Enough Shutdown. Let’s start something.

I want to come back to this blog. I think about it frequently, and it makes me sad that I’ve abandoned it. I think it’s important, on a personal level, to continue to write about feminism and intersectionality, to force myself to think critically about it all. It’s dangerously easy to be passive in life, especially when it comes to social issues like race, class, gender, and all the other shitty things out there. I don’t want to be complacent. Not too long ago I wanted to be a radical, feminist (note the use of the comma) teacher and researcher. I wanted to change the way people think about gender in this world.

I’m not in academia anymore, but I don’t want to give up on trying to change the way people think about gender and privilege and all th-isms that makes this world a difficult, sometimes tragic place. I want to be part of a broader dialogue that matters, that contributes to and feeds the good things.

After the bombing of the Boston Marathon, I was very upset. The feeling of helplessness against this kind of cruelty and violence was really crushing. And I wanted to do something. So I ran a half marathon and raised money for charity. On the eve of my race, George Zimmerman was found not guilty, and the feeling of helplessness washed over me all over again. I’d like to say that I rose to the challenge, found another way to be part of a greater good. But I didn’t. I felt angry and sad and then I went back to work. I moved on. Because I could.

I’m an educated, white lady living a pretty heteronormative, middle-class life in a very wealthy country. I am very often in a position of being able to move on, and that is part of the problem. Sometimes I think privilege is the most understudied and undertaught issue in all of education; it’s so insidious and it runs rampant through most conversations. It’s a privilege that when a teacher receives only a 30 day sentence for the rape and subsequent suicide of a teenager, when the Voting Rights Act is gutted by the Supreme Court, or when the government decides to shut down, I can write an angry facebook post, and then I can continue my day as normal. And I don’t think that’s enough; I’d like to do more. I don’t think it’s enough to be passively good. What if every angry facebook post, was instead something that was tangibly part of the bigger picture? What would that even look like?

I don’t have the answers to those questions. I wish I did. I suppose if they were easy, the world might be in better shape. I’m hoping we can have some dialogue here, to begin to sort some of this out.

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