The last year I have really studied a variety of topics. I have read a numerous amount of articles and books on allyship and what it means. I have read – harshly – on the topics of white supremacy and how, I, myself, may be apart of that terrible culture created in the United States. A harsh reality that many white people [if not all] are apart of without even realization.
To say it lightly, I have had many harsh reflective moments with myself and the areas that may apply of my voice vs my silence.
The United States is in such a scary position at the moment. With the BLM movement, RBG passing away, and the election around the corner… just wow. The constant anxiety that is fully alive in my life feels a lot to bear. I decided to create a list of different points to help myself really digest what is going on here.
Photographing during a time of division.
All artists are aware of artist biasness. No eye is innocent, so no camera is innocent. I try my best to create images without bias. I have had several instances where my clientele does not represent my brand, my thoughts or my beliefs, but make a goal to make sure I am representing them because at the end of the day they are the ones who will reflect on who they were and what their day entailed, not me. If they were to change their ideas throughout life, great, if not, also great. It’s their story and I have an obligation to represent them as they are seen.
For instance, I’m in no way, shape or form a supporter of Trump. I have had several wedding parties that obviously do. From flags to socks being a part of their day. I know I have to document this stuff whether I want to or not, because it’s a part of their day, their story, their life.
I am supposed to bring joy and documentation to the day, but wow, doing this during a very divided time has its challenges.
All Lives Matter
We all know this line triggers me. And there are a few reasons why.
Typically when the people that say “but all lives matter,” they typically will also will admit that “blue lives matter.” But when the words are “black lives matter” it is all of a sudden where they draw the line. So we can really say that it isn’t that ‘lives matter,’ that is triggering to them, but that ‘black lives’ is the subject of the statement. We know that a ‘blue life’ is a choice, and in some cases, a very selfless choice, as some people DO in fact sign up knowing that it could one day, cost them their life.I know several ‘good cops,’ with good intentions. I grew up with my best friend’s dad being a state trooper who really was genuine. But at the end of the day, if the person is black or white, or a POC, they can take off that uniform but cannot take off the color of their skin.
I have seen many videos made by black officers who talk about the difference in how they are treated with and without the uniform, and its devastating. The idea that the moment they wear a hoody they are treated differently by officers or the public is even more devastating. You cannot take off the color of your skin, and that is the main point of BLM. Racism is well alive in this country – and those who refuse to confront that are doing so to keep themself protected from their privilege and confronting a really harsh reality in our country, which is incredibly hard to swallow.
Even with Breonna Taylor, people [white people] are confused by why protests are still occurring when the family was given over 12 million dollars, but that’s exactly the point. Justice wasn’t served. All they had to do was arrest the officers. But instead, from taxpayers dollars, a settlement was given and a life was priced out, and the system will continue to be a problem, because it teaches bad officers that the state will bail them out of wrong doing – it is a precedent being set. Her life meant more then this – and it is sincerely devastating.
The wild conspiracy theories created about BLM and the organization, which are created by faceless writers in links that are given a megaphone online are ridiculous. Leave it up to white people to make a black equality movement about something bigger than life because they aren’t the center of the discussion. With this I mean, child trafficking, pizza gate, all of this nonsense. Obviously all not true. But even if someone didn’t want to stand for the organization, they could still stand for the lives. When people say black lives matter, they are not saying BLACK LIVES MATTER FOUNDATION, they are simply saying, black people deserve to not be killed in the streets by police for holding a hair pick, a cell phone, or a childs toy. They should not be gunned down for the fear of the idea they have a hypothetical gun, while white men who actually hold guns get respect, water, and a small sentence in jail. They are not saying that all lives don’t matter, they are saying theirs do- because theirs are unproportionally being killed – so we must change that and the system. This is why the whataboutism argument of ‘black and black’ crime is also just a negated topic, because it’s not even an argument, that’s not what the movement is remotely even about. And no one has ever said “white on white’ crime in a discussion of injustice anywhere… although we know this happens too.
In regards to even art. Separating art from artist is an interesting concept. It’s one I talk to my students about a lot. Even during weddings when there is a crowd that I know is a crowd that vents about the “riots, and protests, and movements” they still dance to black music. If they are against gay people and gay marriage, they still dance to artists that are openly gay or opening gay and black. But when it comes to standing for the lives of that culture or lifestyle, they won’t. However, they will pray, they will say they are Christian, they will say they stand for love and kindness and empathy, but will pick and choose how that applies. Which leads me to my next talking [typing] concept.
Standing with Trump; as a Christian.
This part is personal to me because I grew up super religious. I went to camp every year. I felt close to God. I grew up in a Church that told me that when I prayed for forgiveness I had to mean it, because going through the motions will still lead me to hell. I grew up in a cult, but honestly the way I learned about God wasn’t an all-forgiving God, it was a God that knew when you were lying and not genuine. You had to work hard for his love and his forgiveness. You had to treat all people the same. You had to understand that your worst enemy was deserving of your love, regardless of their mistakes.
I am no longer religious or Christian, but those original teachings remain within me.
The thing I cannot understand are Christians who stand with Trump. A man who has 25 sexual allegations against him [some prior to his presidency], has been divorced 3 times, has slept with a porn star and probably many others, and has most likely paid for abortions for other women. A man who takes a photo with the bible, rather than reading it or simply even stating a favorite bible verse during an interview. I even have one, 1 John 2:15-17 and I am not religious anymore. A man who has commented poorly on women’s bodies, judging them for their appearance rather than their knowledge. A man who instead of discussing his own platform, turns to hate, name-calling and bashing to win his argument.
Most importantly, those who have just become ‘aware’ about sex trafficking and child trafficking, yet ignore the fact that Trump has said many creepy things, as well as has funded teen and child beauty pageants, has me baffled. Another baffling thing for me are how these same people can call out biden for one alleged allegation which actually did have many ‘iffy’ points to it [and if it is true, also a terrible thing, do not read into this too much i also do not like Biden], but ignore Trump’s t w e n t y f i v e allegations seems quite odd. If you want to say Biden is creepy but ignore this major fact? Seems definitely hypocritical. You must own all of it if you want to own one.
Trump is a failed businessman who went bankrupt in many areas. He is always self interested. He doesn’t care about the poor, he doesn’t care about minorities, he doesn’t care about us, and quite honestly I dont know how the lower classes find him relatable besides hating the same groups of people. Which is why he is always self invested in attacks instead of focusing on what the country needs. I hate to tell the Christians, but he isn’t a man of faith, and if you read the bible, false prophecies and idolization is wrong in the bible… and actually the book of Revelations warns about that same thing.
Relating Hypocrisy to Symbolism
Language is incredibly crucial during the era of social media. To call COVID a ‘chinese virus,’ or to call countries ‘shitholes,’ makes it acceptable to show the public that ‘that’s okay’… when it’s not. It sets a precedent for the general public to be racist, to make WIDE generalizations, and then allows the belief that there are no consequences in these hateful actions. That’s not a Christian. That’s not even close to what the Bible says, but as people pick and choose this, they also pick and choose what to follow in the constitution as well.
By the statement above I mean this; [several things]
Our system in the United States is broken. It serves some and abandons most.
It is rooted in white supremacy… it is rooted in classism. The truth is the ‘American Dream’ is dead. I have several teacher friends who have had to pick up several other jobs, besides their CAREER due to not being able to pay pills. This isn’t because they are reckless with their money, but underpaid and exhausted. It is why if i didn’t work 2 or 3 jobs beyond my own job, I would have to watch my dollars if I wasn’t married. Having two [technically 4 or 5] incomes allows us to spend money on new things, upgrade old furniture, and live a little more carelessly than if we were each alone, yet helps we don’t have kids because if that were the case we wouldn’t be able to do much spending. Me being OCD kind of helps this situation, so although I am a ‘hard worker,’ I am mostly an obsessed worker because without constantly working, I probably wouldn’t be alive, to be honest [this is not to be glorified].
The people that will vent and rage about riots or protests, who have never felt a day of oppression in their entire existence, will also replace an American flag with a Trump flag… which is actually violating flag code, obviously this is not ALL of people, i have met many conservatives against this too, so I don’t want to generalize completely. But these same people will say kneeling for the National Anthem is disrespectful. However, this country was founded on protesting. Protesting to break away from England. Protesting for women’s rights. Protesting for Civil Rights. All of these ‘disturbances’ led to change. Without disruption, no one would make a move to resolve it. Without disruption, nothing would change. But ignoring that and hyperfocusing on why building walls are more important that human lives? Wild. [This was also proved in Breonna’s case, sadly].
But. the truth is, that the media hyper-focuses on the riots, when the majority of protests are very peaceful and riots are condemned for the reason that they don’t want the media to focus on the wrong things. However I am pretty impartial to the riots, I think if I was oppressed for centuries, and my brothers and sisters had constantly been killed in their sleep, in the streets, or minding their own business, I too would be completely filled with anger. I guess i can’t speak on if i stand with it or if I didn’t because I cannot, and will never, be able to grasp their grief.
Replacing Ruth Ginsberg with a Conservative Judge
A broken system. There are several outdated things in the country – let me start with this first. And I CAN agree with some of the things Trump has said, but I also will expand on others that republicans won’t agree with because it doesn’t fit their narrative.
- The idea that someone who is born in this country is a citizen should be changed. Yup, I agree with that. Back when the constitution was written it took a fricken boat, days of travel, and a serious amount of will power to get here. They didn’t have planes, they didn’t have fast boats, it was a journey. When that was written, it was worth becoming a citizen because it meant you literally fought and probably went through some harsh trials to get here. Today you can fly to the US… have a baby, and leave with a citizen child. That should be updated absolutely.
- [Here is where they will draw the line, haha] The electoral college is outdated and should be abolished. The idea that the person who wins the popular vote, loses to the least popular president because some rural states with lower population but higher electoral college votes can decide America’s fate? Wild. The idea that the least popular party and the majority of American’s voices are overridden because of an old system? Even more wild. The idea that the least popular president arguably in this history of the United States gets to appoint more judges than anyone else in history? Unheard of. Even if the argument is it equals the cities votes and population so the urban cities don’t speak for the country, still overlooks the fact that the ‘urban population’ are still human lives… and it’s still a vote, a voice. I grew up in the country and moved to the city, I have both experiences, but those experiences have led me to grow and adapt new outlooks.
- Life terms on the supreme court. Outdated. When this was written people died at 40-50. Today in America, people die at 80-90 – this was never the intention of the law. So when people discuss either limiting the terms or adding justices to the panel, this is why. Judges are supposed to be equal, non leaning, non-partisan affiliated, but as we know this just isn’t true. People have their biases. When you appoint intentionally right or left leaning people, we are going to have bias outcomes in this country. As we know, this is the intention currently. To mess up our country and set us back for an entire generation. If we are going to have 5 conservative, and proud of it, judges, we also should have 5 liberal judges. And adding judges isn’t a new thing, it also happened in the 60s. [Also territories is so outdated and Puerto Rico either needs to be a part of us or it’s own country, and if people want them to be a part of the US they should be a part of our elections]
There are many other outdated issues, like 2a which was made for muskets, but most liberals, including myself, don’t want to ban guns, we would however like to see the background checks and processes take just a tad bit longer, and would like domestic abusers and people obligated to hurt others, not to have them – simple really.
Now to the initial point –
In 2015/2016 Lindsey Graham and Mitch McConnell stated they wouldn’t let Obama, who had a year left in his term, appoint a judge. Stating that the next president who the people chose should be able to do it. In 2016 another senator said behind closed doors that if Clinton would have won the election he would have promised to block her appointed judge for the full 4 years. So clearly it wasn’t just about race, but is about party. The idea of checks and balances really worries these white men. So now we fast forward to today, where we have a month left in Trumps first term, yet they want to push through a conservative judge – which will set us back not only in equality of human rights, but also, and arguably more importantly, the environment.
But I won’t even dive into the topic of how a president who lost the popular vote, who is impeached is appointing a new judge before the election in a month…
As a young white women, they way I vote isn’t for me. I haven’t felt oppression. I haven’t felt many instances of injustice from our system. I have never been poor… only in college which apparently is a common thing, even though I did always have 3 [or 4] jobs. But overall I could afford food, I had support of my family and I made it out okay. I don’t vote for me. I think that is a big difference in the way people vote in this country. “Does this work for me?” Those who vote for parties or people who are tied in big corporations and benefit from them, but do so because they don’t feel the backlash from it… well they definitely aren’t thinking about the greater majority of the country. Big monopolies was something that was frowned upon. Amazon not paying taxes should be frowned upon. People making over a trillion dollars, should be frowned upon. They should contribute. They alone could end student debt, which is a wild concept to dwell on. What do you do with all of that money? You can donate, but then you get to write that donation off for taxes. It’s a vicious cycle.
i guess my empathy keeps me grounded, but keeps me depressed. Physically giving all I have to others is sometimes super depressing because I run out of ideas of how to help. This election I’ve volunteered to work the polls from 6 am to 8 pm. A long ass day. But when people are spreading lies that democrats and liberals are not true Americans, I can ask them how they have volunteered to help our country? Because I do love America, but I question it’s future. I question it’s leadership. I question it’s system in place because it doesn’t work for everyone, it only works for some. A patriot questions, a loyalist or nationalist just accepts and praises. if we want this hate to stop… if we want rioting to stop.. if we want peace, we have to create a system that provides justice and provides equal opportunity for all to flourish.
Extremely, well written. Smart and insightful.