So much to say and it’s critically important to get it as right as possible. This community is going through some very difficult, challenging times. This community knows how to deal with difficult and challenging. But this community has also had more than it’s share and it deserves a break. It definitely deserves better than having to deal with the shenanigans of politicians and speculators trying to divide us.
I am incredibly frustrated and disappointed at the way that some people have allowed themselves to be used as political pawns to divide.
Do we, as a collective, have some things we need to face? Absolutely. Is there a willingness among many of us to face those things? Yes.
The organizers of Redline Tacoma have been called out as being racist. Having been accused of being a racist myself, I know it’s a hard thing to hear. It can make you recoil, go into a defensive mode, and rock you to the core. It took me a while to recover from the accusation. Once I did, I was able to take a much deeper look at myself, my privilege, my blindness to my own prejudice. I could see my privilege, my prejudice. I realized that this was part of my upbringing, even then I didn’t want to admit it.
I wouldn’t want to be called a racist ever again, but I know now that I would take it to heart with a little less recoil, a lot less defensiveness and it wouldn’t rock me that hard. I now know that I have to work every day to battle my prejudices, borne from a system that encourages and upholds prejudice in every institution, every establishment, every social construct we have.
I know some of the organizers of Redline. I have deep respect for them. I may not always agree with their tactics or approaches, but sometimes they do the hard things that need to be done and say the hard words that need to be said – all because no one else will do or say those hard things. They are not racist. Are they subject to the same affinities for prejudice that we all are? Absolutely. Do they have work to do to address those prejudices? Yes. We all do. Are they willing to address those affinities in their pursuit of an egalitarian community? 110%! Do they deserve to be smeared? No.
I’m no one. I’m only one voice in a very diverse community. I have no right to speak for people who have felt that they have been silenced or discriminated against. I also have no right to speak for the organizers who have been falsely accused.
I pay close attention to the conversations that take place on the social media platform – as much as I can and still live a life – and I have seen conversations get very heated. But I have also seen comments made that I thought were intentionally provocative in order to lure people into a raging reaction. It makes my heart sad to hear that anyone feels that they have experienced racism in the group. I honor that feeling, and I commit to doing whatever I can to correct it. I have confidence that the organizers will also do what they can to correct it.
It must be said: there are people whose participation on the social media platform is specifically intended to only cause division in the name of winning a political race. Their targets are the people who have worked so hard to create awareness, to educate, to build community around a sustainable future for Tacoma, who are also human and imperfect and passionate and fierce.
I believe that the organizers have taken this accusation of racism to heart, and are working to address it. I am proud to work with them, and I have every confidence that they will emerge from this even more compassionate, wise and inclusive.
I am willing to do the work to help end racism, not only in my community, but also in myself.