I am a cis-gendered straight white middle-aged man. What I see this country devolving into saddens and sickens me. As such, I am working on doing anything I can to help improve and change this situation.
Unfortunately, a lot of my contemporaries, i.e. other middle-aged white cis-gendered males, are the biggest part of this problem we have.
How so? Because they are not standing up to the racists, bigots, sexists, and various hate-mongers. Many of them are not actively choosing to work to be allies to women, LGBTQ individuals, people of color, or any of the other minority groups currently facing renewed attacks that should have long-ago ended.
Much of this is due to passivity. This is a choice to do nothing, and neither speak up for or against what is happening. Unfortunately, that passivity is contributing to the problem, and making my contemporaries look like…well, to be frank, assholes.
Because I am also a middle-aged white cis-gendered male, everything I say needs to be considered before I say it. This is not because I am avoiding controversy, but because I want to work as an active ally, and NOT be seen as the enemy.
This is important
This matters because we are in a tumultuous time in history. The blatant racism and sexism of the President and the utter silence on behalf of the majority of Republicans in Congress is unacceptable. All of this should have been left behind, but here we are in 2019 facing it all over again.
What’s worse is that hate groups are being weaponized in terrifying ways. They are emboldened and empowered by Trump because he loves how they support his fragile ego. With the election coming up in just over a year, this is going to get worse because he believes they are enough to carry him to a second term.
Unless my contemporaries stop being silent and take an active role in changing this.
Yes, if Millennials get out there and vote en masse they have the numbers to create the outcome of the next election. But Gen X men like me cannot just coast along and not be active in moving us forward rather than letting Trump and his cronies take us backward.
Like it or not, men like me tend to be perceived as “the enemy” by practically everyone. Why? Because thanks to privilege, decades of systematic racism and sexism, we and the generation of cis-gendered white males before US, and the generation before THEM have created the problem.
The best way to change it is to be active, and take a stand to not be the enemy.
Mistakes will be made
It is super-important, however, to recognize that we are imperfect.
No, I can’t speak for my contemporaries, but I can speak from experience. I am imperfect, make mistakes, and still occasionally say the wrong thing.
For example — I have a couple of friends who, though born male, have become either non-binary or identify as female. Though I try my best to use their preferred pronouns when talking to, with, or about them…I get it wrong sometimes.
It’s really important to recognize that there is NO malice in this. However, there are a number of people who will attack when someone like me screws up.
I get it, I really do. But keep in mind that there is a difference between an ally who makes an unintended mistake and someone neutral or against you that needs to make some effort and currently isn’t. I am going to get this wrong not because I am not trying to do right, but because I am not perfect.
Please, by all means, let me know where I may have erred, (and accept that sometimes where you see error my intent was good even if flawed) but please be kind about it.
Take a stand
In order to show that I am not the enemy, I am taking a public stand right here and now on a number of topics.
Women deserve equality. Lesser pay than men, expected standards of behavior that differ from men, and all other rights should be equal. What’s more, the laws being made to control women and their bodies are abhorrent and have no place in this modern society. A woman has the right to choose what to do with HER body, no matter what that is. No man has any right to dictate that. Period.
Love is love. It does not matter if you love someone of the same gender, a mixed-gender, or whatever. You have the right to love, and nobody has the right to tell you otherwise. However you identify, be it gay, straight, bi, lesbian, transgendered, ambisexual, demisexual, queer, or WHATEVER — you are entitled to that identity. There is nothing wrong with you, and nobody should tell you otherwise.
The color of your skin DOES NOT MATTER. My niece is dark-skinned because her mother, my sister, is of Eastern European Jewish stock and her father’s family comes from Guyana. She does not deserve to be treated as lesser than any other person because of her gender or skin color.
Religion is a personal choice, and nobody should dictate what you choose to observe. You have every right to practice as you best see fit. No religion is more “right” than any other in the United States.
Whatever your ethnicity, unless you are a Native American, someone in your history was an immigrant. Immigrants are people and should be treated with respect. The concentration camps that we currently have in the Southwest need to be CLOSED DOWN NOW.
This is all unacceptable and needs to be addressed.
Be an active ally, not an enemy
To my fellow contemporaries, white cis-gendered middle-aged straight males, I implore you — be an active ally. Speak up, take action, and don’t be a passive observer to history. Passive observers paved the way for the rise of the Nazis and other evils in history, and the truth is we may be going that way RIGHT NOW.
It is in the best interests of everyone that we become active and stand-up against the bullies currently thinking themselves empowered. The white-supremacists, the neo-Nazis, the alt-right, and the ultra-conservatives have a lot of money, but only as much power as you and I cede to them.
Be an active ally. Don’t be passive, because then you really DO become the enemy. Harsh? Good, it’s time to be harsh. Being passive allowed the rise of the Nazis, and if you do not think the USA could go there, PAY ATTENTION because we already are.
I know I am imperfect, and that I still have a lot to learn. But I am not the enemy. If you are one of my contemporaries, take a stand so that you are not an enemy, either. This is the only way we can take back this country for reasonable, kind, caring people of ALL types.