My friend Shelley Frost wrote this as her status on Facebook today and i couldn’t not sure because it is such a gracefully written invitation to men to seize the opportunity to be a part of the much needed transformation that is needed in the world and so i repost it here as an endorsement.
If as a male, and particularly a white male, you feel defensive when you read this, before you jump on and write an angry comment, please take a moment to investigate that feeling,. What about it makes you defensive or uncomfortable? Is it because something is not true, or because it is true and it hurts? Is there something you need to change?
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Dear White Men,
It is a difficult time in history to be you. Between #MeToo, white privilege, racism, sexual harassment, patriarchy, #AshwinWillemse and all the other conversations going on, it must feel like there is not much you can do right these days. It must be scary and uncomfortable to constantly have to feel like you’re under attack, for what sometimes may feel like your very existence.
The thing is this: history is presenting you with a unique opportunity to truly change the world. If you can find the courage, integrity and self-belief to allow us (women, people of colour, the LBGTQ community, non-Christians, etc) to share the pain, humiliation, anger, dissatisfaction that we have tried to voice for so long, history will not only remember you well, but you will also become role models for the kind of men and women you want your sons and daughters to grow up to be. Men and women who are brave, self-aware, with a strong sense of self-worth, fairness, honesty, and integrity.
We understand that it feels unfair to be burdened with and held responsible for centuries of history. It’s a hell of a thing to face. But time has chosen you. Will you rise to the occasion?
If you feel that giving someone else the room to express their pain and anger at the status quo is a threat to your place in society, then I think you should question what it is you are holding on to so tightly and whether that is worth holding onto considering the cost to those around you. What makes you think your place in society is more important that everyone else’s?
You have been at the top of the power pyramid for too long. You know it, we know it and the world is telling you that it is time for that to change. And make no mistake, it WILL change. It is happening right now. You just have to decide whether you are going to be on the right side of history or not.
Will you be the man who beat the suffragette to the ground as she protested for her right to vote? Or will you be the man who held out your hand to help her up?
Will you be the man who yawned and laughed while a black man shared his most painful moments of humiliation and discrimination? Or will you be the man who shakes his hand and says “I’m sorry that happened to you. How can I not make you feel that way again?”
You need to decide whether you will meet this momentous moment in history with violence, anger, denialism and defensiveness or whether you will meet it with the courage and integrity you have always claimed to have.
Will you be the men of honour that we need you to be?
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This is really such a great opportunity for us to become a part of a future history in which women are honoured and seen as equals and in which black and white and indian and other race groups have equal opportunity to lead and speak and engage and create and be loved and embraced as equals…
Come on men, let’s do this!