When I think about the discrimination prevalent in our society… let me stop there. How blessed am I that I have to THINK about discrimination? How blessed am I that it isn’t something I ALWAYS have on my mind? How blessed am I to wake each day, knowing that there’s nothing about my demographic that will warrant an ignorant reaction from other human beings in my community?
As a straight, white, Christian male, my experience with “discrimination” is almost nonexistent.
Because I’m straight:
Full disclosure: I know what it’s like to be bullied for being “gay.” As a child, I often had to correct the bullies who made fun of my sexual orientation, because they didn’t think I could “act the way I did” and still be straight. I had to switch schools once because being the “fag,” and getting my bike redecorated with my yearbook photo and cartoon penises, wasn’t something I could handle. But I escaped that and I came out the other side. Because I knew they were wrong. I knew I was straight.
Some people aren’t so lucky. Some people- who are truly dealing with everything that comes with being gay- get all of that and much more. Some lose their family, their friends, their home, their life. Some people are killed just because they aren’t straight. Some take their own lives. Because I’m straight, I don’t know discrimination.
Because I’m white:
My race has never been a deciding factor as to wether or not I would get a job. No one has ever glanced at me and wondered out loud if I’m “one of those terrorists.” I don’t get racist slurs yelled to me on the street, and I’ve never had to wonder if the President-elect would try to ship me off.
People often debate if racism exists, in a world where it’s truly prevalent in every possible way. Seeing the viral videos, or seeing the news, can be enough to make me want to tear off my skin and give it to someone else, in hopes that they can live one day without the hatred that comes from those who still see them in screaming color. Because I’m white, I don’t know discrimination.
Because I’m a Christian:
Although certain Christian practices and beliefs have been in the hot seat lately, I’m not shoved in the corner. I don’t wake up each morning afraid that I will be killed for what I believe. I don’t have to worry if I’ll get extra attention in an airport because of my mother/sister/wife’s Hijab.
In fact, I don’t have to worry that wearing any garment to express my faith will be met with hateful screams. I don’t have to hide what I believe, in fears that it will overshadow the fact that I’m a kind human being. Because I’m a Christian, I don’t know discrimination.
Because I’m a male:
I’ve never wondered if a co-worker is making more money than me because of the restroom they use. I’ve never worried that having a child will impact the way my employer views my worth. I’ve never been told to “get back in the kitchen.”
I don’t have to worry that the things I do to my body will be talked about in judgmental circles. I don’t have to pump myself up just to walk by a construction site, repeating a mantra to keep myself calm. Because I’m a male, I don’t know discrimination.
Because I’m all of these things:
I’ve never had to fight for the rights that are extended to me. But if I had, no one would question it. I’ve never had to earn my status in the world. I just get to be me. I’ve never had to march with those like me, or start a peaceful protest. I’ve never had to be completely terrified that my life would change forever as the result of a presidential election.
You see, I don’t KNOW discrimination. But I SEE it. And I FEEL it. And I HATE it.
I don’t HAVE to be afraid of the new “Trump” world order. It doesn’t write me hate mail or force me to hide away. It doesn’t make me wonder where I’ll live next month. But I SEE fear. And I FEEL fear. And I HATE fear.
As an American; as a straight, white, Christian male; as a human being; I know there is a better way. I SEE it. And I FEEL it. And I HATE that it’s not the norm. But, it will always continue to be my norm.
Since I’m straight, I’ll be loving, because even one night club is too many. Since I’m white, I’ll be louder, because apparently Martin Luther King Jr. wasn’t loud enough for you. Since I’m a Christian, I’ll be like Christ, because He doesn’t require us to all be the same. Since I’m a male, I’ll be like my mother, because she taught me how a woman deserves to be treated.
If you can make a similar promise, maybe I’ll be writing a different kind of post next year.
*This post is not a direct letter to President-elect Trump, or his supporters, but is for those who support the idea of “Making America Great Again” by way of hate and discrimination. Also, the MLK Jr. line was not a hit at his wonderful achievements, merely a sarcastic comment to question how racism is still even a thing.*