Let’s All Cop to Something Unpleasant,

I think it is no secret to the more informed us that the words of Hamlet’s mother have never been more true. “Methinks they do protest too much.”

The quicker any one is to defend why they are not sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic or etc. is most blatantly trying to cover their inner bigot, which they have most likely already shown in one way or another.  This is an issue that transcends race, class, and political party.  What I mean by that is we are all guilty one way or another of a near sighted prejudice in our outlook and actions.  What I mean in turn by that is it does not matter who you are, you cannot grow up in a racist patriarchal society or a sexually oppressed society and not come out effected by it in your outlook one way or another. We are all racist, sexist, classist, genderist, or homophobic to some degree, and I do mean every, single, one of us. 

 Now I do not think it is in anyway all to the same degree.  It is impossible to equate the pain of the most oppressed individuals to that of the more privileged.  I in fact think it is the duty of the more privleged, especially my fellow straight white boys, to cop to our internalized prejudices, and there are alot of them.  Due to the expansive  nature of white male privelege we are definitly the ones with the most internalized prejudices, be them mysoginy, racism or bigotry of any kind.  However I do also think these prejudices have been internalized in all other races and in women as well, but I think it is to a lesser degree since society is only currently being restructured to account for them. I also think it is internalized in different ways, and in what ways I cannot vouch for since I do not have that realm of experience. All I can say is I have seen internalized prejudices everywhere, in my non white friends, in the lgbt community, in my feminist mother sister and grandmother, but especially in myself and that is what I acknowledge and wish to reconicle with the most.

I also want to make something else clear, I do not do or say any of this because of guilt. I nor anyone else should apologize for being born into their circumstance, privelege or not. However those of us who do have privelege, do not feel guilty, feel frustrated and then utlize that frustration to take action and listen to those who are oppressed under your privilege on how to help. I stand that white guilt is a wasted emotion in the fight for social justice because social guilt is a selfish act. This is not about your guilt as a white person, it is about the pain of those who lack your privilege, never for get that.  Guilt is not empathy, empathy is feeling the pain of others, guilt is making their pain about your own.

So in the spirit of what I have just said, let me just say my name is James, I consider myself proggressive, but because I am still a byproduct of my time and place in history I must confess that despite all my best efforts I am to some degree racist, sexist, classist, and probably trans or homophobic in ways I do not realize. However I do not want to be any of those things, and I know I will not always say or do things 100% on the right side of history, but I will do my best to listen to the poor, the non white, lgbtqa, and to women. I will not always do it right, but I will always do my best.

Published by James J Jackson

I'm a poet from California.

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