Today's lesson, Racism. If you see something written here that you’ve said or done, use it as an opportunity. Take it as a wake up call and make the decision to grow, change and be conscious of your own privilege. Remember, I am not a speaker for the entirety of a people.
For those that have been here for a while, you know that The Four Agreements is one of my all time favorite books. It’s the book that, should I ever own a business, I will hand out during orientation and hope people give it a read. The tenants of The Four Agreements are life lessons that I think every single person on Earth could benefit from. However, while sitting and talking about the book for the millionth time, I started thinking of how, if slightly modified, these same four agreements can be used in the revolution.
1-Be impeccable with your word. In the book, this first agreement is about honesty and trust. Being a person that can be counted on and having your word as your bond. In revolutionary terms, with a slight tweak, I believe that this could mean something very different. When educating, when calling out, when making your beliefs known, be impeccable. Don’t dilly dally and spend more time than needed on any given bigot. Say what needs to be said, move on and move forward. Have “Your word” be the word that others look to for guidance and to slice through all the bullshit. Have your call outs be the end all, be all that even the most ignorant of bigots can’t think of a come back to. In short, know your shit.
2-Don’t take anything personally. This one is number two in the book but for revolutionary purposes, I would move it to number one. In the book, it’s just as it says, don’t take anything personally. Another person’s words and actions are a reflection of them, not you. Most bigot fighters already know this. Where we, as revolutionaries, need to take this particular item is to our hearts. Much of the problem with fighting bigots is the anger they raise within non-bigots. Some of them, the more loathsome of the group, enjoy the anger they receive. Anger will ALWAYS be the fire of revolution. I believe whole heartily that anger is the single greatest emotion of change. Anger is needed. It’s not a halt to anger that I am advocating, it’s a limiting. A ceiling. Calling out bigots can and often is, draining. While anger is fruitful, being rendered motionless, is not. We must figure out, not how to stop our anger but how to cap it. Any given bigot only gets “This” much of our anger. Then, we move on.
3-Don’t make assumptions. This one, I reserve for those that ask questions and really seem to want answers. Many of us are well aware of those that ask questions just to open the door to justify their own hatred. This is not for them. This is for the people who may have made a mistake, a misstep but show signs of genuine regret and a want to understand why what they may have done is harmful. For them and only them, we give them the benefit of hearing their side, their unknowing and their questions to better understand.
4-Always do your best. This one, for revolutionary purposes, is more ally centric. I believe that those that call themselves allies or show themselves as allies, are looked to for guidance and for fault. Those that want to be an ally will look to you/us for guidance. While those who believe your ally-ship to be faux or those that deem your fight a “Cause,” will be waiting for you/us to mess up. I am irritated by the idea that an ally never fails. This is the bullest of shits. An ally can fail while still being an ally. It’s how an ally handles the situation in which they failed that truly reveals them as an ally or non.