Dear Editor: My letter on the need for bipartisan discourse was recently featured in Cap Times.
Following my submission of that letter, I began to feel somewhat queazy by its contents.
It is important to acknowledge the privileges that are at play when one is publicly defending this notion to “challenge ourselves to have tough but respectful conversations.”
As a straight, white, cis-gendered, English-speaking, able-bodied male, it is VERY easy for me to access conservative spaces and communities to have such conversations.
In addition, I have not been directly impacted by many of the political issues and forces that I would be discussing; thus my previous letter somewhat simplified the ease in which it is possible to discuss social issues.
For many, these problems have caused REAL trauma and REAL terror that make them the REAL experts, but also limit their access and ability to participate in these conversations.
While I stand by my encouragement of having tough conversations, I would also encourage everyone to consider one’s potential privileges in the political sphere, and the barriers facing those that we supposedly claim to fight alongside.
Yes, we need to talk to each other more, but we also need to consider what important voices are being chronically left out of these same conversations.
Advocacy cannot, and should not, be all about making yourself feel strong. Your voice matters, but most importantly you should be listening to and working with those who are directly impacted by societal conflicts.
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