Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Social Change

Last night I was in our student union building and I saw a group sitting in a circle reading and writing poems about equality and fairness in laws. The demographics of this group were as follows a man who is openly gay on our campus, a black student, two women who are also openly homosexual, and then an Asian student. The subjects of their poems was about equality and about feeling underrepresented and oppressed. They talked about how it feels to be underrepresented and how much harder they have to work at it. They then went on to criticize our forefathers for not figuring it out earlier.

 This is good. Spread awareness, but as I was listening to them I began to get irritated with them because I wanted to know how they thought that this help.

Awareness on CLU's campus is fairly high, we are a fairly supportive campus, and even if we aren't actively fighting for the rights of homosexuals we are indifferent. So what is the point of a forum of talking about your feelings?

Civil Rights movement, Women's Suffrage, even the revolutions going on in Egypt, all have one thing in common. Action. This is not a blog about my position on any of these issues nor about my political stance, just my thoughts on the actual movement.

What is the point? The types of people who will attend forums or will come to hear people speak on issues are the type of people who agree with what is being taught or spoken about. So in doing a presentation like this, your supporters will show up, but it wont be reaching the audience that they were hoping for. They arent going to be changing any minds, it was sounding like complaining. Dr. Martin Luther King didn't just talk about how it felt to be a black American, he encouraged people to peacefully resist things that made them feel oppressed. Not riding the bus, have a peaceful march, start integrating schools, and a great movement happened.

On May 17, 1954 Brown v the Board of Education passed the law that made segregation in schools unconstitutional in Virginia. A year and a half later, Rosa Parks resists moving on a bus and mothers the Montgomery bus movement. In 1957 they desegregated Little Rock, after that, the movement took off with sit-ins, voter-registration and many nonviolent marches. All of this is ACTION. No one remembers when the black mammys talked about feeling oppressed or discriminated against. Talking about how your feeling only is effective after you have had some sort of action to go with it.

The Women's suffrage movement was the same way, they protested and did things that were radically frowned upon to gain awareness and support, but they did it in a way that they were still respected members of society and they showed how strong and independent they were as women.

All this to say. Any new movement in the world, it takes action with the willingness to talk to actually change anything. You cant talk about your feelings as the minority and then expect that people will be willing to step outside of their comfort zone and make a huge change. You have to pressure them.

Finally, you absolutely cannot blame the sins of our fathers on us today. Do not say that because 600 years ago, when Christopher Columbus "discovered" America and then started the movement to colonizing America, that i should still feel guilty about it. I don't think I should feel guilty that my forefathers committed crimes and stole the land from native Americans, because there is nothing I can do about that. noting I can do to change it. And if my forefathers hadn't taken it, then someone else would have. Don't say that because African American's are not completely equal that that is a failing of our forefathers, that is a failing of us. Our forefathers, in the course of less than 30 years, African Americans went from being the butt of the joke and the subservient race, not allowed to go to school with white kids, to becoming prominent figures in society. That is a major win.

I am not saying that the movement should be finished or has completed a goal, but don't criticize the work of our forefathers, changing the views of a whole nation is a lot harder than you think.

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