My name is Sam Norton. I am a straight white American Protestant man here to say a bunch of things I think you have been wanting to hear from someone like me for a long time. It will also come from a place of mutual respect which means it will be neither apologetic nor pandering.
I am thankful every other week (not day, because I am not a narcissistic maniac) for the privilege I was given by random chance/history of birth. I am blessed with the security and freedom that the rest of the world's population rarely, if ever, gets to see let alone experience. My SWAMP (straight white American Male Protestant) privilege also allows for a life of even temperament & choice of thought towards any given subject. I am gifted like no other to look at almost any event with a calm demeanor because statistically those events don't DIRECTLY effect me. Rarely am I ever directly tied to any one cause that puts me in a token position that fills me with obligation or guilt to follow behind one particular stance (ex: expectation of black men's opinion on police brutality). Most importantly more than any other group on the planet I am looked at as an individual. When another white man shares his opinion I (majority of the time) am not looked as an extension of his being. The uniqueness of my full body and mind is always respected as an entitled fact.
Privilege though is only party of the equation. I am also fully aware of the short comings I am ABLE to have because of that privilege. Mainly, my limited understanding behind the idea of being a true minority in a status quo system. It is a near impossibility for me to gain the true isolation of most minorities in a society where I am both the majority and ruling class. The existence in many cases of minorities is like being on turbulent seas in a row boat amongst cruise liners of people worried for there own safety in there ship cabins. And the most privileged part of all is that I could go my whole life without looking into this any further & barely be affected. However, for that lack of understanding has come SWAMPs own viewed stereotype that we are all racist, sexist, and/or homophobic. Now, I am against the perceived notion that any one group is any one way, I very much accept that I, personally, I am racist, sexist, and homophobic in my own learned way. Most rarely out of malice but most defiantly out of naivety & ignorance. The system that has been set up to disgustingly oppress everyone else has also shackled my ability to truly understand such pervasive troubles. And the day I decided that I no longer wanted that system to exist is the same day that system reared its gaze back onto me & finally saw my loved ones still thrashing around in it grotesque gnashing jaws.
Letter to all SWAMPs,
Now the truth is all of us SWAMPs need to accept of all this WITHOUT self loathing or apologizing. We need to simply accept it as a matter of unfortunate fact and circumstance. No one person choses to be who the are. Gay, black, straight or white it is just the lot that was given to you. HOWEVER our responsibility with our privilege is to fight for a world were all lots that are given are of equal length.
The first step to being a loving caring equal partner in humanity is simply accepting the fact that we are all human and nothing else should matter. The second step is to fight the status quo of inequality & oppression is by chasing the very illusive idea of fairness and equality. Then the third step, which is maybe the most important, is to live, work and behave amongst others equally. Which means to be polite and humble in moments of reverence and civility without sacrificing being apart of the dialog by expressing your own philosophies and life experiences.
In order for SWAMPs to fold themselves in as an equal part of the world we need to learn to be aware of our lack of knowledge & understanding that we have towards most of society. We as SWAMPs also need to get better at recognizing and admitting we are wrong. But the most important thing is to learn to behave equally to everyone you encounter. Our membership to the larger world does not mean to fall from or bow to it but to simply to listen and accept more of it. Understand that a Black Palestinian Muslim Lesbian (BPLM) is not an inherit enemy nor is she an saint on a pedestal but just another person, thats it. So you should not demean her cultural or destroy her emotional ties to the world she has lived in. Nor should you bow out just because you are in an uncomfortable conversations OR remain silent when you are accused of being the 'bad guy' without evidence. Treat HER like you would anyone else, and that is all it takes. She is not just a she. Or just a Muslim. Or just a lesbian. Or just black. She, like you, is the sum of all her parts which we call a human being.
Get well soon,
A Human Being.
Letter to humanity,
Learn to love each other even when you hate each other, because we all do both and deserve both. I hate you and I probably don't even know you but guess what? I also probably love you too. There are to many things that make you YOU for you not be special and unique (which is why I hate you). But there are also too many things that you like me which makes us, US (which is why I love you). One group. One planet. One love.
Love Hate you all,