Sometimes it is better if I keep my mouth shut.
The world doesn’t always need to know what I think.
And frankly, most of the time I can glimpse only one piece of the complicated fabric we call life.
I have one, limited perspective to share.
So instead, here are a few of the voices that have been challenging me this week:
Bree Newsome’s statement re: taking down the flag in South Carolina.
from @NineDaves – the reminder that you can get married in the morning, and be fired before the end of the day in 32 states.
“While We Were” by Marilyn Thornton
— Susie Carmichael (@ms_allen5) June 28, 2015
Her remarks come a day after 35 members of Congress signed a letter that was sent to Secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson requesting the released of LGBTQ individuals from detention centers and placing them under alternative supervision pending their immigration cases. The letter cites the Bureau of Justice Statistics which found that while transgendered women make 1% of detainees, they account for 20% of sexual abuse assaults while under custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
– Wendy Carrillo, firstlook.org , writing about Jennicet Gutiérrez, the undocumented trans woman who interrupted President Obama’s remarks during LGBT Pride Month
There is this term: intersectionality.
It describes how systems of oppression and discrimination are intertwined. You can’t talk about LGBT rights without also recognizing how gender and race interact. It is a term lifted by Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989 that explores how “various biological, social and cultural categories such as gender, race, class, ability, sexual orientation, religion, caste, species and other axes of identity interact on multiple and often simultaneous levels, contributing to system injustice and social inequality.” (Wikipedia)
My life intersects with the struggles of others in some ways, but in many ways, I simply do not know or see the systems of injustice others face. I fully admit that I am limited in my knowledge of the sins we perpetuate against one another.
And while the world is full of injustices that need to be called out and named and repented of, these past ten days have brought multiple intersections into the public conversation in a big way.
I need other voices to call me out and help me understand a reality that is beyond myself.
I need to be quiet and listen.
I need to let voices that are not like mine speak.
I think that is part of being the Body of Christ.
Acknowledging I am just a foot.
Paying attention to what the hand and the ear have to teach me.
It must be exhausting to continuously be calling out to feet like me, “Hey! Pay attention to this, too!”
It is the reason we need specific and defined hashtags like #blacklivesmatter and #blacktranslivesmatter.
Because while it should be, it isn’t obvious and white cis-gendered folks like me assume far too much when we lump everything together and pretend it isn’t an intersecting, complicated mess.
Forgive me for too often putting my foot in my mouth.
Forgive me for perpetuating systemic oppression.
Forgive me for not understanding you.
Forgiveness requires repentance. A commitment to live differently.
And one way for me to begin is to not just listen to fingers and appendixes and hair when they are thrust into the spotlight or have to yell to get my attention, but to actively seek out those parts of this vast and diverse Body of Christ that are not like me… to honor them, to celebrate them, to support them.