How do we convince people who do not derive power from it or lose out as a result of it that the White Male Privilege does exist and that it would be almost universally beneficial to eliminate it?
Archive for the 'community organizing' Category
One of my students was shot and killed yesterday just standing on the corner with his friends. He was dedicated to turning his life around after making some bad choices as a very young man. Violence is a real problem in America. I believe education is the solution, but I’m open to other suggestions.
I have decided that I will no longer refer to the man I married as my husband. From now on, he will be referred to as my life partner. I have made this decision in support of my gay and lesbian friends who cannot legally call their partners their husbands or wives, yet those people deserve no lesser title.
We are so hung up on titles and labels and the definitions of one thing or another. We want to be able to categorize each other into neat little boxes. We forget that people are complicated. Life is complicated. Let’s just decide to make this one thing less complicated. What is a husband or a wife but a partner in all things? If we have made a committment to someone and invited them in to every part of our lives, does their gender truly matter?
Maybe if we change the label we can change the law. If we allow the words “life partner” to mean the same thing as “husband” or “wife”, we take the power away from the words, lessening their meaning, and enabling people to feel less defensive toward them.
Most years I dread Parent’s Night. Teachers sit for hours on end visiting the few parents who care enough to schow up, unless, of course, you teach in the suburbs. This year I knew what to expect because last year I was busy. At my school, our kids want their parents to show up for parent’s night. For many of them, this is the first time in a long time their teachers have anything good to say about them. On parent’s night, no matter how frustrated I may be, no matter how exhausted, I am reminded that our program works.
After being told that their kids were on Honor Roll, parents cried. When we announced the new appointments to Student Government*, the students cried. I got a lot of hugs, and a lot of the parents made sure to thank us for what we do for their kids. Half of our parents showed up. In a city where half of the kids drop out and schools can go years without seeing their parents, that is amazing. We have a program that works, teachers who care, and parents who show up. And I have to quit my job because I don’t get enough health care.
*teachers appoint government members, students don’t vote.
And we should. The Democrats winning this election had little to do with McCain or Obama. It was about the American people needing a leader who could inspire them again. They were tired of being told there was nothing they could do. The were tired of being asked to let the government do what government does. They wanted change and they went out and made it happen.
We elected a community organizer as our President, and I can only hope that he will continue to inspire all of us to help organize our own communities. I really hope that, like Kennedy, he’s able to inspire the young people to get invloved, not just in politics, but in taking control of their own lives and working with local and state organzations to change their little peice of the world.
Barak Obama’s Victory Speech