ours are hearts that fondly love thee

The good thing about the Internet is that it allows us to express ourselves and share our ideas with the entire world.

This is also the bad thing about the Internet.

I did not plan on writing a blog entry about this. I didn’t plan on becoming aggressively political on yet another form of social media; I didn’t plan on anything, really. I mean, I probably won’t say anything that you haven’t heard. If you have Internet access, I am sure you have seen it all by now: the hunger strike, Concerned Student 1950, the threats made to students of color in the wake of Wolfe and Loftin’s resignation.

But I cannot remain silent. I can’t. As I sit in the safety and comfort of my home in Columbia, students at Mizzou have been fighting for their cause. And it hasn’t been safe. All you have to do is open Twitter, YikYak, or Facebook to see the multitude of disgusting, ignorant comments.

I wish I could say I was more aware of these problems while I was a student. Sure, I knew about incidents like this, or this.

But that’s not everyone, right? Those are isolated incidents. And they suck, but it doesn’t happen all the time. I don’t see people waving Confederate flags or anything, so…our campus is generally pretty decent.  

Yeah, you know why it was so easy for me to brush them off as isolated incidents?

Because I am white.

I cannot help the fact that I am white, any more than I can help the fact that I am short or I have brown eyes. It is part of who I am. This is not bad; it simply is. I do think it would be bad to deny the fact that I am privileged because of my whiteness.

Now, before you roll your eyes and exit this page and start muttering things about how life isn’t easy just because you are white, please take the time to reflect on the meaning of white privilege. If you are white, I am going to ask you a very simple question:

Do you always think about your race?

I don’t. I think about my gender, because I am a woman, and with every e-mail that reports a case of sexual assault, I walk to my car a little faster. I keep my car keys clenched in my fists. I know to not leave my drinks unattended or go anywhere at night alone.

I am afraid of many things, but being called a racial slur is not one of them. I am not constantly afraid of being judged because of my race.

This does not mean that people are without their prejudices. Any person of any color can hate an individual simply because of their whiteness. It does mean, however, that I will not face the same systemic oppression as people of color. And for anyone who believes that Jonathan Butler–the grad student who declared he would be on hunger strike until Wolfe resigned–could not possibly be oppressed because his father is wealthy, I encourage you to read this article. ‘Privilege’ is a word people like to throw around without a lot of context (if you are on Tumblr, you are probably well aware of the stereotypical SJW who ends every post with ‘check your privilege’), and unfortunately, I think that has caused people to ignore what it truly means. I have certain privileges that other citizens do not, and vice versa.

The bottom line is this: I do not feel the weight of my race every single day.

It is called ‘privilege’ because because specific groups of people are being denied their rights.

It was easy for me to think of blatantly racist acts as isolated incidents. But injustice is hardly ever an isolated act; history will repeat itself until action is taken.

These protests were justified. They were not started just because someone’s feelings were hurt. As far as racism is concerned, there were several reasons, and it has been an ongoing battle for many students at MU for years. Black protestors were not the only ones to demand change on campus; protests were also held when MU cut ties with Planned Parenthood and when health insurance subsidies were cut. None of these protests received  the same backlash as Concerned Student 1950 or Jonathan Butler.

Jonathan Butler did not go on a hunger strike because he was bored. Some think it was unreasonable; some think he pressured Wolfe into resigning.

Perhaps both are true, but my thoughts are this: he was willing to die to bring attention to his cause and inspire change.

That tells me everything I need to know.

It is unreasonable to think that a change of leadership at a public university will end racism. It won’t. That is completely disregarding hundreds of years of American history, and unfortunately, it is not that simple.

But look at what it has done.

MU has new leadership, which will hopefully have a ripple effect and change the campus as a whole. Universities all over the country are speaking up and standing in support of Mizzou. People like me have opened their eyes.

Change has to start somewhere. Why not the place we call home?

I love Missouri with all my heart. This week I have felt unbelievable anger and sadness. I cannot even imagine what it has been like to live through it every day.

We must use our voices, but we must also listen. If any of my information is incorrect, or any of my views misguided, please let me know. I am no longer a student, and so I have been on the outside of everything happening on campus. I learned about most of these situations this week or last, and I have done my best to stay informed and form an educated opinion.

It should go unsaid that any explicit or rude comments will be deleted. If you disagree with me, fine… but this is not a space for hatred.

I stand with you, Mizzou. Walk in love.

#insolidarity

An Update of Sorts

It’s been a couple of weeks since I have written anything on this blog–or kept up with anything online, period (I am sorry, Teacup Trail).  I have no intentions of abandoning this little space of the Internet, but I definitely haven’t been devoting as much time to writing/blogging/etc. as I would like. I don’t think it is laziness or lack of inspiration, either; I am just very, very bad at being busy, and my life has been insane. 

I know insanity and normalcy are completely relative, but I’ve been making huge life decisions and applying for jobs and dealing with change and also trying to go outside and function like a normal human being.

For instance, one of my very best friends had her baby shower (it was safari-themed, to match their future baby’s nursery…isn’t that adorable?!)! Lot of stuffed animals were invited.

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And then came Halloween, and in my world that is an EXTREMELY HIGH LIFE PRIORITY. My boyfriend flew all the way from Atlanta to Missouri (!!!), and we dressed up as Ellie and Carl from the movie Up. 

It was kind of adorable.

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And then I had to dye my hair. Because of reasons.

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But really, I had been wanting to do this again for quite some time…and when your boss tells you it’s okay, you just have to jump at the opportunity.

See? I’ve been totally busy with life and stuff.

And in the midst of all this craziness (fun as it all was), adulthood has slapped me in the face. Those who know me are fully aware that I always complain about growing up; I am afraid of change and practically incapable of making decisions. Like, who gave me permission to pay bills and stuff? Because I think I’ll mess that up somehow. Whatever.

That was me hiding behind a sense of humor, because a lot of this has been very hard. For a very long time, I was completely unsure of what the next few months of my life would look like. Like so many of my friends, I have been tying to decide what to do and where to go. Uncertainty is not fun when it comes to decoding your purpose in life.

What I do know is I will be moving to Georgia at the end of the year. There are many reasons for this, including the end of my lease, a thirst for adventure, a need for a new job…

but mostly, I know that I want to be with my Carl (except his name isn’t Carl. It’s Drew). Unfortunately, I don’t have a bunch of balloons that can make my house fly and take me to GA whenever I want.

Some days, I can’t believe I am really moving. That is what I call insane: the anticipation, the nervousness, the moments where I realize the end of the year is nearly a month away. And even though Missouri will always be my home, deep down in my heart I know I cannot stay.

I know that God is asking me to take chances. I know the universe is inviting me to embrace this beautiful insanity. I know that this is one thing that I am not overthinking until I am paralyzed with doubt and fear.

I am too easily overjoyed, and too easily overwhelmed. There will always be times I wish I could press pause and let everything be still–just for five minutes.

But this is such a beautiful insanity.

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Until next time, my loves. ❤