slipper when you can shatter the glass ceiling” or “Girls just want to have fundamental rights.” I have an opinion on these things and you know what? Nobody is telling me to stop and go back to my day job. Heck, I wear these IN my workplace and you don’t see a single person bat and eye and I have yet to be told that I need to keep that to myself. It’s my small way of taking a stand.

So, knowing this and knowing that we don’t put other people in a box and decide how they express their beliefs, why are people up in arms about a bunch of football players kneeling during the national anthem? This is THEIR way of using their platform to further their cause. People keep telling them to just do their jobs, but I don’t see them saying that to the people that OWN the football teams. That are also high profile but also donate tons and tons of money to political campaigns that they believe in. I don’t see people saying that about the recent KKK rally, which I think most can agree was a disgusting display of racism. All those people have day jobs and nobody is telling them to go back to them, so why?

You don’t get to pick how people peacefully protest. You just don’t. And guess what, I don’t get to tell you how to peacefully protest either. That’s your right. If you want to go to a KKK rally, I will roll my eyes six ways to Tuesday because I think it’s ridiculous, but I am not going to encroach on your freedom to express yourself. I will keep my thoughts to myself and my friends, but I will never try to take that freedom from you and lord knows I don’t believe in that cause.

When you have a privilege (and if you’re sitting here and you’re white, you do), you have a responsibility. These NFL players HAVE privilege. They’re rich. They’re televised. They have an opportunity to speak out against things that they don’t believe in and endorse things that they do. Didn’t y’all just see one of the Seahawks visiting the Seattle Children’s Museum? He’s encouraging donating to that cause. IT IS THE SAME THING. The difference is that you don’t agree with it for whatever reason. I don’t see you getting mad at him that he’s supporting sick kids. I don’t see you trying to take his right away to endorse something he believes in, but when he kneels to take a stand because he’s felt injustices in his life, people try and tell him how he should feel. They try and tell him what he should do. They try and tell him that he should be ashamed. He is not disrespecting the flag. He is not burning it to send a message. He’s not trampling on it. He’s not walking on it. People make bikinis out of the American flag. They make that print in underwear you know? Go talk to them. Be upset. Don’t watch the games. Heck, don’t go to them and maybe now I’ll be able to afford a ticket (thanks for that), but consider how very NOT different this is from many of the other things people are keeping silent about.

That is wrong. That is encroaching on someone’s freedom.

Freedom isn’t free. It comes at a price. There are people in our own country right now that are also paying that price. That are being called things because they’re fighting for freedoms that I as a white woman have always experienced. You don’t get to tell people how they feel. There  may be African American people out there that say they’ve never felt any prejudice and maybe they haven’t, but that doesn’t mean that every other person that is speaking out and saying that they have is wrong. They’re not making this up for attention. Do you realize life is harder for them BECAUSE they’re speaking out. Does anyone actually do anything to make their life harder intentionally? I mean really? You would CHOOSE a life of oppression? I highly, highly doubt it. Think that one through.

Privilege comes in many shapes and sizes. I grew up completely broke. Telling me I had privilege when I was younger, I would’ve laughed at you. It is such a privilege to wonder if there is any food in your fridge at home. I simply didn’t understand. Privilege doesn’t mean you life a life of luxury. It means nothing of the sort, actually. It just means there are things that happen to you every single day that you might not even notice (and probably don’t) because they’ve always happened for you like that. Some of these things are super small, but regardless of how small they are, there are people out there that are not afforded the same “small” privileges. How different the world might be if people took the time to truly understand what that means. You may think this isn’t your circus, but it is. It is mine too. If you want to understand even a little bit, research and learn for yourself. It is not a minority person’s job to educate those of the majority race on what their issues are and why what might be occurring is racist. They’re actually doing you a service by even informing you at all.

Just please, stop telling people how they’re supposed to feel. I am not telling you how to feel. I am telling you to stop discrediting everyone else’s experience just because yours is different. And maybe, read some of the links below.

http://code.ucsd.edu/pcosman/Backpack.pdf

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gina-crosleycorcoran/explaining-white-privilege-to-a-broke-white-person_b_5269255.html

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