I am so privileged. As a young Latina woman, growing up in the Bay Area has been easy. I have never dealt with oppression. My elders went through that for me. Despite adversity, racism, sexism and hate that was thrown their way, they stayed to create a more tolerant, more diverse place, for which I call home. I know this is far from everyone's reality. I acknowledge that this is only mine.
The Bay isn't an easy place and I see this on the streets of Oakland daily. I always wonder how this can exist here. People have so so much in the Bay Area, yet here are thousands living in tents, sleeping on the streets, digging through trash, and using drugs to survive. It is shameful and leads me to believe that parts of society have lost their connection with humanity. They are not my family, my problem, my friends, and so we can look away and go about. All I can think is how they were once a child and had dreams like you and I. Someone along the way may have hurt them, shown them hate, shown them how to take their pain away, and less often they were shown love and compassion. I do not expect the world to be fair, it is more than obvious that does not exist, but I do expect the privileged to try and make it better.
I am so ignorant. I watched Vice News, Charlottesville: Race and Terror and was horrified by the amount of hate that make up those individuals. It fills their body and being. I didn't know people still hated so deeply. I didn't know so many were still alive. Growing up here, my peers have come from around the world, our Gods different too. Culture has been my reality. I forget of this bubble that has protected me from the hate.
President Obama recently tweeted Nelson Mandela’s words:
It's so obvious, but so true. It is all taught. It is all this like-minded bullshit. Navigating to group-think because foreign is unknown, unpredictable. I see neither as negatives, but possibilities.
The day after Trump's election I met with a friend. I may have slightly lost my shit upon his election (like many others), but that night I truly could not see how our country could survive this. We had failed so badly and I wanted Washington to burn. Literally. I closed my eyes and saw scenes from Gone with the Wind. I didn't know it was possible to lose any more faith in this democracy and was angry towards anyone who could have supported him. Stupid.fucking.idiots. I said these things to my friend and he said something like, "After all of this, silence will be the most frightening to me. If the two sides stop talking, that means they're done. No more learning, no more persuading, no more compromises. Just group-think." That has stuck with me and displayed how I was ready to turn my back on people with differing values. So ready to shut them out of my life, delete them from social media and never show them attention again. How is that different from what these hate groups do to those they despise? They separate themselves, us and them, they keep their distance and make assumptions from afar because they’re too ignorant to know they do not hold the truth or know much about the other side. Communication is the only way to grasp who they are and move past hate.
I will never stop talking or wanting to know why. I welcome conversation, differing opinions, and the challenge of showing you why you're wrong. I am even more aroused when you can show me where I have gone astray. Never stop talking, never stop loving, give the benefit of the doubt. People around the world have every reason to be fucking angry and frightened as hell. These rallies are hell and they cannot exist. Come out of the shadows, come out from behind your computer screens, take off your glasses and show me your soul. Look into my eyes and I will show you mine. Keep the communication alive. Practice compassion with yourself and those who come your way. Stay ever curious. There is more good in this world <3