Followup up on my first post, What Is An Ally: Part 2, I conclude my thoughts on allyship, based on conversations I had at the Association of Social Work Boards 2022 Annual Delegate Assembly. Alies Adopt an Anti-Racism Standard Sometimes, it’s easy for people to identify with one group of people, yet still have biases towards others. In Utah, we have “safe diversity,” that is to say, a culture of accepting people who look different, but hold the same cultural values and mores, so really aren’t different. Such…
Followup up on my first post, What Is An Ally: Part 1, I continue sharing my thoughts on allyship, based on conversations I had at the Association of Social Work Boards 2022 Annual Delegate Assembly.
I am not someone who can answer this question because I am part of the majority in America. I am a white male, of Christian heritage, of heteronormative identity, and of neurotypical orientation, – the definition of the majority in America – who has benefitted greatly because of those traits.
I recall being 7 years old when the Rubik’s Cube hit peak popularity in the United States; it was 1983 and like what seemed to be every other kid, I wanted one badly. I never got one. That Christmas, instead of the multi-colored cube I so desperately desired, I ended up with a Slinky.
“Dad, I think I want to join the Mountain Bike Team at East.” Those words, uttered by my then just-turned-16-year-old son, were some of the happiest of my life. “Are you sure?” “Yes.” “Are you sure you’re sure, because if you say ‘yes’ again, you’re all in?” “Yes.” The influence of a few friends coupled with no pressure from me despite having ridden in some capacity with Mase since he was three brought this to be. “One thing is for sure though,” I told him, “I’m not going to coach.”
I wanted to get up and walk it off, but something told me I wouldn’t be able to do that as I tried to pull my leg back underneath myself. Lying in the dirt, the reality of what was happening was setting in and I was in the worst pain of my life. As these things go, the pain worsened as my adrenaline wore off and not even rounds of Morphine, Fentanyl, or Dilaudid could ease it. Thankfully, round 2 of Ketamine finally did. Being in the “k-hole,” I couldn’t understand what was going on around me, and for a time, even though everyone was speaking to me in a foreign language; at least I wasn’t hurting so badly. That was the case until I had to position myself for the x-rays and nearly passed out from the pain. I learned at that moment that such a thing is possible.
I’ve been thinking about this for a long time and it’s finally time that I write it down. I’ve said it in a number of different ways, but I’m here today to publicly say that for the first time in my life, I can truly say that today, I am NOT proud to be an American. I’ve been hinging on this sentiment for a very long time. Why is that you ask? Please, let me explain.
During an exchange on Twitter yesterday, I was accused of”defend[ing] the police” as I remarked about how much worse things could have been in Salt Lake City during the May 30th riot. The commenter, referring to a video of an SLCPD Officer who pushed an elderly man down (perhaps accidentally), stated “I’m not sure…how to engage in a conversation with you.”
As I know many of you are too, I have been struggling the last few days. There seems to be significant discontent in the world and in moments, I have found it difficult to stay positive. When I get this way, I am often reminded of a story I heard about Mr. Rogers; yes, that Mr. Rogers.
Salt Lake City is about to start earnest work on a new trail system in the Foothills about Salt Lake City’s Avenues area. The following is a letter I wrote to my local Council Person, Ana Valdemoros, asking for her support (amongst other things) for the new trail system.