I've always had a bit of an activist streak in me. I remember as a kid one year at Thanksgiving dinner, while going around sharing what we were thankful for, I shared I was thankful not to be a turkey. Everyone laughed, but really, I felt from a young age that it didn't seem right for our species to eat another living thing. (Which lead to me being a vegetarian for most of my life.)
But my empathy doesn't end with animals. I feel for anything/anyone that is being victimized. As a teen, I started making these feelings I had known. Once I became a vegetarian officially, I found it easier to start expressing myself. I started slowly, pointing out the problems I encountered. (My family, the usual targets just love it.) I call out any racist, homophobic, and (sometimes) sexist comments. (I find this happens especially with my dad, we argue over politics constantly!) In pointing out the problem, I hope to create a change, and enlighten others. To help my family "see the light". As they are my family though, it is safe to do so. They still have to love me. (They really do. And I love them.) It is a much harder thing to do with strangers.
But I digress. What I am getting at is that since taking more Sociology and Women's Studies courses in college, I have become even more vocal about the wrongs of this world. These classes inspire me to do whatever I can to help create change in the world, so I take whatever opportunity I am dealt.
Weather it be calling out family members, friends, or blogging about experiences I have. Like I am doing today.
The other night, my mom and I were discussing the new Glee premiere. (We are both avid fans of the show.) In discussing the show, my mom asked if I had seen her facebook lately. I hadn't, so she explained to me that one of her 'friends' had commented negatively on my mom's enthusiasm for the premiere. It really upset my mom that this 'friend' was so judgmental and dismissive of my mom because she is a fan of the show. I checked it out, and was appalled and this woman's narrow minded comments. So I told my mom how I felt, and let her know I just couldn't stand by and watch without saying anything. My mom has had 22 years of experience with me, so she gave her blessing, and assured me her and this woman weren't even really that good of friends, so I wouldn't be offending my mom in any way.
The following ensued. (I've blurred out names and photos other than mine in respect to privacy.)
After my last comment, I quickly added a challenge for the woman to explain what 'social agenda' of the shows it was she was referring to. (I just forgot to take a screen cap after I added that.) As you can see, she tried shifting the blame to me, rather than own up to her own discrimination.
Sadly, we'll never get to see what becomes of this. My mom deleted the conversation today after listening to the Glee soundtrack and getting even more upset at this woman's remarks, as she was recalling the glee movie and how they shared so many different stories of teens (of all varieties) finding acceptance through the show. (I just love my mom!) But I hope that by challenging this woman's discrimination, I helped her to maybe open up her mind a bit, to tolerate ideas that may differ from her own.
Like the point this video sets out to make, I am a firm believer that if you see prejudice happening, you should do something about it. It's hard. Im not denying it's a challenge, especially at first. But I can promise you it's so worth it. Because attitudes really can change. I've seen it.
Don't be afraid to act. Be afraid of standing by.