Listen up…. We’ve got Kanye, Kyrie, Dave Chappelle, and Candance Cameron Bure making statements that are making waves, and a lot of folks are weighing in on what they are saying.
Dear Blacks, Jews, and Gays, we are not in a competition for oppression. Although the world will have us behave and react as if we are, we are not. We have all been and will continue to be oppressed at different times, in different ways, and with different outcomes and experiences.
Historically, we have been beaten, killed, held back, hated, discriminated against, misunderstood, and treated as different. We have been joked about, made fun of, and parodied in an effort to bring awareness to the injustices, only to drive a wedge between us. What if we were to use our common denominator of oppression as the ties that bring us together?
Hear me out…
The way I see it, and to be clear, HOW I SEE IT, the roots of our oppression have a shared, common denominator. That common denominator operates under the guise of love while sowing seeds of hate and us vs. them. These people know, without a shadow of a doubt, who god is, what god wants, and what pleases and displeases god and they are personally responsible for making sure that you know it too and obey it all costs.
My friends, the common denominator of hate and oppression is the ‘white, evangelical Christian.’ Our colonizers. Our settlers. Our righteous and right among us. The only ones whose family values really matter. We have all been affected by them. Some of us feel more hurt and affected than others. Some of us can walk amongst them and not be detected. Some of us cannot due to our outward appearance.
But make no mistake, they do not look favorably on any one of us. We are not and will never be seen as equal to them. As we each use our individual voices to shine a light on our oppression, let us not attempt to ‘one-up’ each other.
Being oppressed hurts. We are all hurting. My pain is not worse than yours. Your pain is not worse than mine. It’s time for us to have compassion for each other. Perhaps even get curious about our different experiences of oppression. We see the world differently through our unique lens of oppression. It’s not right or wrong, it’s different. Be careful not to let our different vantage points create an oppression competition.
Instead, I ask you, how can we tie ourselves together to build an army against oppression? How can we become joint venture partners against our shared oppressors? What can we do to understand and respect our different experiences? I don’t know about you, but I see an opportunity for us to create a win/win if we can get out of the ‘my oppression is worse than yours’ mindset. I don’t have the solution, but I do know that it starts with listening. Listening to understand. Asking questions to deepen understanding.
If we can do that, it’s a start to building bridges instead of burning them.