What I Should Have Said

May 6, 2010

I am ashamed. A few weeks ago, I was at a dinner with some of my friends and for some reason, the conversation turned to ragging on hispanics for having dirty houses, i.e. being dirty people. I was intensely uncomfortable, especially as our hispanic waiter was standing right behind the main person doing the talking. But I said nothing. I wish I had.

I bring this up, because I am trying to change. I also think that if I am to be an effective feminist/activist, then I need to own the times that I am not effective at dismantling the patriarchy and when I do not put my feelings into action. Silence is not protection.

The woman who spoke noticed that I was uncomfortable, and she told me that it's okay to be talking this way, because he could not understand her words. What I should have said was, "No, it is not okay." And then I should have changed the topic.

I was told that it was okay for her to talk this way, because she was only talking about what she had observed. In reality, it was an excuse to be a bigot. The thing is, I didn't just let someone talk badly about someone else, but also about me. The way I was talked to was condescending and by remaining silent, I basically told her that that was okay behavior. That my view of the world and her people is not important. But it's not okay and it is important.

I am writing this to be a reminder for myself on what to do the next time something like this happens. If this reminds anyone else of what to do, then my job really is done. I had something to say and I ignored it. I ignored my own power. I must remember how powerful I really am.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you NOT to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightening about shrinking so that other people won't feel unsure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. As we let our own Light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
~ Marianne Williamson

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