I’m going to get a little preachy, and I feel okay about that. This is partially because today is the international day of the girl, and partially because it’s a thing I’ve been thinking about lately.
I love the word ‘ally’. I think it’s a thing everyone should aspire to be. And I think where some of us fall down is that in the selection of a cause, we unintentionally draw a line in the sand, saying THIS is my struggle. THIS is my cause and my reason. THIS is the change I want to see in the world.
This is a noble, and beautiful thing. I commend anyone who is willing to stand for something. But I can’t help but focus on the fact that we’re all in this together, too. Having a cause and a focus shouldn’t close you to other causes or communities.
It’s literally written all over my face. I am incapable of looking in the mirror and seeing anything other than the product of two worlds, two cultures that aren’t ‘supposed’ to get along, according to the prevailing historical narrative.
But I don’t think of my white father as only an ally to the struggles of my black mother and her family and community. When I look at my parents, and they things to which they dedicate their lives, I can’t call them an ally to just one singular cause.
I admire the way my parents, both of them, see themselves as allies to everyone. My father, for example, is the type of man who responded to increasing demonization of Islam in the media, by reading the Qu’ran cover to cover. He saw the narrative trend toward baseless hate, and he went straight to finding his own understanding without a second thought.
This is the kind of person I want to be. This is the kind of person I try to be.
So, today is the international day of the girl. I, as you likely know, am a boy. But today was a nice trigger for me, a reminder that I want to be the kind of person who applies his principles to every worthy fight, rather than just the ones that impact me. The kind of person who seeks to understand for myself, rather than just accept what I’m told. A person who looks at the history and the circumstance of what brings us to today, rather than trying to assign blame to victims, or ignore the societal and systemic issues that help create problems to begin with.
A little girl was shot this week, for speaking out about wanting to get an education. This is a cause that will measurably make the world a better place, anywhere it can be applied. So is your cause. Any effort made to make the world a better place for some, makes the world a better place for all. Her cause is your cause. Your cause is my cause.
What I’m trying to say is, never stop putting yourself in everyone else’s shoes. Never stop trying to understand not just the person or the complaint, but the circumstances around it as well. Never assume that there’s only one struggle you can make a difference in. Stand together.
I promise, we’re all in this together. Even the people who don’t realize it.@8 months ago
#who i want to be