Whenever I return from any conference or workshop or big, social-justice-y event I sometimes forget that everyone else in the world wasn’t doing the same thing at the same time. I will hear somebody say something to me or about an issue and I’ll find myself thinking, “what? how can you say that? what did we just spend the last 2 hours/weekend/4 days/week talking about??”
Doing social justice is putting yourself in the position of the educator, at all times. I was talking to a friend about it. There is no longer the ability to just read a book for pleasure – you read a book and you find all the xenophobic, homophobic, hegemonic language. You can ignore it for awhile, but it is hard. After awhile you have given up on most fiction.
Same for conversations. You want to talk to people about things but find it hard to not correct everything they say, not to use jargon and explain why every one of their statements has been, in some way, offensive. YOU try to explain why what they SAID is a problem, and all they hear is you saying that THEY are the problem. And then nothing gets communicated. So when you aren’t in the mood to educate about something? You find yourself isolating yourself to the groups that you know hold the same views that you do.
And so it goes.
I got back from Arizona, told a few folks who didn’t know where I had been about what I had been doing in Arizona and even the people who are against the bill were using phrases like “illegals” and just saying things that were racist in their word choice and delivery. And I’m sitting there thinking, “No! No person is illegal you xenophobic jerk!”
Yes, my internal dialogue calls people xenophobic jerks.
The place of Constant, Unrelenting, Exhausting, and at times completely Useless education is hard. It bugs me sometimes. But I love it, too. If I didn’t I wouldn’t continuously place myself in situations that require it.
I go to things to learn. I love learning. I love meeting people. I love teaching. I love talking to people. I just wish that, sometimes, people “got” it more than they do.
I am doing a sermon on Standing on the Side of Love in Phoenix. In planning this it has been suggested that I incorporate some of our local immigration stuff. And it makes me want to scream, “no!” Maine is not insular. We do not need to bring it back home in order for people to “get” it or want to be involved. I specifically don’t want to MENTION Maine in the service. This is not about me, this is not about you, this is not about Maine. This is not even about Arizona, or the US. This is about treating every human with inherent worth and dignity. Case closed, issue resolved.