A little grace for we cis-gendered, straight, white people…please
I know. It’s just like a cis-gendered, straight white person to ask for some leeway, some wiggle room, some forgiveness…as if we don’t already have enough advantages.
But as the landscape of gender identity and sexuality is becoming more and more fluid, some of us–even those with the best of intentions (I know, I know, road to hell and all)–are having trouble keeping up with how to be helpful allies and advocates.
And even to those of us who had our heads in the sand, it has become beyond clear that racism never really went away, and we are trying to figure out how to manage or even give away the privilege that we’ve only recently become aware we have.
We try to read all the right books and articles. We spend time with our LGBTQ friends. We are righteously indignant and justifiably outraged when the rights of those who aren’t cis-gendered straight people are endangered or outright taken away. We call our congress people. We go to rallies.
We send our white children to schools where they are in the minority. We watch Dear White People and I am Not Your Negro. We choose our gyms, our clubs and our groups based on how racially diverse the membership is. (Well, almost all of our groups. Not our churches. A racially diverse church is like a unicorn…you’ve heard they exist, but haven’t ever really seen one.)
But…for all of our efforts, we don’t know what it’s like to be you. We won’t ever know. And sometimes, we will say or do stupid things without realizing that we are contributing to the hurt of our LGBTQ friends or our friends of color.
So, as worn out as you must be from ignorant, hateful, hurtful people, I humbly ask that you muster up enough energy to help us. Us, being people like me. Love us enough to tell us when we our efforts to be helpful do more harm than good. Care about us enough to let us know when our word choices are offensive. Trust us enough to believe that we really would like to do better and be better. Take pity on our ignorance and teach us what we need to know in order to not be jerks.
It’s not something we’ve earned or something we deserve, but some grace (which can’t be earned anyway) would be received, appreciated and not allowed to go to waste.