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Let’s not “Just Be Friends”

A quick hello to my readers, and a thank you for being so patient with me as my family struggles through the worst year of our lives. I am working on slowly getting back to work here at SOAM.

Joe Biden has been elected the new president of the United States!

I hadn’t realized exactly how much the election (and the Trump presidency) had been affecting me until Saturday, which I spent crying with relief. Since then, each day has felt like I am floating. My god, it’s like the weight has been lifted (that’s a Killers lyric and I am absolutely making a Killers reference, you’re welcome).

But it’s vitally important that we not become complacent in our relief because there is much work to be done. This pandemic has shown us the weaknesses in our society that existed even before Trump – lack of access to medical care, predatory landlords, the fact that the 1% really does not give a shit about their workers, only their capital gains. We’ve also seen how deeply racism runs in this nation – this isn’t new, it’s merely awoken. We were broken before Trump and now we have a chance to fix things for now and the future and we cannot fuck this up. Or we will be back here in four more years.

It will be a lot of work.

And that work may feel uncomfortable to some of you at first because we are taught from an early age that we should work to create peace with our enemies. And that isn’t untrue; it is a noble ideal. And it works if both parties are willing to examine themselves and move forward. But that is not the reality most of the time.

It’s hard to examine ourselves. BTDT.

I’ve seen a lot of liberal folx calling for peace and love right now. I’m fully down with that!

But I want to be very clear that peace and love are not merely passive things. Peace and love don’t mean just sitting back and smiling because everything is okay. Peace and love are void if there isn’t a basis for peace and love holding them up.

Peace and love are fierce. Peace and love are the mama bear of the social justice movements. Peace and love are out there fighting for the peace and for the love of marginalized folx. I’m not Christian but I know that Jesus wasn’t out there just sitting around saying “love each other” – he was also flipping tables and hanging out with prostitutes. Love is for the ones who need it. Love fights for their peace. Love prioritizes those who are marginalized and protects them.

Love is here to comfort the afflicted. Love is here to afflict the comfortable, to help them grow and change. If they aren’t willing to do that work, they aren’t a part of the game. If they are unwilling to stop abusing, they don’t get protected. I’m here to include everyone except the excluders.

Or, in not so many words:

Now it’s time to do the dirty work. It’s time for education on racial, gender, sexuality, class, and other social issues. It’s time to shame those who refuse to move past our dark history and leave them behind in their hatred. They are always more than welcome to rejoin us when they are ready.

But here’s the thing that your family and friends who are queer, BIPOC, Disabled, and/or experiencing poverty want you to know:

as long as you are trying to “make the peace” without doing any of the work below the surface, you are not only not making peace, but you are actively upholding all these oppressive systems

demanding that marginalized folx “just be friends” is silencing

silence in the face of oppression is the side of the oppressor

if nobody calls out the racism (homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, misogyny, etc) the racism thinks it gets to say and we get another Trump in four years

allies call out racism even if it’s “ugly” or “uncomfortable”

Don’t silence marginalized communities. Just. Don’t.

Here are some resources you can donate to if you are looking for ways to help keep the momentum from the election and turn it into real social justice activism to create a better world now. (Many of these are local to San Diego, but some have national affiliates.)

San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium
San Diego Food Bank
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
San Diego LGBT Community Center
Border Angels
Planned Parenthood
Indigenous New Hampshire -thanks to reader Rikki who wanted to add that BIPOC are the folx who made this election happen and the indigenous of Arizona are credited with flipping their state. If you’d like to learn more or donate to the people whose land you are living on, you can find which nations once flourished where you live here.

Just a quick note before I close here because I know there are some of you readers out there saying “I’m not here for politics! Get back to talking about body image!”

Body image is inherently a feminist issue.

Feminist issues are inherently political.

Every single aspect of your life, from the roads you drive on, to the access to medical care you may or may not have are decided by politics.

Identities cannot be separated from each other: because some women are Black, or disabled, or queer – feminism must also stand for those movements or else it is only for white women (and I am not here for that).

Finally, the world has become so unstable and frankly outright dangerous, that body image may need to be set aside a little bit while we focus on, say, eliminating fascism from US government. I’ll never stop talking about body image and how important it is, or all the issues associated with it, but if people are dying body image doesn’t mean much, so let’s triage the issues and get folx safe before we drop these other pressing issues.

in Activism, My Own Ramblings, News
2 comments… add one
  • Jacquelyn Tuesday, November 10, 2020, 2:22 pm

    Beautifully said. Thank you. I’ve always considered myself an advocate, but this year has opened my eyes to the sheer immensity of the issue. I have found myself speaking out more and as a result have lost friends and even a couple family members. I still have a ways to go, but I think I’m on the right path. Finding your page has helped give me ideas as well as encouragement and solidarity. I really appreciate it and you. Keep fighting the good fight! OOO

  • Tara Tuesday, November 10, 2020, 9:07 pm

    YEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!

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