The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” ― Edmund Burke
I’ve kind of abandoned the blog. I started a new job and then started another new job and those roles have been consuming me in wonderful ways.
Anyway, I was just listening to an episode of NPR’s Embedded podcast, titled, Trump Stories: The Apprentice.
I will let you listen to the show if you want to learn how NBC shaped a molded a persona that made what we have today possible. It’s both fascinating and horrifying.
What struck me and why I dusted this platform off was when a producer on the show was asked why he did not confront Trump when he made explicitly racist comments. Comments reportedly so vile they made this producer sick to his stomach and required “soul searching” He stated that he did not say anything because it was not his place.
I disagree. He could of done something. He could have done anything to disrupt these conversations.
This is what this post is about. The very least you can do to stop bad from happening.
It is my place to call out cruelty as it happens. It is my place to intervene. It is my place to protect vulnerable people.
It is my place and it is your place, too.
I cannot think of one reason why this post would be partisan, political, or controversial. If you see someone saying something hurtful to another person or worse, doing something hurtful, the very least you can do is redirect the conversation or the actions. Sheesh, you can scream “spider” and jump up and down to stop the interaction. Or, say fake an injury. Just do something to stop what’s happening.
I believe there is so much more you and I can do in those moments but I understand the fear of “getting involved” I don’t agree with the fear. I think we (this means you, too) are far more brave than we realize. I believe we are strong enough to say “this is not okay” but at the very least make it stop in that moment.
We owe each other safety. We owe each other so much more. We owe each other contentment.
It is your place.
Now, for my social justice friends that might be upset about me even suggesting that someone scream spider or fake an injury to redirect hate. Listen, I wholeheartedly agree with you. We are capable of more and better. But, I work with real people that do not know what you know. They just don’t. We need to give people tools without shaming their unknowingness and we are not doing a great job at this.
I literally had to google cisgender a few years ago because I did not know what it meant and I wanted to know as soon as possible. I went to a social justice talk last night and had a list of concepts to ask people about when I left. We are all learning.
I believe most people want to be good people. I believe that most people want to stop bad things from happening. I believe that most people don’t know what to do and they don’t want to lose their jobs or face retaliation. I believe this because I know these people. It’s my job to educate these people. They want to learn.
If you have the capability of pulling someone aside after the event and saying “Hey, that was not okay for ______”
Let’s help them. But while we do that, scream “spider” pretend to be in pain. Just make the bad stop until we can give you more tools and create a safe space where you won’t lose your job for doing the right thing. It is my job to jump in front of you in any possible way that I can to protect you.
There is a precedent for this behavior. Social justice warriors have a long history of using coded language to stay safe.
(I wrote this primarily on my phone. The following examples are from reputable internet sources that I can’t figure out how to cite)
United States Slavery
Supporters of the Underground Railroad used words railroad conductors employed every day to create their own code as secret language in order to help slaves escape. Railroad language was chosen because the railroad was an emerging form of transportation and its communication language was not widespread. Code words would be used in letters to “agents” so that if they were intercepted they could not be caught. Underground Railroad code was also used in songs sung by slaves to communicate among each other without their masters being aware.
Parents, children, and rescuers faced daunting challenges once the decision was made to go into hiding. Some children could pass as non-Jews and live openly. Those who could not had to live clandestinely, often in attics or cellars. Children posing as Christians had to carefully conceal their Jewish identity from inquisitive neighbors, classmates, informers, blackmailers, and the police. Even a momentary lapse in language or behavior could expose the child, and the rescuer, to danger.