The enemy is apathy; the enemy is inaction. Do not give in.
CONFESSION: I meant to publish this on Thanksgiving. My intent was to play off the curious dichotomy of feeling thankful yet simultaneously apprehensive about the impending future; however, life got in the way (as it always does). And now it’s almost December. Like an auto-zoom feature conditioned to focus on one pixel instead of the big picture, my mind inevitably becomes reabsorbed in the minutiae of everyday life—no matter how many times I manually shift the lens.
Luckily, today is #GivingTuesday. Say what you will about social media initiatives, but today’s “do good” mindset was enough to finally overcome my self-absorption and help me rediscover motivation to finish this post.
And that’s when I realized my overwhelming privilege. Glaring social injustice simply doesn’t creep into my everyday life; it doesn’t affect me unless I constantly remind myself that hate crimes are happening (and they ARE happening – check out this report from the Southern Poverty Law Center that includes a summary of reported and verified hate crimes against a huge variety of U.S. citizens).
How lucky I am to live a life in which many of my fundamental traits as a human being (heterosexual, middle-class, educated) do not generally affect my sense of worth or safety on a day-to-day basis. And yet, I know that so many of my fellow Americans do not possess the same luxury; even fewer possess it on a global scale.
Lately it seems like widespread hate has begun to rip, stretch, and fade the vibrant social/cultural fabric of our country beyond recognition, but it must be restored.
To quote a favorite television show of mine, this current hostile environment in the U.S. and around the world is “NOT NORMAL,” and we can’t afford to treat it as such.
All of this to say, it’s time for us to fight apathy and inaction just as fiercely as we fight hate (not just today, but every day):
It begins with ensuring each other’s safety—particularly for citizens who are victimized based on religion, poverty, disability, sexuality, race. Every day.
It begins with ensuring the fundamental rights of ALL Americans—particularly for citizens who are victimized based on religion, poverty, disability, sexuality, race. Every day.
It begins with giving what we can to those who need it most—particularly for citizens who are victimized based on religion, poverty, disability, sexuality, race. Every day.
And I don’t just mean giving money. I’m talking about giving time, effort, attention (although if you DO have the motivation or the means, remember to check out GiveWell.org first, to get educated about where your contribution will have the greatest impact).
This is an especially important time for U.S. citizens to stand up, in light of the rampant hate of the past several months (which I plan to discuss at length in a future post):
Denounce hate crimes. Advocate for acceptance. Defend human rights. Eliminate inequality. Confront prejudice. Fight injustice. DO SOMETHING. Because inaction means compliance.
Regardless of individual politics, the truth remains: it’s up to us to create the life we want. It’s always been up to us.
Time to get to work.