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An Open Letter to the World
Here’s something hard to swallow – you know that phrase almost every inspirational speech contains, one we’ve all heard before: “Be the change you want to see.”
It’s BS, to put it simply. With the way our society is structured right now, one voice in a clamour can’t influence anything – that is, unless you have leverage. Those with money, and in turn, power, tweak the puppet strings daily. Funny thing is, the puppet strings are visible – but if anyone calls attention to them, they’re silenced as fast as possible. It’s true – take for example the rule of our very own comic book villain: Donald Trump. The man who was internationally broadcast as a sexual predator and exposed to have “allegedly” committed many, many other crimes somehow gained the leadership of a world superpower. Interesting right?
Unfortunately, I’m still a dumb teen who doesn’t know her way around the world. When I try to comment on the political climate or express my opinion I’m quite frankly told to shut up. How can I be the change I want to see?
The world is becoming ignorant. Things are being hidden from us, or maybe, we’re just starting not to care? Recently, I had someone tell me that feminists should just shut up now because we got our rights in 2017. How can she say that when women will have to wait an estimated 217 years for the gender pay gap to close? That will be in the year 2235. We’ll all be dead by then.
Why are we afraid to fight for our own rights?
Why wasn’t Emmeline Pankhurst when she led the suffragettes to ensure that women had the equal vote?
Why wasn’t Marsha P. Johnson, the gay transwoman who started the Stonewall riots, and arguably the first pride?
Why weren’t MLK, Malcolm X, the Black Panthers, and every other civil rights protester when they fought for their rights?
I’ll let you in on a secret – they probably were. And you know, being scared isn’t something to be ashamed of. Let your fear keep you in check.
I see, these days, too many people letting something like other people, or dare I say, religion, dictate their life. Look, there’s nothing wrong with taking some advice, or finding the faith to guide you, but you must remember, you are still your own person. Decide for yourself every once in a while.
Speaking of, you can’t blame everything on religion either. You cannot justify the murder of innocent people with a holy book. You cannot justify the hatred of innocent people with a holy book.
There is a reason stereotypes exist. The problem with the age of information is that sometimes, there is too much information to report. Journalists and news junkies alike latch onto extremes, onto things “worth reporting”. You know what that results in? Take a wild guess. That’s why we have the neo-nazis, radical feminists, refugee terrorists, the racist white person, etc, blasted to the forefront every time we turn on the TV. Sometimes, we forget that not everyone is the same. Do you think that there aren’t good people on every side, whether it be the right, left, gay, straight, black, white, likes pineapple on pizza or doesn’t? But, we forget that we are humans, and humans have a little something I like to call “diversity” (I think Hollywood forgets that too.).
It’s so stupid to be prejudiced. “Oh, I hate my next-door neighbour.” “Why?” “Oh, because his genes dictate that he produces more melanin, so his skin is darker.”.
Someone point and show me where the logic is in that one. I must be missing something, because I truly don’t understand why a person can exalt so much antagonism to a group of people due to something they have no control over. Why they would go so far as to torture their family, friends, why “cures” still exist in the 21st century? In the 21st century, where science has reached a peak in innovation, people can still point to a couple of the same sex and go: “That’s not natural.”.
Did you know, that a supposed cure for autism is drinking bleach? So-called “autism moms” are making their children drink bleach in order to “cleanse” them of a disability they – again – have no control over? Did you know, that LGBTQ people are forced to attend “gay conversion therapy”, which can range from emotional abuse and blackmail, to corrective rape, to even controlled electric shocks? Did you know that according to the Williams Institute at UCLA, nearly 700,000 LGBTQ adults in the United States have gone through conversion therapy (which is legal in 41 states)? Another 57,000 teens are expected to receive treatment from religious or spiritual advisers before they turn 18. All of those stories are from this year.
I cried when I first read those facts, not going to lie. It’s not fair, is it?
Is it fair that the US supplied the bomb that was dropped on a school bus of 40 kids in Yemen? Is it fair that a member of the UK – may I remind you, one of the most prominent countries in the world – government, in fact, the current cabinet, remarked that Muslim women wearing burkas look like letterboxes or bank robbers... and subsequently refused to apologise (Funny that, politicians don’t understand the concept of political correctness.). Great role models in this day and age, folks. No wonder the suicide rate in the US has risen by 30% since 1999.
I had a grown woman nearing her forties comment to me that she thought it was ridiculous for a woman to cover herself like “those Muslims.” I asked her why, and she told me she thought it was women giving up their independence. I pointed out that it was quite empowering to be able to choose whether to do so or not, without being forced. She had huffed and muttered under her breath.
Whoops, I am sorry, did I say too much? A little slip of the tongue, perhaps? Maybe so.
I’m done pretending everything is ok. I’ve decided to finally stand up for myself and what I believe in. Because you know that phrase I mentioned at the beginning? “Be the change you want to see.”
That can come true. We can make it true. If you band together, the sturdier you are, the harder you are to take down. If all the individuals come together to form a collective, we can be the difference. Start your own little revolution, however small. You want apple juice in the vending machines? Go for it! You want to address the toxic masculinity of the mainstream media? I’m with you! Be passionate, and be unapologetic.
With that being said, here are my 5 golden rules of revolution.
The 5 Golden Rules Of Revolution
Resistance doesn’t have to be a dramatic act. It can be something small, like this letter, or taking your time processing something, or refusing to serve someone in a restaurant. A Swedish student once singlehandedly stopped a man from being deported and killed by refusing to sit down for take-off until he was taken off the plane. Small actions by thousands have a huge impact.
Use your privilege and access if you’ve got it. I don’t mean to be mean, but let’s be honest: if you’re white, male, cisgender, straight, and healthy, you’re very likely to get further than some of the rest of us.
Sometimes, the best way to do things is out in the open. Let everyone see you, make a scene. Let the rumours spread. Let people talk, it’ll attract eyes to your cause. And the best thing is, few people believe injustice can happen in the open. Prove them wrong and bring attention to it.
Bide your time, but recognise opportunity as it comes, and use it well. To reiterate the first point, your acts need not be dramatic. Usually, a little sand in the gears is all it takes.
Use the skills you have to contribute. Some of the most successful revolutions were the simplest, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t technique involved. Are you amazing at public speaking? Great, you can read the speeches. You love debating? Brilliant, we need someone to argue on our behalf. You draw in your spare time? Fantastic, can you help design our leaflets? There’s always a role to be filled.
An individual in a collective.