guest post: helping others isn’t self-sabotage

Okay, look. I agree that we’re all allowed to have our own personal views of the world and act on them to some degree. What I don’t agree with is acting on personal views that imply ‘You are less than me.’ I especially take issue with this when the choices and lifestyles of the ‘less than’ have literally no negative impact on the ‘more than’ and the choices and lifestyles of the ‘more than’ negatively impact the ‘less than.’

You’re Black, Indigenous, or a Person of Color (BIPOC)? Cool. Drive your car wherever you want (because we all have places to go), go for a jog wherever you choose (it’s super hot right now, so good on you), have a chance at whatever future you desire, no matter how different from me you look (because being in charge of your own destiny shouldn’t be a luxury).

You’re LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual or Other)? Cool. Get married (or don’t, your choice), have kids (or don’t, because being kidless is also awesome), have access to the same civil protections I have, regardless of how you identify (because it’s your, and my BIPOC neighbors’ right as a human living in this country).

You live in rural America? Cool. Build a tight community (I remember, they’re closer there), breathe a little easier (because you are less directly impacted by COVID and pollution), see the stars every night (because they’re beautiful, and everyone deserves to experience nature’s beauty).

None of these groups make my life worse, and I’m pretty sure they don’t impact my fellow cis, straight, white citizens’ rights either. At the very least, people who live/feel/look differently from me make my life more worthwhile, diverse, informed, and beautiful. Why then, should I (or anyone) make their lives worse or fight so hard to keep them (or anyone) from getting the same rights to which I’m (we’re all) entitled?

Nobody’s forcing you to kneel. Showing dissent (our right as Americans) is just as patriotic as covering your heart with your hand. Kneeling is a non-violent statement declaring that the the way our country is headed right now is (to put it lightly) not advantageous (and often oppressive) to a huge contingent of our population, and that’s just not what we feel driven to stand for. If raising our voices (or kneeling in silence) to say we desire change isn’t patriotic, considering why (some, but definitely not all of our population’s) European ancestors came to this country, what is?

Nobody’s forcing you to engage in a casual or long term relationship with someone to which you’re not attracted (usually, but when you’re forced it’s a crime, and I really hope we can all agree on that). So how is someone being attracted to you or not, regardless of their sexual orientation any different from someone of your same orientation being attracted to you or not?

Nobody’s forcing you to give up your home. Why, then, would you not be outraged that city and state leadership intentionally cuts off specific communities (by building freeways, redistricting, and other barriers) and thereby, budgetary and school district lines, can be drawn around communities to prevent them from thriving? This happened and continues to happen to BIPOC communities across the country, just because they look and believe differently from other parts of the city. If this happened to your community for decades because you looked or believed differently from the others in your city would you stay silent?

Why not support everyone else in the same way you support people ‘like’ you? It’s pretty great having the biggest advantage (white privilege), right? Let’s actively share it with our neighbors who haven’t historically had that luxury by dismantling systemic racism.

-Jeanni Kinden, 7/6/20

I met Jeanni Kinden about four years ago. Unlike me, she’s short. Like me, she’s originally from Montana. Jeanni currently resides in Minneapolis. Jeanni is hilarious and has the cutest dog. She’s a Senior Engineer and bonkers-good with spreadsheets.

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